7 top tips for better student profiles

How to write and format student profiles that will engage prospective students.

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1. Use a question and answer format

Offering students questions to answer will help to ensure they discuss the points that prospective students are most interested in, for example, why they chose their course and what they think of life in Sheffield.

This format also breaks up the text, making it easier for people to read. Short paragraphs are especially useful for accessibility and for those reading on mobile devices.

Questions and answers also help prospective students find the information they’re looking for. Different people will be interested in different aspects of university life, so it’s wise to consider your courses’ unique offerings and ask questions related to that.

2. Keep it specific

Ensure the student profile is kept specific to the course itself and/or to the University of Sheffield.

For example, a student may have many personal reasons for wanting to study medicine, but these may not encourage a prospective student to apply to the University of Sheffield. Instead, you could ask questions like ‘Why was Sheffield your first choice’?

3. Rephrase and trim students’ words where appropriate

It’s good for your student’s voice to sound realistic and personable and to keep in their original words where possible.

But it’s also important to bear in mind that many people visiting our website may not speak English as their first language, or may have other difficulties in accessing online information. Therefore, try to rephrase long sentences and keep colloquialisms to a minimum.

The overall text of the student profile should be kept short, so you can also trim out information that would not be relevant to a prospective student.

4. Keep headlines short and varied

We always encourage using a news-like ‘hook’, rather than a students’ name, as a profile headline. This will give people more reason to click into the profile to find out more.

For consistency across the University, student profile headlines should be written in first person.

For example: “Emma’s story” gives us no extra interest, whereas “My year in industry helped me secure a graduate job” or “Why I became president of my society” lets readers know what they can expect to learn by clicking into a link.

When creating student profile headlines, consider how they will all look together on your student profile index. Headlines should be consistent in length and offer something unique to the reader.

5. Use active photos of students wherever possible

Use a profile image that shows a student actively participating in part of their course, such as working with equipment or doing fieldwork.

These profiles tend to get more clicks and engagement than profiles that show a headshot of the student, even if the active photo is not as high-quality as the staged photo.

You could ask your students whether they have any photographs taken during their studies that they would be happy to share with you.

6. Use the quote tool to pull out the best highlight from the profile

Has the student said something particularly insightful or that really sums up their positive experiences? Using this as a pull-out quote, inserted at the top of the profile, is visually impactful and reinforces the unique message from each profile.

7. Embed your student profiles elsewhere on your site

Now you have created student profiles with effective headlines, summaries and photography, use the student card embed tool to make other pages on your site more engaging for prospective students.

This could include your course list, but also pages for careers, work experience, alumni and general student experience.

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