Here's that whiteboard again, without the words on it. This is all off the top of my head, and would require more research.
This is preliminary work I'm doing to build support for a larger project.
Executive Summary: Our Admissions process involves at least 9 subsites of CSCC.edu and 3-5 third-party systems. The college is working on a more streamlined system, but it's a multi-year project. I'm seeking ways that the website can assist students through this process.
To the whiteboard!
Over the summer of 2021, I started taking a hard look at our admissions process.
As you can see in the header image, I started by mapping out all the steps on a whiteboard. To illustrate the many steps, I printed screenshots of each separate subsite and third-party system a student needs to navigate to enroll at CState.
See it on video
The whiteboard is a useful tool, but it's a little hard to follow and it's certainly not portable. I did a quick video showing all of the various subsites and third-party systems that a student must navigate. I think this shows the process a little more clearly.
Forgive the quality here - like I said, this is all preliminary.
My theory of the case
Applying for college involves navigating the website and at least three third-party sites: the Radius Application, the federal FAFSA.gov, and then our student information system. That's three separate usernames and passwords.
In most settings, you create one login that carries you through all of your interactions with that organization. Also, a unified system would walk you through the entire process, rather than referring you to the next section. Our process includes logged-in portions as well as open-access portions.
None of this is unknown to us, but it's still useful to lay it all out.
Lots more research is needed to develop solutions, but that doesn't stop me from brainstorming:
An expanded Get Started Guide that walks students through the steps in more detail.
Signposts on key Admissions pages showing students where they are in the process, including next steps (and previous steps).
Communications audit to ensure that each step of the process refers students to the next step.
Website personalization - so the website remembers where you were in the process and returns you to that step.
(These thoughts only involve CSCC.edu. Replacing IT systems is already under way.)
The college is working on a unified system to eliminate at least one of those logins, but it'll be a few years before it's ready to deploy. At present, I'm exploring how the website can help students through the process.
The next step would involve the classic user research techniques:
Workshops with staff and faculty to discover more aspects of the process.
User interviews to determine students' pain points in the Admissions flow.
Incorporate new insights into an expanded, more granular user journey map.
Evaluation of communications sent to students at each point in the process.