Harvard.Edu Takes Top Honors

Harvard University received yet another accolade, but this time the honor went to the top-ranked university’s Web site. Harvard.edu was the most visited spot among university sites for the week ending Aug. 12, according to Milpitas, Calif.-based Nielsen NetRatings.

Harvard’s site saw 244,000 visitors log on the week of Aug. 12, compared to 139,000 the week before, a 76 percent jump in traffic*. The reason? As summer comes to a close and vacationing high-school grads begin metamorphosing into university freshman, they become eager to check out their new academic digs.

It’s a pattern high school Webbies got into early on: back in April, for example, collegeboard.org showed a 77 percent spike in at-home traffic as students logged on to register for the SAT [IQ Morning Briefing, May 10].

And university Web sites are offering the class of 2005 an unparalleled range of opportunities. “Today, university Web sites are moving away from the static content sites of the past by automating many administrative functions, enabling students to sign up for classes, search library resources and access class material,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings.

“University sites capitalize on the immediacy of the Web, providing a virtual classroom where learning extends beyond the lecture hall, after normal school hours.”

–The school with the second highest spike in traffic to its Web site for the week ending Aug. 12 was the University of Wisconsin. Wisc.edu saw a 40 percent rise in unique visitors to 202,000 visitors. The University of Wisconsin site was followed by the Web sites for Cornell, Texas A&M and the University of Michigan.

—-Umich.edu (University of Michigan) spiked 32 percent in traffic but had the most visitors: 267,000.

*All figures represent at-home U.S. data.