21 of the Best College Websites (And Why They're So Great)

21 of the Best College Websites (And Why They're So Great)
Murad Bushnaq
January 3, 2023

Your college needs a strong digital presence to effectively carry out its mission. From drawing in new students to encouraging alumni to donate, a well-designed website can help your school continue to deliver a world-class academic experience.

However, beginning your website design journey can be challenging when you don’t know where to start. We’ve compiled a list of the best college websites to guide and inspire your efforts. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Explore these examples and take note of standout website elements to incorporate into your own design. Once you’ve developed a better idea of how you’d like your website to look, make sure you have a CMS built for colleges, like Morweb, to simplify the development process and bring your vision to life—no coding required.


Best Overall College Websites

A high-quality college website plays many roles, from informing prospective students about your academic offerings to nurturing a tight-knit and engaged alumni community. These exceptional websites use a combination of attention-grabbing content, user experience, and multimedia to wow their different audiences:

1. Alverno College

Alverno College is one of the best college websites because of its professional design and well-organized navigation.

Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Alverno College is a Catholic college that has provided a well-rounded liberal arts education for more than 130 years. With about 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students, this small college has developed a powerful website that effectively showcases its academics as well as its tight-knit campus community.

Here are just a few of the most notable features on this college website:

  • Colorful button CTAs: On their homepage, visitors are met with a handful of colorful buttons that encourage them to explore undergraduate programs, graduate programs, transfer instructions, financial aid details, and virtual tours. Plus, a prominent “Apply Now” button takes prospective students directly to details on how to initiate their application. These buttons help students know exactly what actions to take to address their needs.
  • Well-organized navigation: The navigation bar on this site makes it easy for users to find the information they need. It’s divided into four primary groups: Academics, Apply & Afford, Campus, and Current Students. When you scroll over each, you’re met with several page recommendations relevant to each category.
  • Awards and statistics: Alverno College positions itself as a well-respected institution by displaying insightful statistics (like “100% internship and clinical placement rate’’ and “93% of undergraduate students receive financial aid”) right on its homepage.

Alverno College’s development team brought its vision to life with Morweb's CMS solution. Schools like this one rely on Morweb’s simple (yet powerful) website builder to expand their online presence and connect with more students.

Alverno College’s site perfectly reflects the school’s brand and communicates its offerings to new students. Powered by Morweb, they’re able to display images of hardworking students, promote course offerings, pique visitors’ interest, and drive more prospects to their application form.


2. Bates College

As one of the leading college and university websites, Bates College has a stunning web design that intrigues audiences.

Located in Maine, Bates College is a renowned institution that focuses on providing an engaging learning experience in a vibrant, dynamic, and accessible community. This college website fully captures the essence of its inclusivity from the moment a user lands on the homepage.

Bates College makes its design simple and embraces white space and minimal navigation options to direct visitors to important content. They go beyond visual consistency and streamlined navigation with elements like:

  • Involvement information: This stunning college website uses its homepage to feature four primary involvement opportunities. Each has a button CTA to drive action, whether it’s learning more about campus life, exploring academic programs, reading about the presidential search, or scheduling a virtual visit. Plus, there’s a brief description for each so that users know exactly what they’re being asked to do.
  • Fundraisers: Colleges and universities can only expand their offerings if they have sufficient funding, which is why Bates College has created extensive resources on ways its alumni and other community members can give to support its success. They even have a dedicated matching gifts page that explains how donors can make their gifts go twice as far by checking whether their employer offers a matching gift program.
  • Multiple ways to give: Beyond accepting one-time cash and credit donations, Bates College allows donors to enroll in a recurring giving program, make multi-year pledges, recommend grants from a donor-advised fund (DAF), and more. By providing all of these details upfront, they can maximize the funds they receive by allowing people to support the school in whichever way they prefer.


