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April 25th, 2000


University of Phoenix www.uophx.edu. University of Wisconsin, Madison www.wisc.edu ... University mission statement (Phoenix) Information on admissions counselors ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: April 25th, 2000

Best Practices Analysis University of North
Carolina, Prospective Student Portal
  • April 25th, 2000

  • The objectives of conducting this best practice
    analysis are
  • Identify higher education industry best practices
    in the areas of general Web site design and
    on-line prospective student services.
  • Incorporate the best practices into the design of
    the functionality of the UNC Prospective Student
    Portal (PSP).
  • Generate innovative, break-away ideas for the
  • The approach used for the best practice analysis
    was to
  • Identify and define the most relevant
    benchmarking Web site features and service areas
    to asses. Since the focus is on prospective
    students, only service areas affecting
    prospective students were evaluated.
  • Identify Web sites to evaluated based on
    citations from industry experts such as Educause,
    citations from PwC internal knowledge sources,
    and recommendations from the project team.
  • Explore Web sites and determine the key best
    practices for each feature and service area.
  • Identify sites exhibiting best practices.

Assessed Web Site Features
  • We defined best practices for Content and
    Functionality in each of the following service
  • Admissions
  • Transfer Student
  • Orientation
  • Financial Aid
  • Registrar
  • Housing
  • Advising
  • Student Life
  • Academics
  • We defined best practices for the following
    overall Web site features
  • Visual Design
  • Navigation
  • Interactivity
  • Personalization
  • Customer Service
  • Branding
  • Creativity

Assessed Web Sites
  • We assessed the following colleges and
  • Art Center College of Design www.artcenter.edu
  • Boston University www.bu.edu
  • California Institute of Technology www.caltech.e
  • Clemson University www.clemson.edu
  • DePauw University www.depauw.edu
  • James Madison University www.jmu.edu
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology www.mit.edu
  • Ohio State University www.osu.edu
  • Southwestern University www.southwestern.edu
  • University of Arizona www.arizona.edu
  • University of Buffalo www.buffalo.edu
  • University of California, LA www.ucla.edu
  • University of Colorado, Boulder www.colorado.edu
  • University of Dayton www.dayton.edu
  • University of Delaware www.udel.edu
  • University of Maryland, College
    Park www.umcp.umd.edu
  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities www.umn.edu
  • University of North Carolina System www.uncwil.ed

Assessed Web Sites (cont)
  • We assessed the following dot-com companies
  • CollegesLearning.com www.collegelearning.com
  • CollegeNET www.collegenet.com
  • CollegeView www.collegeview.com
  • University Access www.universityaccess.com

Best Practices and Sites for Visual Design
  • Visual design is the look and feel of a site. It
    is the layout of text, pictures, graphics, and
    dead space on a page.
  • Best practices
  • Clean, clear, organized, uncluttered look and
    feel (Dayton)
  • Efficient use of screen space (Dayton)
  • Consistent layout across site (Dayton)
  • Background is a light color (Dayton)
  • Relevant images/graphics (Dayton)
  • Dynamic images (University Access, University of
  • Engaging features (University Access)
  • Easy to scan/not too much text (Dayton)
  • No scrolling necessary (Dayton)
  • Supports multiple screen sizes and resolution

Best Practices and Sites for Navigation
  • Navigation is the vehicle by which a user locates
    information on the site.
  • Best practices
  • Logical and intuitive (Dayton)
  • Consistent across site (Dayton)
  • Role-based (DePauw, UCLA)
  • Vertical and horizontal navigation bars (MIT
  • Tabs (MIT Sloan)
  • Cascading menus (Yale)
  • Pop-up windows (Yale)
  • Quick/direct links/pull down boxes (Delaware,
  • Strong search capability/broad and specific
    searches (MIT)
  • Site map/index (Maryland)
  • Navigation path (Maryland)
  • Combination of navigation tools (MIT Sloan,

