17-Year-Old Critiques Program Pages from Halifax Universities

June 14, 2016
emily amos

How do Halifax university program pages stack up in the eyes of a high school student?

Hi, I’m Kaela. I’m going into Grade 12 in the fall so I’m starting to look at websites for post-secondary programs that interest me. Writing has always been a major interest of mine, so Emily asked if I would critique writing-related program pages at universities in Halifax. Here it goes!

Mount Saint Vincent University, Bachelor of Public Relations:

The landing page for the Mount’s PR program is well-organized and easy to scan. It has:

  • big images
  • sub-headers
  • “read more” links to keep the page a reasonable length
  • good information that promotes their program

It would be helpful if they shortened their paragraphs and enlarged their font to make it less intimidating and easier to digest.

Saint Mary’s University, Bachelor of Arts in English:

The landing page for SMU’s English program has a simple layout that provides basic information about the program. Unfortunately, it’s not very engaging to a prospective student. The text is dense and I don’t really want to wade through it all.

That said, there are a number of great things about their landing page:

  • easy to find courses and their descriptions
  • layout is easy to navigate
  • provides contact information for questions
  • list of sample job opportunities

This program page is a great start, but I think Saint Mary’s could provide more information to promote their program. Personally, I like universities and colleges that seem very welcoming. More images of classes and students, as well as alumni stories or testimonials would be great things to add.

University of King’s College, Bachelor of Journalism with Honours:

The landing page for the journalism program at King’s has a very simple layout with one image. Overall, it’s a decent page. Things I like about the page include:

  • link to see examples of student work
  • course/curriculum overview
  • information on honours and minor options
  • link to admission requirements

I found most paragraphs very dense to read, but this page does give a lot of important information just on their landing page. Like Saint Mary’s, it would help if they added more images or videos.

Dalhousie University, Bachelor of Arts in English:

The landing page for the English program at Dalhousie is the most interactive one that I’ve seen. The landing page provides:

  • large, sliding images with engaging captions and links to subpages
  • reasons to study at Dalhousie
  • links to related programs
  • a summary of what I would learn
  • a link to testimonials from successful alumni

Dalhousie has done a great job of creating a landing page that is attractive and engaging, while also providing the key information prospective students care about.

Nova Scotia Community College, Advanced Diploma in Public Relations:

To apply to this program, you need an undergraduate degree or diploma in a related field, so their target audience wouldn’t be those in high school. It’s funny because this page is the most appealing to me as a high schooler. It has:

  • the most important information at the top of the page in a table
  • potential career possibilities
  • testimonials from current students
  • paragraphs that are straight to the point, without the need for “read more” links
  • photos, bullets and tables

This page appeals to me the most because the information can be found on a single page and the language is direct and to the point, without sounding monotone.

On a final note

When I go to a university program page, I want to be able to find all the information I need as quickly as possible. I prefer websites with simple, organized layouts that still provide the necessary information.

Which program pages resonated the most with me? Here’s my ranking:

  1. NSCC: They did a great job of having an organized layout that included a lot of information. The best part was having all of it on one page without seeming overwhelming.
  2. Dalhousie: This was the most engaging to look at and provided a lot of links and text to invite me to read further.
  3. Mount Saint Vincent: This page was very organized and had well written paragraphs.
  4. King’s: They had good information but their page wasn’t inviting.
  5. Saint Mary’s: The page was good, but will be much improved if they provide additional information about their program and more images.

For the most part, I think all the program pages made very good first impressions.

What do you think?

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