The best college websites know how to make their features and tools work continually to further the institution’s success. A school-specific CMS like Morweb comes equipped with fundraising features such as donation page creation, recurring gift options, fundraising thermometers, and payment processing, so you can build both a beautiful and effective college website for fundraising.

Then, by leveraging additional tools like Double the Donation's matching gift software, you can add a widget to your donation pages that makes it easy for donors to determine their eligibility for this impactful corporate giving opportunity. Plus, when donors input information such as their email address during the giving process, the software automatically sends follow-up emails based on whether or not they’re eligible to submit a matching gift request to their company.

3. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago showcases its academic prowess on its college website.

What began as a vision of an English-style undergraduate college and a German-style graduate research institute is now a prestigious university known as the University of Chicago. Since 1890, this school has worked to expand students’ knowledge and enrich human life.

Through its website, the University of Chicago showcases its ambition through detailed information paired with features like:

  • Image sliders. Across this university’s website, they’ve placed image sliders that showcase campus life. Take the homepage for example, where they’ve combined stunning imagery with text displaying campus news to catch visitors’ eyes and keep them informed. A CMS like Morweb allows administrators to compile multiple images into a slider to showcase without visually overloading the page.
  • Clear navigation. Like many other college websites, the University of Chicago defines its audience by including a navigation bar that’s divided into types of visitors (i.e. students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, visitors). Taking this approach ensures that everyone can easily find their way around no matter their relation to the university. Otherwise, they might abandon the site altogether if they can’t find what they need.

Originally launched in 2012, this college website was created in-house by the university’s IT and communication departments. Since then, the site has received recognition for its excellent designs, including two prestigious Webby Awards for the best overall school website and the Webby People’s Voice Award. This level of recognition has helped position The University of Chicago as an authority in the higher ed space.

4. Muhlenberg College

Muhlenberg College uses simplistic menus to guide users through its college website.

Located in eastern Pennsylvania, Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts school that aims to develop independent critical thinkers who are intellectually agile. The school’s commitment to intellectual growth dates back to its founding in 1848.

Muhlenberg College strives for simplicity, which the marketing team effectively showcases through its web design. Here are a couple of the features that stand out on this college’s website:

  • Simplistic menus. Instead of piling all pages into the navigation, this school has opted for a minimalist design by featuring five main categories that expand into their most important pages. These categories pertain to the school’s values, admissions information, academics, student life, and community impact. Plus, colleges can use a school-specific CMS like Morweb to feature a search bar for those who have a very specific page they need to locate quickly.
  • Strategic multimedia usage. Muhlenberg College heavily focuses on a combination of static and moving imagery that accurately reflects dorm life, sporting events, and classroom environments. In addition to a few impactful photos and videos at the top of their homepage, they feature an interactive collection of images that allows users to toggle between student life and various learning environments to accurately portray day-to-day life at the school.

By prioritizing simplicity and displaying compelling imagery, this school’s impactful design leaves a lasting impression on visitors, so when it comes time to choosing a college or generally supporting a university, Muhlenberg will immediately come to mind.

5. Princeton University

Princeton has created a robust college website that effectively covers its history and mission.

Widely recognized as the best higher education institution in the United States, Princeton University prides itself on “world-class excellence across all of its departments.” As one of the eight Ivy League colleges, Princeton University seeks to empower its students to make a difference in the world and explore many disciplines with its well-rounded curriculum.

Since its reputation as an elite institution precedes it, Princeton takes a more simplistic approach to its website design to allow its academics to speak for itself. Its strong yet minimalist design stands out through the following features:

  • Dynamic “About Us” page. Princeton makes a typical “About Us” page its own by reframing it as “Meet Princeton.” Under this page, students, faculty, and alumni can explore the people that make Princeton great, facts and figures that outline the number of students and faculty (including how many students receive financial aid), and a quick timeline overview of Princeton’s history, immediately intriguing visitors with its longstanding presence in New Jersey that has turned into national recognition.
  • Expansive footer. At the bottom of every page on Princeton’s website, visitors can find an easily accessible footer that directs users to important pages like “Advance People Search,” “Academic Calendar,” and even Princeton’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and more. With a CMS that has social media integration, your school can easily feature its social media posts right on your website.

