Want more students to give you their contact information, request to visit your campus for a tour, and apply to your college or university on your website?

We’re guessing that’s something you want since you’re here reading this blog. You’re here because you wanna know how to compel your website visitors to take a certain action that positively impacts your ROI, right? 

If this pitch right here had a “learn more” button next to it, we’re 100% positive you’d click on it. And that right here would be a good example of an effective  Call to Action (CTA). 

You need appealing CTAs if you want all of your higher education marketing efforts and website design to be successful.

Call to action (CTAs) are essential components of any website. They control visitor flow, goals, and form conversion. If you execute them correctly, your website will be easier to navigate, and your general content and offers will perform better. 

This blog will help you understand how to use a call to action (CTAs) for higher education websites to improve enrollment and conversion rates. We’ll share effective tips with examples to use a call to action for higher education websites.

What Is Meant by Call to Action?

A call to action (CTA) is a component of a webpage, ad, or piece of information that encourages the user to take action. CTAs are available in various designs and styles and operate differently depending on the action they direct the user to perform.

Have you ever subscribed to an email mailing list? Have you downloaded an app? Have you enrolled in an online course? You were most likely urged to do this by a cleverly constructed call to action.

What Are the Types of Calls to Action?

CTAs may be provided in various forms, but the most frequent include buttons, text links, social sharing, and form submissions.

Text Links

Text links are a less obvious call to action that allows users to access further related information.


text link type of cta for websites


Buttons are the most popular approach to elicit user action. Therefore, they must be designed consistently and in a way that distinguishes them from the other material on the page.


Buttin cta type for website

Form Submission

Forms enable schools to collect personal information from website users to deliver further information. An efficient CTA will always inform the visitor of the necessary action to progress.


The first step of form submission can be a button like “APPLY NOW!”.

The second step of the form CTA can be a lead form that collects prospective student’s personal information:

Social Sharing

Including social sharing icons on your website encourages visitors to share material with their social networks. Most schools will permit social sharing buttons on blogs or news articles.


What Are the Goals of CTAs?

The first step in creating your school website CTAs is deciding what actions you want site visitors to take. These acts are referred to as goals. Some of the most prevalent plans of CTAs on school websites are:

  • Filling out general inquiry forms
  • Obtaining or downloading a prospectus for a school
  • Online interview scheduling
  • Sending an enrolment inquiry

Every page on your website should direct users to fulfill at least one of these goals. Consider your CTA content, design, and location to entice prospective students to take action.

10 Tips and Examples to improve Conversion Rates for the Higher Education Website

Call-to-action (CTA) is an important element of a content marketing strategy for a higher education website because it helps to drive conversions and encourage potential students to take a specific action, such as requesting more information or applying to the school.

The effectiveness of your CTAs will impact the quality of your site visitor’s user experience and the results you achieve from your CTAs. The following tips help you design compelling CTAs for your higher ed websites that can improve your conversion rate. 

1. Use Strong Action Word or Add Value in CTA

What exactly is a CTA in education marketing? 

It is, at its essence, a stimulus that encourages pupils to take action. While writing your CTA wording, you should begin with the goal in mind — making it compelling. An excellent method is to utilize plain language that encourages prospects to take a specific action. The following are some of the most popular verbs used in the educational call to action:

  • Apply! 
  • Download!
  • Start!
  • Learn!
  • Explore! 
  • Join! 

Well-crafted CTAs reduce confusion, and action phrases can assist. This is because action words help you condense your message to what prospective students need to focus on the most, allowing you to obtain the conversions you require. Your CTAs should be simple and short, with text ranging from 5-7 words (90 – 120 characters).


The University of Texas at Austin

CTA: A University of the First Class

The University of Texas’s site features a distinct CTA for branding in higher education that begins with action phrases. The content is brief and to the point, providing prospects with an indication of what to anticipate while encouraging them to perform each activity. Prospects may learn more about the brand and its content by clicking on this CTA.

2. Develop Some Urgency

Your school should also focus on provoking an emotional reaction from prospects with a compelling call to action. Your CTA should inspire a sense of urgency by offering exclusive offers that make students think they’ll lose out on an amazing learning experience if they don’t enroll in your institute. Prospects involved in your message and interested in your offer are more likely to convert. For example, using a CTA like “Hurry, limited seats available!” can create a great sense of urgency. 


Arizona State University

CTA: Apply, Request Info

Prospective students can explore content about the distinguishing features of available programs or admission details on Arizona State University’s homepage. ASU uses CTAs to pique prospects’ interest and encourage them to learn more by selecting the ‘request info’ button.

Creating a feeling of urgency may compel prospects to act swiftly to take advantage of your school’s offer. You may use time-related language to make this work. This tactic’s compelling call to action phrases can include these words:

  • Don’t pass up this opportunity
  • Last opportunity for enrollment
  • Hurry, limited seats are available

3. Show your Creativity

When it comes to CTAs, creativity can make all the difference. Don’t fall into complacency – give your call-to-actions some well-deserved spark! Unfortunately, many colleges still resort to using a mundane call to action such as: “submit” or “click here to…”.


University of Essex

CTA: Find a Cou

The University of Essex has one of our favorite CTA phrases. Using “Welcome to our global family?” is equivalent to openly embracing prospective students and igniting the feeling of belonging!

4. Short and Simple

A simple and short CTA is attractive as it conveys your message in a few words. However, when finalizing the CTA, you should think about how prospective students will perceive it. Therefore, rather than opting for a lengthy and tedious message, a quick and engaging phrase will grab the attention instantly.


Princeton University

CTA: Take a Virtual Tour

Princeton University’s CTA is concise and witty. In addition, it lets prospective students know the institute better by clicking on the virtual tour option. By letting students explore the campus experience without actually making a visit, Princeton University gives a sense of transparency which appeals to most prospective students. 