Best Practices and Sites for Interactivity
  • Interactivity is the ability of a site to
    interact with a user via two-way communication or
    one-way communication in which the user must
    input data. Web studies have shown that the more
    interactive a site, the more repeat visits occur.
  • Best practices
  • Chat functionality (Wake, Buffalo)
  • Content that changes based on user input
  • Surveys (MIT)
  • Random images that invoke users to take action

Best Practices and Sites for Personalization
  • Personalization is the ability of a site to allow
    the user to see personal information or customize
    the site according to their personal interests.
    The more personalized a site, the more memorable
    it becomes.
  • Best practices
  • User can create a personal profile
  • User is given an e-mail account and password
  • Site displays name or other personal information
  • User can create/customize their own page (UCLA)
  • Customized content is presented based on user
  • Welcome message from president, department
    directors (Phoenix, WCU)

Best Practices and Sites for Customer Service
  • Customer service is the ability of a site to
    serve its users needs in an effective and
    efficient manner.
  • Best practices
  • Link to on-line help functionality on every page
  • Content-specific help
  • Chat with service area staff (Wake)
  • E-mail service area staff (Wake)
  • Phone numbers are displayed (Wake)
  • FAQ section
  • Instructions on how to use site (DePauw)
  • Confirmation e-mails
  • Area where can report a problem or submit
    feedback/suggestions (Wake)

Best Practices and Sites for Branding
  • Branding is the ability of the site to create a
    brand image for the institution.
  • Best practices
  • Use of institution colors and images throughout
  • Use of an icon or mascot (ColoradoRalphie)
  • Use of a theme carried throughout the site

Best Practices and Sites for Creativity
  • Creativity is a sites unique approach to visual
    design, navigation, interactivity,
    personalization, customer service, and branding.
  • Best creative ideas
  • Daytons use of audio clips of welcome message
  • Colorados Ralphies Info Center
  • Buffalos admissions site
  • Art Center home page

Content is the information presented on a site.
Functionality is the ability of a site to allow
users to complete transactions.
Standards for Admissions Content
  • Standards
  • Welcome/introductory summary
  • University profile (size, type, facts/stats,
  • Admissions process (applying, interview,
    decision, early acceptance, deferred entrance)
  • Entrance requirements (application, transcript,
    fee, test scores)
  • Decision criteria (including previous years
  • Admissions dates/deadlines
  • Instructions on how to apply (on-line, download,
    request hard copy)
  • Information on costs (tuition, room and board,
  • Information on general education requirements
  • Information on academic programs and majors
  • Link to academic department pages
  • Link to athletics department
  • Information for varying types of applicants
    (undergraduate, graduate, transfers,
  • Information on how to apply to specific degree
    programs or colleges
  • Information on visiting campus (directions, maps,
    where to stay, sign up)
  • Information on campus tours (times, how to sign
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Admissions Content
  • Best practices
  • Welcome message from the president, admissions
    director (Phoenix, WCU)
  • University mission statement (Phoenix)
  • Information on admissions counselors
  • Current student profiles/day in the life
  • On-line view book (Delaware)
  • Admissions events calendar (UNC Asheville)
  • FAQ section (UCLA)
  • Multilingual admissions site for international
    applicants (Dayton)
  • Direct link to tuition and fees off admissions
    home page (Maryland)
  • Estimates of meal plan, books and supplies,
    travel, and miscellaneous costs in information
    about tuition and fees (WCU)
  • Information for continuing education/adult
    students (Buffalo, Delaware)
  • Information for distance education students
  • Information for summer session students (Buffalo)
  • Information for parents (Wake, James Madison,

Best Practices for Admissions Content
  • Best practices (cont)
  • Information for prospective students who have
    submitted applications such as FAQ, reporting
    changes to application information, admissions
    notification timeline, appealing admissions
    decision, wait list, deferred admissions (UCLA)
  • Information for admitted prospective students
    such as visiting campus, tours, open house,
    confirming enrollment, orientation, housing,
    financial aid, immunizations, new student guide,
    FAQ, department contact list, link to student
    services, tips on what to bring to college
    (UCLA, Colorado, Maryland)
  • Information for high school students such as how
    to prepare for college, test preparation,
    university courses, pre-college programs,
    application tips, interview tips (Embark,
    CollegeView, CollegeNet)