Princeton effectively applies the “less is more” philosophy on its website, which helps site visitors quickly find what they’re looking for. Plus, their easy navigation and expansive resources further reaffirm Princeton as an amazing higher education institution that puts people first.

Best College Websites for Visuals and Multimedia

First impressions are important, and this applies to college websites, too. By incorporating stunning images and other multimedia elements across your pages, you can engage more visitors and present a greater sense of professionalism online. The following university websites are particularly eye-catching:

6. Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design naturally incorporates students' work into its college website design.

Established in 1877, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a private, nonprofit fine arts and design college that’s based in Providence, RI. Approximately 2,600 students from around the world are enrolled and engaged in the school’s liberal arts offerings and studio-based learning.

Rhode Island School of Design’s mission is to educate and inspire the next generation of artists and designers, and its college website exemplifies this goal perfectly with elements such as:

  • Images of students’ work: Considering that RISD focuses on empowering students to fulfill their creative potential, it makes perfect sense that they would feature students’ work throughout the website. This adds a personal touch and directly shows the student body’s talent, which makes potential students interested in the quality of its programs.
  • Minimalist design: RISD leverages white space throughout the entire site, using this as a tactic for emphasizing important information. From highlighting campus news and events to providing information for donors, this school website does a fantastic job of featuring the essentials while not overwhelming visitors with too much information or imagery.

This college website was redesigned in-house and launched in 2011, and it was immediately recognized by some major players in the web design space. Just one year after being relaunched, RISD’s college website was named as a Webby Award honoree in the School/University category.

Using Morweb’s Events module, your college can place a similar emphasis on all the events occurring on and around your campus. The CMS contains extensive features that allow you to categorize events, develop a streamlined registration process, create discount codes, and automate follow-up communications.

7. Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth has a strong college website because of its well-positioned CTAs.

Established in 1938, Virginia Commonwealth University has a rich history that drives the community to be free-thinking, engaged, and ambitious. The university is located in Richmond, VA, and serves as a public research institution that’s dedicated to the success and well-being of its students, patients, faculty, staff, and community.

With more than 200 programs, this institution works to expand the boundaries of new knowledge and creative expression, further civic engagement, and ultimately solve society’s most complex challenges. The most effective elements of this college’s web design include:

  • Colorful, well-positioned CTAs: A study conducted by Hanover Research found that directly calling students to apply on your college website is the third-best recruitment tactic. VCU leverages this tactic by featuring an eye-catching ‘Apply’ call-to-action (CTA) on its homepage in addition to two other CTAs labeled ‘Visit’ and ‘Programs’ that compel visitors to dig deeper. With clear CTAs, VCU’s homepage transforms into a conversion engine, not a digital brochure like so many other sites.
  • Image carousels: While imagery is certainly important for showing off your university, it’s important to limit the number of images you include. VCU makes use of image carousels paired with stunning graphics throughout its site to make it visually compelling without overwhelming the visitor.

As one of the leading schools for social work, VCU has developed a beautiful college website that matches up to its prestige. Filled with information about programs and the university’s rich history, it’s not hard to see why nearly 30,000 students and over 200,000 alumni have chosen this university to call home.

With Morweb, colleges can strengthen their alumni community by adding password-protected, alumni-only pages. This way, your alumni can network, access exclusive resources, and more—all in a dedicated section on your website.

8. Oberlin College & Conservatory

Oberlin College lives up to its academic reputation with its robust college website design.

Oberlin College & Conservatory is a top-ranking liberal arts college that’s home to a world-class conservatory and art museum. Built on a foundation of academic, artistic, and musical excellence, this institution offers the ideal place for students to express their creativity while receiving a well-rounded education.

