Shopping for Programs at UND

Emily, The MN High School Student
Emily, The MN High School Student

Imagine for a moment you are Emily, a 17 year-old-senior from a suburb of the Twin Cities. You are at the top of your class and exploring several regional college options. You don’t know what you want to be, but you want a good career that pays well.

You rely on Google to find majors of interest. This is where you (Emily) begin to get frustrated with UND. You find five different pages for the same program. Even worse, the five pages have five different types of information on them. Which one is right? Is this even the same program or are they different?

Finding Programs

To help people like Emily find our academic program offerings, we’re building an interactive academic program finder that will:

  1. Bypasses our internally focused, top-down school > department > program hierarchies that reflect our organizational structure but do little to help visitors find what they need.
  2. Quickly build visitor awareness of our academic portfolio, providing a more substantive argument for our academic breadth than simply saying, “We offer 200+ fields of study.”
  3. Allow visitors to find programs based on criteria that are most important to them in a much more interactive way than scrolling through a long list of links.
  4. Give visitors a space to scan and build a mental understanding of the key features of our programs without becoming overwhelmed with details.
  5. Help clarify connections between related programs.

Our New Storefront

The back end of the new academic program finder is complex with hundreds of different tags that identify programs based on degree level, learning format, location, desired career etc.

We’ll also develop a list of degree-specific keywords to help visitors find programs. For example, our Scientific Computing Ph.D. program will also be tagged with terms such as:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science
  • Computational Science
  • Computer Security
  • Data Science
  • Information Systems
  • Software Design
  • Software Development
  • Software Engineering

The front end of the academic program finder is streamlined. At the very top of the page, visitors can type in anything they are looking for or filter by program type, field of study and learning format.

Programs matching the visitor’s search terms will appear as individual cards. When clicked, each card offers a brief preview of the most important information about the program.

Design of the New Academic Program Finder

Program Page

If the visitor wants to learn more, they will click through to a program page. Every major, minor, master’s, doctoral, and certificate program will have a standard page about the program. The pages will be written for the prospective student and answer key questions:

  • Why should I study this subject?
  • Why study this at UND?
  • Who will I be learning from?
  • What is the class size?
  • What experiential learning opportunities will I have?
  • What special requirements exist for admission?
  • What scholarships or aid are specific to this program?
  • Where do alumni work or pursue advanced degrees?
  • What careers will be open to me?

Example Program Page

A critical component of the program page is the request more information (RMI) form. Once completed, the information goes into our customer relationship database and triggers a series of communications (email and direct mail) to prospective students.

These individual program pages will also be the hub for program-specific digital marketing efforts.

Going Live

Today, the Marketing Council was briefed on the rollout plan for the academic program finder. The entire program finder will go in April with the launch of Wave 1 sites.

The writing and review process is complex, involving hundreds of people on campus. Pages will be developed in batches of 30–50 programs. Each department will have two scheduled review opportunities (one as draft text and one as a fully functional web page in OmniUpdate).

Please consult your Marketing Council representative for more details.

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