Standards for Admissions Functionality
  • Standards
  • Complete and submit electronic application
  • Download application
  • Request hard copy application
  • Request additional admissions information
  • E-mail questions/comments to admissions
  • Virtual tour

Best Practices for Admissions Functionality
  • Best practices
  • Direct link for checking status of application
  • Pay application fee (Buffalo, UNCA)
  • E-mail questions to current students (Buffalo)
  • Register for a campus visit or open house
  • Create high school portfolio (Mentor)
  • Confirm enrollment (Arizona, Maryland)
  • Chat sessions with admissions staff (Wake)

Standards for Transfer Student Content
  • Standards
  • Definition of transfer student
  • Admission application process and requirements
  • Application deadlines
  • Admission decision criteria
  • Transfer policy, process and requirements
  • Information on alternative credit (Advanced
    Placement, International Baccalaureate, College
    Level Examination Program)
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Transfer Student Content
  • Best practices
  • Information on general education requirements
  • FAQ (Maryland)
  • Information on percentage of transfers accepted
  • Link to course catalog (Colorado)
  • Specific information about transferring from
    community college (Washington)
  • Transfer student services center (Maryland,
    Buffalo, Washington, Arizona)
  • Information on major requirements (Arizona -
    transfer guide)

Standards for Transfer Student Functionality
  • Standards
  • Submit admissions application
  • E-mail transfer student department

Best Practices for Transfer Student Functionality
  • Best practices
  • Transfer credit equivalency look-up/articulation
    (Maryland, Buffalo, Washington, Arizona)
  • Degree audit (Buffalo, Washington)
  • Transfer student lounge (Buffalo)
  • Submit transfer articulation request (Buffalo)

Standards for Orientation Content
  • Standards
  • Description of goals of program and general
    information about activities
  • Dates
  • How to register
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Orientation Content
  • Best practices
  • Direct link to orientation information from home
    page or main admissions page (WCU)
  • Information on orientation counselors/meet the
    staff (WCU, U CLA)
  • FAQ section (WCU, Maryland, UCLA)
  • Information on orientation logistics - housing
    for students and family, parking, what to bring,
    special assistance, pre-orientation requirements,
    cost (WCU, Maryland, UCLA)
  • Information on fall semester dates and deadlines
  • Link to virtual tour (WCU)
  • Links to student affairs areas (WCU)
  • Link to student guide/handbook (UCLA)
  • Pictures from orientation (UCLA)

Standards for Orientation Functionality
  • Standards
  • E-mail orientation department

Best Practices for Orientation Functionality
  • Best practices
  • Register for orientation and receive confirmation

Standards for Financial Aid Content
  • Standards
  • Financial aid process/step by step how to apply
    and what happens after notification (accepting
    award, disbursement, payment)
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Important dates/deadlines
  • Information on FAFSA
  • Information on university scholarships
  • Information on loans
  • Information on grants
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Financial Aid Content
  • Best practices
  • Information on work-study program and general
    student employment view available jobs (Buffalo,
    Dayton, Colorado)
  • FAQ (Buffalo, Colorado)
  • Information on payment plans (Dayton)
  • Information on applying for summer financial aid
  • Information on how to make adjustments to
    financial aid (Colorado)
  • Glossary of terms (Colorado, CollegeView)
  • Link to forms and helpful documents (Colorado)
  • Link to external sites that provide financial aid
    information (Colorado)
  • Search financial aid information on university
    site (Colorado)
  • Helpful hints (WCU, DePauw)
  • Dot-coms (Embark, CollegeNET, CollegeView) have
    great financial aid content

