Ten Things I Really Like About the Emma Willard School’s Website

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 9.50.33 PMI enjoy reviewing private school websites. Recently, in preparation for a workshop I presented at the AISAP Summer Institute, I reviewed over 400 school websites.

My quest was simple. I was searching for school websites that stood out from the others. I also wanted to find ways that school’s were using their website to tell their story.

Most school websites look the same. And, very few use their website to tell stories of their school.

One school website stood out to me and I wanted to share it with you in this blog post to inspire you—Emma Willard School in Troy, NY. Emma is an all-girl’s boarding and day school for 9-12th grades. Too bad I don’t have any daughters or they might be on their way to upstate New York!

Let me share with you 10 things I really like about the Emma Willard School website:

1.  “I Am Emma” – I really like this approach as it focuses on telling stories of 12 girls enrolled at the school. You get to know what makes an Emma girl and what better way to do that by featuring the stories of their girls.

2.  e(mma)-Book: Interact with all things Emma and see how you will fit in. In this e-Book, a countdown of the top 20 questions are shared so that you can find out what you want to know about the school. I also love the e-Book concept as it ties into the name of the school.

3.  Admissions Blog – The Admissions Blog continues to tell stories of the Emma Willard School experience. From stories about the location to alumnae to a photostream of pictures, the admissions blog brings the school to life for prospective parents and students.

4.  A Day in the Life – In the admissions blog, two girls showcase a day in their life at Emma Willard. Through pictures and captions, you are able to get a glimpse into the girl’s life at the school.

5.  Amazing Alumnae – Four alumnae are featured in this section. This is a great start to showcasing some of the amazing alumnae stories at the school. After all, for the prospective parent the proof is in the product and the return on the their investment.

6.  Homepage feeds for news, calendar, blogs, Twitter and Facebook – I really like the section on the website homepage that allows the viewer to select news articles, upcoming calendar events, recent blog posts, the latest Tweets and Facebook posts. Through a simple click, the viewer is able to get a snapshot overview of the latest and greatest online about the school.

7.  Uniquely Emma – Every school has unique events and traditions. In this section, the stories of events and traditions that are unique to Emma Willard are featured.

8.  Apply Now: You Belong at Emma – While most schools have an online application, the message “You Belong at Emma” grabbed my attention. What better way to encourage a prospective girl to apply, tell her she belongs!

9.  Photo header – The rotating header on the homepage, while not unique in its format, is unique in its presentation. By showing the Emma girl in color, this draws attention to the student and is a direct tie into the “I Am Emma” campaign.

10.  What’s New – The rotating “What’s New” section in the lower left corner of the website allows the school to communicate some key messages. Currently, there are three rotating messages which includes a paper by the head of school, Trudy Hall, about the benefits of single-sex education. This makes sense for all girl’s school.

I’ve reviewed many private school websites and few tell their story as well as the Emma Willard School. If you are looking to enhance or revamp your website this year, I suggest you take a good look at this website. You will want follow after their lead and implement some of their ideas and strategies.

Your website should be a story-telling tool to showcase your school.

What ideas do you like best from the Emma Willard School’s website?

Are you using your website to tell the story of your school? If so, let me know and I can share it in an upcoming blog post.