No one likes a slow website, college students and alumni are no exception. We’ve all had the dream — it’s three minutes before class or an important final, you’re running through the quad in your underwear, and you can’t find where you need to go because the university website is slow to load on your mobile device. Well, we’re here to tell you, in some cases — the nightmare is real! Aauugh!!! “Are those underoos?” Page load speed is also important in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In April 2010, Google announced it now uses page load speed as part of its ranking algorithm.
So how do university sites rate? To explore our nightmare scenario, we donned our newest underwear and tested 32 university websites using Yahoo’s YSlow website performance tool. YSlow has three default performance tests; the results below are based on the easiest level, “Small Site or Blog.” Note: We started with the standard level, but no university scored higher than a “B” on the standard test. Pinch yourself to make sure you’re awake. Here’s what we found.
Grade A — On time. Top of the class.
7 of the 32 schools we tested scored an “A.” Again, the testing level was a bit easy given the size and complexity of most university sites, but ignoring that for now, a “job well done” to:
Grade B — Running a bit behind
17 of the 32 schools
Dartmouth College — 89/100
Princeton University — 89/100
Tufts University — 88/100
Duke University — 87/100
University of Notre Dame — 87/100
Cornell University — 85/100
Northwestern University — 85/100
Yale University — 85/100
Brown University — 84/100
Harvard — 83/100
University of Chicago — 83/100
University of Michigan – 83/100
Georgetown University – 82/100
Carnegie Mellon University – 80/100
Grade C — Tardy
5 of the 32 schools
Grade D — Lost in the quad
3 of the 32 schools
That’s our university roundup. How did your school rate? If we missed your school, try YSlow for yourself or leave a comment below — we’re happy to test more websites.