On Oberlin College's website, they make sure they showcase their dedication and commitment to those three categories with features such as:

  • Eye-catching buttons. Starting with the homepage, the school emphasizes its main academic areas: “College of Arts & Sciences” and “Conservatory of Music.” When clicked, each button provides a description of the school or conservatory, and when users click through, they’re taken to a separate part of the site that goes into details about its offerings.
  • Captivating multimedia elements. Throughout Oberlin’s site, users are met with images and videos of hardworking students engaging in a variety of academic and artistic activities. Not to mention, there’s plenty of imagery that showcases the stunning campus. This is a fantastic way to showcase campus life, helping prospects envision themselves at the school.

Even with the extensive details, there’s a prospective student inquiry form for visitors who find that they still have questions after exploring the site. The Oberlin development team made sure to conveniently place a CTA leading to this contact page in the navigation bar. This way, prospective students have everything they need to determine if Oberlin is the right fit for them.

9. Howard University

Howard has a strong college website that engages users with a powerful opening video.

As one of the leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Howard University is well known for its STEM programs that prepare students to enter the world as mathematicians, engineers, and other esteemed professions. With its location in Washington D.C., Howard connects students with the nation’s capital and opens up doors to millions of different opportunities to make the world a better place.

Howard also places diversity and inclusion at the forefront of its mission, priding itself on a student body that comes from 53 states and territories and 53 nations. This emphasis on a welcoming culture that cultivates young minds is embedded into the following website features:

  • Powerful opening video. At the top of Howard’s homepage is a video compilation that features students conducting research in the lab, students walking across campus, and faculty and staff speaking at large-scale events. While short, this video immediately grabs the attention of its audience and shows a glimpse into the dynamic campus life that awaits them at Howard.
  • Engaging virtual tour. Howard University wants its prospective students—no matter where they’re located—to get a sense of the culture and community at Howard. To meet this need, Howard offers students a self-navigable virtual tour that makes it easy to learn more about the campus, even when miles away.

The bold blue and red colors across Howard’s website further reinforce its brand and help to build its visibility as an elite institution in the United States. With a user-friendly CMS, you can seamlessly incorporate your institution’s branded elements into your website to boost your credibility and strengthen your online presence.

10. Fashion Institute of Technology

True to its brand as a creative institution, FIT has crafted a vibrant and creative college website design.

Founded in 1944, this relatively new college seeks to prepare students to work in a range of design and business fields, with fashion as a primary focus. As new trends emerge and the fashion industry continues to grow, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) seeks to inspire innovation all while educating its students to “embrace inclusiveness, sustainability, and a sense of community.”

With its emphasis on creativity and launching the next generation of out-of-the-box thinkers, FIT naturally embeds its values into its website. Specifically, the following features make FIT’s website an excellent example of staying true to your brand:

  • Bright and engaging visuals. As soon as site visitors land on FIT’s homepage, they’re greeted with a mix of yellow, pink, and blue colors that pop on the page and immediately intrigue the audience. Giving off the appearance of a collage, FIT’s homepage is itself a work of art and features several visuals of students at work—from photographers capturing the newest fashion trends to students styling their muse. This helps visitors learn more about FIT’s student experience and connect with FIT’s “creativity as currency” motto.
  • Program overview list. As a school with many different programs, FIT makes it simple to learn about its dynamic creative offerings with its “Explore All Programs” page. Here, site visitors can easily navigate through a complete list of all program types, from a BFA in Animation to a BS in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing.

As an institution catering to the learning experience of over 8,000 students, FIT successfully uses its website to bring in prospective students and encourage applications each year.

11. Cornell University

Cornell's college website design is captivating and helps this school stand out from other elite institutions.

Cornell University has a reputation to live up to as an Ivy League institution. Located among gorges and natural forests in Ithaca, New York, this stunning university is beautiful on the inside and out with its highly-ranked programs—particularly its hotel management, engineering, and architecture disciplines.

