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Building Athletic Pages to Support Admissions Goals
Connor Gleason

Your athletics communications and webpages may have more impact on your admissions strategy and its ability to influence prospective families than you’d expect. For parents and students browsing team sections and key athletics pages, it’s your chance to highlight your school’s different athletic programs, their strengths, as well as the school’s commitment to providing a meaningful experience both in the classrooms and on the fields.

By including an "all-star" experience in your website's athletics section and school marketing plan, you can recruit students AND hit a home run for your admissions and enrollment goals. Let's dive in!

Creating an all-star experience

Whitfield School showcases the extraordinary experience of being an athlete at its school in St. Louis, MO. Featured in the site’s main navigation, the athletic section leads with a grid of images highlighting different content areas of the section, including the school’s seasonal sports, athletic news, the hall of fame, the athlete of the week, and more. 

Whitfield athletics

An athletic-specific “by the numbers" section and a CTA to the admissions department speak to any prospective families browsing the pages, and with student testimonials and call-outs detailing the school’s approach to athletics, it's clear why 80% of their students choose to join an athletic team, despite participation not being a requirement.

st George's athletics  screenshot

St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, leans into the influence athletics programs have on inquisitive families. With an entire page dedicated to prospective students, the school provides coach profiles and a dozen video testimonials from students describing in their own words what it means to “pursue athletic excellence while maintaining a healthy school-life balance.”

The videos are a great addition to St. George’s offerings, too — they’re well produced, and with the genuine voices of students providing insight into life as a student-athlete, it brings authenticity to their thoughts on the sports and coaches who instill values of teamwork and sportsmanship.

Both of these are prime examples of highlighting the importance athletes can play in the student experience, and with intuitive navigation, creative content, and a great user experience, it makes an impact on visitors.

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Coaches as mentors

Consider featuring the credentials of your coaches,  either by highlighting their extensive coaching experiences or impressive histories as former athletes. Schools with dedicated coaches who are also course instructors will be creating meaningful relationships with students, both on and off the field.

Testimonials and quotes from coaching staff can add powerful social proof and bring creative design elements to your athletics pages. It's another way to show what coaches value about their role at the school, their philosophy, and how they go about supporting the students.

Calhoun coaches profile

The Calhoun School in Manhattan provides a coach-specific directory for visitors to browse its coaching staff. A photo and brief bio complement a “Why I Coach” testimonial, providing a larger meaning of what it means to be a member of the athletic department.

Supportive specialty programs

Showcase specialty programs that support the physical component of athletics, like a sports-therapy program or an academic support network to aid the demanding schedules of student-athletes. Knowing these resources are available to prospective student-athletes and their families is a great addition to your strategy for attracting new students.

Agnes Irwin Specialty Center

The Agnes Irwin School, an all-girls college preparatory school in the greater Philadelphia area, entices web visitors to “play like a girl" (love it!) Included in its outstanding athletics site is a call out to its wellness and PE programs, its state-of-the-art rowing program, as well as its AthLEADs Seminar Series, all of which call attention to the school’s commitment to each girl's physical health, talents, interests, and self-confidence. 

You’ll also see three CTAs on the athletics page: apply, email admissions, and admissions events. It’s no coincidence they’re there — these are perfect options for families at various stages of the funnel who are ready to take the next step or may need a little more information.

Forms for potential student-athletes

When you're trying to support enrollment, establish an avenue to get student-athletes into the funnel faster. Start facilitating relationships between families and your admissions office and work toward supporting your enrollment goals by adding an athletic recruiting form to your site. These forms are great for collecting interest from your target audiences and inviting students onto campus — sometimes even before they fill out an inquiry form.

Connect interested star players directly with the admissions or coaching office for a tour of the athletic facilities, invite them to join a practice with the team, or offer them a seat behind home plate at the next home game.

Perkiomen Recruiting

The Perkiomen School in PA includes an athletic-specific inquiry form in the (amazing) athletics section of its site. Inquiring students or parents can get in touch and learn more about the sports program for a glimpse into the life of a student-athlete. With a mobile-friendly form, it’s a great way to start building connections early.

trinity pawling athletics interest form

With the prompt “Join the Pride!” Trinity-Pawling School takes a similar approach with its prospective athlete inquiry form. After parents or students submit the form, the information is sent to both the admissions office and the coaches of interest.

An online school store

Opening the virtual doors to an online school store is a great student recruitment strategy and puts your school’s most popular merchandise into the hands of prospective families. Think of the possibilities— t-shirts, ball caps, sweatshirts, bumper stickers … With the Finalsite Store, you can offer your newest families a secure and speedy way to celebrate their acceptances, all fully integrated right into your school’s website.

Governor's Academy school store

The Governor's Academy in Byfield, MA, puts the most popular sweatshirts, caps, t-shirts, branded gear, and more on sale through the school’s online store. With just a few clicks, your newest fans can add swag to their online shopping cart and check out just in time for the home opener.

Key takeaway

For prospective families, your school’s athletic program can be a major factor when deciding between schools. A program supported by the latest technology, an outstanding web presence, and multiple opportunities to engage with the admissions and coaches staff sends a clear message about a school’s commitment to providing a meaningful athletic experience.

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Connor Gleason Headshot

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.


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