5. Easy to Find or More Visible

Readers will only click on your call to action if they notice it. That may seem obvious advice, but education websites are often cluttered with popups and monotonous content so it becomes essential to highlight the value of visible CTA.  


University of Louisiana

CTA: Get the latest information

Even though the definition of a call to action sounds quite easy, many individuals still get this basic component wrong. For example, in the example above, the CTA, “Get the latest information” is not prominent at all.

Why should your CTA be visible? 

55% of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds reading blog entries. Many of these people are scanning your material, looking for headlines, photos, and keywords that could indicate that the page they’re on is worthwhile.

A simple text or hyperlinked call-to-action is likely to be skipped over by content skimmers in pursuit of more eye-catching information. It must be one of those eye-catching assets to attract prospective students to notice your call to action. And in many cases, this necessitates the use of a call-to-action button.


Loyola Marymount University

CTA: Find a Program, Apply, Request Info

Loyola Marymount University answers all possible student queries through the use of visible CTAs. Commonly asked questions such as how to find a program, where to look for more information about the institute, and how to apply are all presented on their website in the form of CTAs that takes the student to the relevant page. 

6. Place on Right Location

Call-to-action is all about taking the consumer on a journey. So, what’s the point of a call to action if it’s concealed from sight? Scanners and scrollers are the users of today. So, place call-to-action prominently to direct users to their “next step” at any point in their journey, which applies to all pages on your site.

Call-to-action at the bottom of a site is an exceptionally successful strategy that keeps visitors interested and moving on to the next step rather than requiring them to scroll back up and figure out where to go next.


University of North Carolina

CTA: Find your program

The University of North Carolina does a fantastic job of strategically positioning a call to action on its landing page. Prospective students can easily find CTAs for “Discover”, “Navigate” and “Search”, right on their homepage. 

7. Gather Info From Leads

Using effective CTAs is a key strategy for lead generation in higher education. A CTA can also be used to gather contact information from potential leads. For example, you can collect prospective students’ email addresses for later communication using an effective CTA.


The Ohio State University

CTA: Schedule a Visit

In this example, The Ohio State University’s CTA, “Schedule a visit,” is focused on giving prospective students a chance to visit the campus. However, prospective students must provide their name and email address to reserve the slot when they select this option. Even if prospective students choose not to visit, the university still has the information to approach them later. Even if they don’t visit, the university still has the information to approach them later through email marketing for higher education.

8. Use Numbers to Make an Impression

Numbers have a better effect on people as compared to text. Using statistics, discount offers, timelines, and degree pricing can help the students understand why they need to enroll in your institute. 


University of San Diego

CTA: Financial aid

The University of San Diego presented information about the availability of financial aid through numbers. They elaborated that even though higher education is expensive, the cost should not deter student ambitions as 76% of the student were able to get financial aid. The total amount of aid for graduate and undergraduate students is also shared with the average loan amount. 

These statistics can help the student understand that they can apply for a degree program with the much-needed assistance of financial aid. The “Financial Aid” CTA takes the student to a different page where they can check their financial aid options.

9. Deliver the Relevant Message

You need to understand your primary audience and offer them clear options to select. Delivering the right message at a right time can help the student make a timely decision. 

 For instance, if the prospective student is interested in admission information, your CTA can direct them to the prospectus download option. 


University of Florida

CTA: Undergraduate catalog, Graduate catalog, Admission, FERPA Rights

University of Florida’s homepage includes four different CTAs making it easier for the student to go to the page they are looking for. For instance, students can select the catalogs depending on education level  (graduate, undergraduate. Furthermore, the “admission” CTA takes the student directly to the admission page. 

10. Visual Aesthetics

Using attractive images and color contrast for CTAs can bring a quick pop of color which will immediately attract the attention of prospective students. Using contrast colors and imaginative images can help you deliver the message in an effective and appealing manner. 


Arts University Bournemouth

CTA: Book an open day

The example highlights the use of vibrant colors and appealing images. Using a dark color for CTA on a lighter background made the CTA visible and easy to read. 

How to Use A/B Testing to Test CTAs?

Taking the proper steps will help you optimize your CTAs and achieve the greatest outcomes. However, knowing whether or not you have everything set up as optimally as possible might take a lot of work. 

Consider conducting A/B tests to help your school make the most of its efforts. According to research, 60% of businesses believe A/B testing is precious for conversion optimization.

You can compare different versions of your CTA by changing the variables and exposing each version to a similarly sized audience over a set period using A/B testing. The findings should assist you in determining which element produces the best results, providing you with the information you need to create a compelling call to action that works best for your school and its audience.

  • Make two identical landing pages
  • Make one change to one of the landing pages
  • Note how many individuals click the CTA on both changes
  • Keep the effective landing page and discard others
  • Make a different change
  • Repeat the process till you implement all changes

You may test many aspects of a CTA, such as the content, design, and location, to optimize its performance in the admissions enrollment funnel. This method guarantees that the end outcome is a high-performing CTA that generates student conversions.

Final Thought

CTAs, or calls to action, are an essential element of any website, but they’re particularly crucial for higher education landing pages. They can determine whether a visitor stays on your website or leaves. CTAs should be clear, concise, and relevant to the page they’re on. The examples we’ve provided should give you a good starting point for creating effective CTAs for your own higher education website.

Keep in mind that each school has something different to offer, so the call to action for a higher education website will depend on the individual features of the school. Nevertheless, we hope some of these suggestions may assist you in improving your CTA’s conversion rates.

If promoting your higher education institute seems daunting, onboarding higher ed marketing experts such as Think Orion is the best solution. We can help you plan an effective marketing strategy that can help you promote your institute to prospective students in a successful manner!