Cornell’s mission to “discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge” and provide a dynamic experience for its students and faculty is well-reflected in the following website features:

  • Engaging “Research” page. Cornell’s research programs are expansive, from covering environmental innovations to improve the world around us to investigations into how workplaces can increase diversity. To encapsulate its many discoveries and innovations, Cornell has created a visually appealing “Research” page that highlights the latest research stories along with high-quality images and videos that show students and faculty in action.
  • Captivating live view. Cornell’s sweeping landscapes and bustling campus life further speak to the high quality of its academic experience, which extends outside of the classroom. To highlight its beautiful learning environment, Cornell has a live view camera on its site where site visitors can catch a glimpse of the central campus from atop Barnes Hall at any time, even when they’re many miles away from Ithaca.

Cornell also prides itself on accessibility and includes a message on their site to contact them if accommodations are needed to access their online materials. This allows people of all abilities to effectively engage with their site and feel immediately welcomed into the Cornell community.

Best College Websites for Content and Engagement

Whether they’re a prospective student or alumni, users typically navigate to a college website because they’re interested in learning about the school’s academic programs, upcoming events, accomplishments, and more. The following college websites employ a variety of content and engagement opportunities to create a rewarding experience for visitors:

12. Georgetown University

Georgetown is one of the best college websites because of its different resources that cater to a variety of audiences.

Established in 1789, Georgetown is an international Catholic and Jesuit research university with nine schools, an affiliated hospital, and multiple campuses.

On this university’s website, visitors can get a feel for campus life, explore education opportunities, learn about the school’s rich history, apply, and much more. Two of the most notable elements of this college’s website are:

  • Plenty of background information: Like many higher education institutions, Georgetown has a rich history and conveys its story on its website. The university’s website features impressive statistics, a page devoted to discussing the school’s heritage, and information on the research programs.
  • Information that caters to different audiences: This university’s marketing team made sure to present information that’s relevant to each type of visitor. They have distinct tabs for "Students", "Faculty", and "Alumni" with information relevant to those individuals’ interests and needs. Plus, these pages are quickly accessible within the navigation bar across the university’s website.

Georgetown University's website is a prime example of an educational website that puts the user first. By pairing sufficient details with smooth navigation, readers can easily find whatever information they need without aimlessly clicking through the site.

13. University of Washington

University of Washington has a strong college website design because of its comprehensive navigation.

The University of Washington educates more than 54,000 students each year. Its mission is to turn ideas into positive impact, an ideology that’s rooted in deep optimism and a hunger to pursue progress.

UW offers a well-designed college website that houses plenty of information relating to its core mission. Two of the site’s most valuable elements are:

  • A well-designed donation page. When alumni and other supporters want to express their support for the school, they often turn to the institution’s donation page. UW leverages this opportunity with a well-designed donation page, broken into three easy steps: selecting a suggested donation amount, entering contact details, and submitting payment information. A CMS like Morweb makes the form creation process a breeze by offering numerous customization options and allowing you to collect payment directly through your site.
  • Prominent icons. On the homepage, visitors are immediately drawn to the icons that are designed to direct users to important parts of the website. There’s an engagement opportunity for a range of visitors who land on the site, whether they’re looking to engage with the school on social media, explore a map of the main campus, or get an inside look at the school’s athletic teams and schedules.

Whether you’re an alumnus looking to support your alma mater or a high school student-athlete deciding which school you’ll take your talent to, the UW website makes sure you have all the information you need on their college website.

14. Wheaton College

Wheaton runs an engaging blog on its college website.

Located 25 miles west of Chicago, Wheaton College is a Christian, academically rigorous, and fully residential liberal arts college and graduate school. Established in 1860, this school aspires to be a leader in the Christian higher education sphere. Today, this college offers more than 40 undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts and sciences as well as 18 graduate degrees in various fields of study.

