Sierra College Academics and Guided Pathways
How Sierra College transformed the student experience
Offering a wide range of programs, degrees, certificates, and courses, Sierra College supports a diverse community of over 18,000 students, empowering them to chart their future path and achieve their dreams.
Inspired by the new guided pathways initiative for community colleges, Sierra College came to Digital Deployment seeking a website that would enable the student community to proactively explore programs by interest, degree offering, and potential salary, all before their first visit with a counselor.
To accomplish this, we worked with Sierra’s team to develop a deep understanding of the student journey and each persona’s specific needs. The result is a completely revamped academics website that features a custom-built academic program finder, quick access to program mapping tools, integrated career assessments and salary discovery tools, and much more.
Not only is their new website stunning, but the results speak for themselves. Visits to the new academics website have increased by 35% over the previous year.
A few of the more impactful elements of this project:
Helping students find their path
Students choose Sierra College because it has the potential to open so many doors. It’s the ideal place to improve job skills, earn a certificate, obtain a degree, pursue a transfer, or simply engage in lifelong learning at an exceptional value. With such a diverse range of interests and opportunities, it was crucial to give students of all backgrounds an intuitive starting point. To do this, we utilized analytics and real user research to create a homepage that would quickly and easily drive students to their ideal option.
Making it easy to explore academic programs by interest
Finding the right course of study can be daunting for a new student. To eliminate this barrier, we made it easy for students to explore all academic programs by interest. Bold, colorful icons make the interface fun and highly visual so students are delighted as they spend time browsing available options. Once they’ve found programs that align with their passion, they can easily filter by degree type and even learn about salaries for jobs available in the field. The program finder tool not only eliminates the barrier to entry, it increases the likeliness of student success by giving them all the tools they need to research and plan their future.
For students who already know their path and need quick access to research their program, we created a user-friendly search tool that will autocomplete their search or even act as a drop-down, displaying all available options in mere seconds.
Enhancing discovery of non-traditional, non-degree education options
For students who are interested in lifelong learning opportunities, we created strategic quicklinks, spotlight sections, and intuitive avenues for cross-pollination between similar programs. We know that driving students to guided pathways is the key objective, but it is critical that these important opportunities are not overlooked in the new system.
Providing career pathway advice
For students who aren’t sure what they want to pursue, we integrated career coach tools that help students engage in helpful assessments and evaluations, showcase potential job opportunities, and offer corresponding salary ranges for a given field. Highlighting this important information within a unified user experience is paramount to developing a complete online student advising solution.
Content strategy – optimizing academic program pages for student success
In addition to revamping the program exploration process, we simplified and standardized academic program pages, prioritizing the details that mattered the most to students. On the new academic pages, students are now immediately greeted with a brief overview of the program, an understanding of the outcomes, an introduction to the various certificate and degree options, and a program map with the exact courses they need to enroll in to accomplish their goal.
For students with more advanced questions, we’ve included key calls to action that drive them to the right counseling and admissions resources so they can immediately get the help they need.
As a result, the pages are now are quickly scannable, yet highly valuable planning resources for students in all stages of the education lifecycle.
We’re so proud of what we were able to accomplish together with Sierra College, and believe their new website will have a profound impact on both the student and staff experience.
Let’s work together
If you have a project with similar needs, let us know – we’d love to learn more about it and walk you through a free demo or consultation.