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New Admissions Webpage: It’s a Start

Dartmouht Admissions Webpage1.jpgWe’ve been critical for a long time of the Admissions Office webpage — a high school effort at coding that in both its layout and content did not do the College justice. The graphics were shoddy, the emphasized features of Dartmouth life were questionable, and the writing, well, let’s just be grateful that the Admissions Office has now come up with an alternative.

The new page is responsive: it looks similar across platforms. But I can’t say that I see any clear and attractive message in its image-rich, word-poor presentation. Here are the five splash screens that seek with a single word, I guess, to communicate something important about Dartmouth (not Dartmouth College, of course).

Do the terms Analysis, Global, New, Collaborative and Green reel you in to discover more about the nation’s best (only?) research college?

Dartmouht Admissions Webpage Comp.jpg

Beyond the central pages there are warrens of blogs, professor profiles, and endless dropdown menus to be mined ad nauseum. Take a look. What do you think?

Fortunately for everyone, the phrase Distinctly Dartmouth is nowhere to be found on the site, but at the same time I can’t find much of anything on it that is distinctly Dartmouth. My fear is that everyone in the administration had their say, and the result is a hodgepodge.

Addendum: Good for the site for resurrecting the use of “the College” to refer to Mother Dartmouth. Capitalization was a common practice decades ago, as this 1975 letter from Nelson Rockefeller shows, and in this space, I have long used the same formulation. Here’s a representative paragraph from the new Admissions department website:

Dartmouth Admissions Website The College.jpg

Let’s hear it for self-confidence.

Addendum: Though the site has a Study Around the World section about the College’s many LSA/FSP programs, it fails to note that our 43 programs are staffed by Dartmouth faculty — a unique number in higher education, as far as I know. Most institutions of higher learning boast that their students have access to hundreds of off-campus programs, without telling you that almost all of them are run by other schools. Admissions should try to emphasize the things that make the College unique.

Addendum: My father always said that advertising campaigns that won awards for their ground-breaking innovations almost never sold any product.

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