Through its site, Wheaton College puts students at the forefront by dedicating a page to athletics, displaying student recitals on an events calendar, and embedding social media feeds to showcase their students’ achievements. There are several other notable elements on this college website, two of which are:

  • A blog dedicated to students. Wheaton College features a blog that highlights ambitious students, campus news, and much more. Make sure your CMS makes blogging easy with built-in blogging tools, like Morweb's blog module.
  • Testimonials. Nothing speaks louder than well-worded testimonials from students—both past and present! The school features a section titled ‘Why Wheaton’ where individuals talk about their experiences at the institution, discussing topics such as internships, extracurricular activities, and day-to-day academics.

With students from more than 90 countries, Wheaton takes pride in its student body, and this is apparent on its website.

15. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT uses quality content across its college website to keep users engaged.

From its proud history of teaching and research, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has emerged as one of the most highly-regarded technical colleges in the United States. The mission of MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of academia that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.

The college developed a website that expresses that uniqueness with standout features like:

  • A novel approach to navigation. On the homepage, the navigation menu is featured in a static column on the left. On the right is a scrolling feature of recent news and stories. While this approach certainly stands out, be wary of usability for mobile users and accessibility for those relying on screen reader technology. A homepage like this one, if not mobile-optimized with a CMS like Morweb, can make it difficult for mobile users to click through content and for those using screen readers to understand the content on the page.
  • Quality content. Picking a college can be an emotional decision for students and parents alike. The more a school can tap into that emotion, the stronger their chances of increasing registration numbers are. MIT recognizes this and taps into that emotion with high-quality content such as compelling visuals, information regarding student life, quick facts, and more.

Since its founding in 1861, MIT has sought to develop a distinct identity within the higher education sector. With modern technology and a careful approach to web design, they’ve managed to effectively carry this identity over to the digital space.

16. Juniata College

Juniata has an outstanding college website design because of its use of storytelling.

Rooted in its mission to create an inclusive and hardworking community, Juniata College focuses on empowering students to discover their passions and develop their intelligence to take their academic understanding to new heights. This liberal arts college is dedicated to providing an academically rigorous and personally enriching experience to its students.

Juniata College's website reflects this enriching experience with the following standout features:

  • Storytelling. Juniata College takes a slightly different approach with its site than other institutions. Its marketing team has mastered the art of storytelling, making use of a conversational tone that visitors can relate to as well as highlighting current students’ stories about their experiences at the college.
  • Calling the reader to action. One thing this site does exceptionally well is inspire the visitor to take action. The homepage speaks directly to the reader, telling them to “Become the Author of Your Own Powerful Story.” Readers are then encouraged to explore alumni’s personal stories, visit the campus, and start their journey at the school.

Overall, this college’s website taps into readers’ emotions, connecting with them on a personal level to inspire and drive them to take action. In turn, it effectively depicts a welcoming campus that potential students feel a part of even when online.

Best College Website Designs for Accessibility

To ensure that everyone can access your college website’s content, it’s important to follow accessibility best practices such as adding alternative text to images and using colors with high contrast across your pages. These top college websites are exemplary models when it comes to accessibility:

17. University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame uses strong branding across its college website design.

Located in Indiana, the University of Notre Dame is a prestigious institution that offers nearly 50 international study programs for undergraduate and graduate students. This leading research university allows students to pursue their academic endeavors in a unique scholarly community by offering a variety of majors and minors from Engineering to Global Affairs.

This school has historically sought to enrich Catholic intellectual and cultural traditions and conveys this through its website. Here are a few ways Notre Dame’s university website connects with its visitors:

  • Strong branding: Notre Dame effectively instills school spirit by using consistent branding throughout the site. They have strict brand guidelines in place to ensure every part of their university’s website matches up to its standards. Starting with a predetermined theme, Notre Dame’s web developers must stick to school colors and official university fonts among other requirements as they develop new content. Maintaining branding standards allows schools to establish credibility and brand recognition within the higher ed space.
  • Responsive design: Notre Dame’s website is beautiful on desktops with high-definition images, interactive elements, and easy navigation. Plus, those elements adjust to look great on mobile devices. This element of excellent responsive design makes this university website even more special. Since Google’s algorithm uses mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor, it’s important for schools to optimize their websites for visitors using desktops, tablets, and smartphones. A CMS like Morweb simplifies the development process for you with automatic mobile responsiveness.