Standards for Financial Aid Functionality
  • Standards
  • Submit FAFSA on-line application (link to FAFSA
  • Link to external Web sites that do searches/apply
    for national scholarships/loans/grants
  • E-mail financial aid department

Best Practices for Financial Aid Functionality
  • Best practices
  • Financial aid estimator (Dayton)
  • Submit on-line university scholarship application
  • Submit on-line loan application (DePauw)
  • Dot-coms (Embark, CollegeNET, CollegeView) have
    great financial aid tools

Standards for Registrar Content
  • Standards
  • Course catalog
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Registrar Content
  • Best practices
  • Information on how to register as a student
  • Academic calendar (UCLA)
  • Course schedule (UCLA)
  • Time schedules (Washington)
  • Link to registration office (UCLA, Washington)
  • Registration office has link for prospective
    students (UCLA)
  • Fees (UCLA)
  • FAQ (UCLA)
  • Summer session registration (UCLA)

Standards for Registrar Functionality
  • Standards
  • E-mail registrar department

Best Practices for Registrar Functionality
  • Best practices
  • Search for course availability (Dayton)

Standards for Housing Content
  • Standards
  • General description of residential life for a
    first-year student/transfer
  • Name/description/features/facilities of
    residential halls
  • Pictures of residence halls (outside)
  • Information on meal plans
  • Link to maps
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Housing Content
  • Best practices
  • Student comments on residence halls (Dayton)
  • Information on programs/theme halls/activities
    (Clemson, Colorado)
  • Information on greek life (Clemson, Arizona)
  • Information on residence hall governing
    organizations (Clemson, Colorado)
  • Information on roommate assignment (Wake,
  • Information for commuters (Arizona)
  • Information on summer housing (Arizona)
  • Rates (Arizona)
  • Student housing application process (Arizona)
  • FAQ (Arizona)

Standards for Housing Functionality
  • Standards
  • E-mail housing department

Best Practices for Housing Functionality
  • Best practices
  • Submit request for housing and meals (Maryland)
  • Off-campus housing search (Maryland)
  • Housing tour with pictures of inside of residence
    halls (Arizona)

Standards for Advising Content
  • Standards
  • Choosing a major
  • Information on what advising is and when one is
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Advising Content
  • Best practices
  • Advising manual (Washington)
  • Department majors (Washington)

Standards for Advising Functionality
  • Standards
  • E-mail advising department

Best Practices for Advising Functionality
  • Best practices
  • No functionality found for prospective students

Standards for Student Life Content
  • Standards
  • Clubs and organizations (list of organizations by
    type link to organization page)
  • List of events
  • Links to housing, dining, athletics, and student
    support services (health center, counseling,
    career services)
  • Campus safety
  • Department contact information (phone number and

Best Practices for Student Life Content
  • Best practices
  • FAQ (Buffalo)
  • Information on student media (UCLA)
  • Information on town (Arizona)
  • Employment opportunities (Washington housing)
  • Link to bookstore (Delaware, UNC Wilmington)

Standards for Student Life Functionality
  • Standards
  • E-mailing student services departments

Best Practices for Student Life Functionality
  • Best practices
  • Interactive events calendar (JMU, Delaware)

Standards for Academics Content
  • Standards
  • List of colleges and departments
  • List of majors
  • General educational requirements
  • Degree/major requirements
  • Academic policies
  • Special programs/academic enhancements (honors,
    study abroad, fellowships, internships, research,
    thesis, distance education)
  • Academic calendar
  • Link to department web sites

Best Practices for Academics Content
  • Best Practices
  • Profiles on faculty (Delaware)
  • Academic events (UCLA)
  • Advising (Buffalo)
  • Library services (Buffalo)
  • Information on what types of jobs can get with
    major (UNC Wilmington)

Standards for Academics Functionality
  • Standards
  • E-mail academic department

Best Practices for Academics Functionality
  • Best practices
  • No functionality found for prospective students

Overall Conclusions??
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