Launched in April 2012, this college website was designed by an in-house team. The fast-scrolling navigation and attention-grabbing photography give the site an elegant feel and develop a positive user experience, ultimately encouraging visitors to dive deeper and explore the website content.

18. George Washington University

George Washington University offers abundant resources for current and prospective students on its college website.

Founded in 1821, George Washington University (GW) is located in historic Washington, D.C. Today, more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and over 130 countries call this university home. They attend the school for the passionate faculty, diverse student groups, Division I athletics, once-in-a-lifetime internships, and inspiring service opportunities.

This college website displays all of this and more with an abundance of information aimed at prospective students. Plus, they feature several elements that foster a spirit of inclusivity and drive deeper engagement. Two of these elements include:

  • An up-to-date interactive map. The ability to perceive a college campus through a current student’s eyes is fundamental to conveying day-to-day life to prospective students. Visitors can immerse themselves in the campus experience using an intuitive map that’s regularly updated with new images and building locations for both campuses.
  • Adherence to accessibility standards. To get in front of more prospective students, your college’s website must be accessible to all visitors. GW complies with web accessibility guidelines so that people with disabilities or impairments can still interact seamlessly with content. In turn, this effectively conveys their commitment to providing an inclusive environment. A CMS like Morweb comes equipped with accessibility tools that enable users to adjust the text size, change the font type, change web pages to greyscale, and more.

From academics and research to admissions and campus life, this university website houses all the pertinent information that prospective students need to know to get started.

19. Duke University

Duke's college website design is accessible and makes donating easy.

Located in the famous Research Triangle in North Carolina, Duke University is home to over 6,000 undergraduate students and 10,000 graduate students. With a wide range of disciplines, students can find themselves taking hands-on engineering courses at the esteemed Pratt School of Engineering or helping to push forward advancements in environmental law at Duke Law School. At the undergraduate level, Duke is well-known for its liberal arts education designed to spur students’ “intellectual growth…[and] their development as adults committed to high ethical standards.”

Duke’s commitment to developing future leaders and igniting academic growth is well-reflected in the following website features:

  • Accessible navigation menu and CTAs. Duke effectively anticipates its audience members, from prospective students to passionate alumni, and creates navigation paths so they can easily find what they’re looking for. From a thorough “Admissions” tab that directs students to undergraduate and graduate applications to a “Research” tab that makes it easy to find the latest innovations and discoveries, Duke creates a positive user experience that invites people to explore their site.
  • Well-designed donation page. On its thorough “Giving to Duke” webpage, Duke goes into depth into how donations fuel its mission, such as powering financial aid opportunities for students and allowing Duke faculty to tackle new research projects. This helps donors see the value in giving and feel more connected to Duke than ever before.

With a robust CMS like Morweb, your institution can also create a highly effective donation page that spotlights the specific impact of donations and streamlines the entire giving experience, making it more likely that donors will give again in the future.

20. University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UNL has a beautifully branded college website that unites its digital presence.

Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is an educational institution of international stature. This university is a member of the Big Ten Conference and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges. Today, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln consistently ranks in the top tier of national research universities as they seek to broaden knowledge in science and the humanities.

University of Nebraska’s website is a prime example of a powerful yet simple design. It effectively showcases elements such as:

  • Straightforward navigation: The navigation bar guides users to important content and is divided into a handful of categories based on the type of user (i.e. visitor, prospective student, current student, and faculty & staff) and areas of interest (‘About’ and ‘Research’). Plus, there’s a search tool to help users find any other information they might need.
  • White space: While content is certainly important, this college website limits copy and visuals to embrace negative space. This strategy effectively emphasizes the actions they want visitors to take, such as applying and donating.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s website stands out from other colleges and effectively displays the school’s prominence within the higher ed space. Instead of cramming a ton of visuals and text into a small space, their simple design gives users space to breathe. Ultimately, the design elements come together to create a cohesive, positive user experience.

21. Stanford University

As one of the top college websites, Stanford uses streamlined navigation and highlights a news blog roll right on its homepage.

Founded in 1885, Stanford University is a leading institution in liberal arts education, engineering, medicine, law, and other academic disciplines. In fact, Stanford is ranked No. 3 by U.S. News in their list of Best Colleges and provides an elite educational experience to more than 15,000 students.

Stanford effectively uses its website to demonstrate their academic prowess and provide an easily accessible resource hub to prospective students, current students, faculty and staff, and alumni. With a branded site that accurately reflects its commitment to facilitating research and groundbreaking discoveries, Stanford stands out from its peers. Specifically, Stanford’s site uses innovative features such as:

  • Streamlined navigation to different disciplines. Stanford recognizes that all types of students will be visiting their page to learn more, whether they’re curious about applying to Stanford Law School or excited to learn more about Stanford’s sustainability programs. To meet this need, Stanford creates a simplistic navigation experience that breaks down the seven schools where students can pursue their passions, which immediately directs students to these schools’ websites.
  • News blog roll on their homepage. In a blogroll that features leading university news stories, Stanford highlights its research, college updates, and the people who make their school the elite institution that it is. This helps site visitors easily learn more about Stanford and what it could offer them.

Across the website, Stanford features high-quality visuals that showcase its vibrant campus life. Prospective students can begin to envision themselves at Stanford and alumni can feel reconnected to the institution that they called home for several years.

Bonus: How to Improve Your Existing College Website

Just as no two schools are identical, your website should be distinct from others to represent your unique strengths and identity. Now that you’ve explored the most compelling college websites online, it’s time to determine how you can improve your own without sacrificing its individuality.

Use these basic tips to jumpstart your efforts:


  • Use search engine optimization (SEO) to boost visibility. On average, Google processes over 40,000 search queries per second. Implementing SEO best practices, such as targeting specific keywords on your web pages and compressing your images, improves the chances that users will come across your college website in search results. Morweb has built-in SEO tools for adding meta descriptions, custom URLs, and more.
  • Spotlight your professors in a directory. The quality of academic experience that your college offers to students hinges upon your professors and staff. With Morweb’s Teachers Directory Module, you can display easy-to-search profiles that prospective and current students can explore. Teachers can keep these profiles updated by including relevant images, links, and other content.
  • Promote your website using Google Ads. Through Google Ads, your college can expand its reach and encourage more prospective students to explore your website. If your university has a 501(c)(3) fundraising arm, you may be eligible for the Google Ad Grant, through which you can unlock $10,000 to spend on ad credits every month. However, securing this grant may be more complex than for regular nonprofits. Consider reaching out to a certified Google Ad Grant agency to check your eligibility and make the most of this free advertising opportunity.
  • Incorporate tools that facilitate donor and student appreciation. Turn one-time visitors into an engaged community by adding stewardship tools to your college website. For example, you can embed eCards for donors to send to friends and family after they make a gift or for students to send to recognize their peers for their academic accomplishments.


As you make improvements to your website, track metrics such as new versus returning visitors, donation page conversion rates, and average time on page to measure your performance. Continue to make adjustments as necessary to refine your college website and provide the best possible experience to users.

The Gist

Now that you’ve seen the best college websites, you’re ready to create or revamp your own higher education institution’s digital presence!

Remember, a school-specific CMS like Morweb will simplify the entire design and development process, ensuring you have access to all of the features that you need under one roof. That way, you can focus on producing high-quality content that appeals to your visitors.

Interested in learning more about school website design? Explore these additional resources:


Murad Bushnaq
Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software, and strategic communication.
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