Persuading students to choose your institution over another option isn’t always an easy feat. Student recruitment has become a highly competitive space and an industry unto itself in the U.S. 

And when it comes to student recruitment, your organization’s reputation makes a big difference in your success. Your brand is impacted, however, by the student experience you provide — which is influenced by a number of factors, including one you might not be considering: your student digital experience. 

These days there’s a disconnect between what Gen Z students expect and the campus portal and student information system (SIS) experience that institutions are providing. Students have grown up with technology and expect an intuitive, well-branded experience that works perfectly on mobile. 

Many colleges and universities realize that their digital ecosystem plays a major role in establishing and preserving their brand reputation. As a result, they’ve invested time and effort into their campus .edu website and developing brand guidelines. However, their student digital experience falls apart when students get to the campus portal stage of the process, since there is little to no investment in branding or the user experience (UX) at this stage of the process.

And when organizations don’t focus on delivering a positive digital experience across all their touchpoints (including the campus portal!), it can have serious ramifications for their brand. When institutions provide a sub-par UX, students, parents, and faculty will have negative things to say about their online interactions with your institution. 

In fact, some Facebook pages and Reddit communities used by students frequently feature rants where they vent about the experience they have with their institution’s campus portal! And if a student is choosing which school to attend and hears that they will have a frustrating experience with a certain institution, they are more likely to choose an alternative option.

 

So, how can you provide a solid student digital experience that will protect (and even enhance!) your brand over the long term?

 

1. Focus on the user interface and user experience

A thoughtful user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are both integral to delivering a great student experience. 

When we talk about UI, we’re referring to how your system is designed — how it looks, feels, and acts. A good UI is consistently branded, modern, and well organized. Your UI should be simple to use and should communicate your institution’s overall brand by using your organization’s fonts, colors, and logos throughout. 

When it comes to UX, we’re referring to the usability of your systems and the quality of the experience that someone has while they’re interacting with your software (or UI). Because of the experiences they’ve had online as consumers, students today expect a pleasant UX that is intuitive, streamlined, and fast. 

A good UI design helps to facilitate a positive UX, so it’s important to consider both of these areas as you audit and improve your student digital experience.

 

2. Ensure your campus portal experiences is mobile optimized

Students today are a mobile-first audience. As a result, it’s important to make sure that your systems are optimized to work on a range of mobile devices. The experience and design should feel and look the same on any device, whether it’s a desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet. Your portal should feature a responsive design that ensures students can access their course content, schedules, and other critical information in a convenient visual design. 

 

3. Provide a consumer-grade student digital experience – without implementing a new system!

Implementing a new student information system (SIS) can cost millions and take a significant amount of time — and there is no guarantee it will meet student expectations. Further, since the consumer tech world changes so quickly, your SIS likely won’t feel modern or keep up with the pace of change for very long. 

An alternative to consider is InFlight’s Enhanced Campus Portal Solution. The InFlight platform addresses the front-end UI while keeping the robust SIS backend of your campus portal in place. In other words, the solution works with the technology you already have, but allows you to upgrade the look, feel, and experience you’re providing.

You institution’s technical teams can simply modify and maintain the system, and InFlight provides the infrastructure to enable them to do so.

Before and after — Your user portal can look this streamlined and user-friendly!

 

University of Arizona campus portal

 

Here are a few other ways that InFlight’s Enhanced Campus Portal Solution can upgrade your digital student experience:

  • Provides an engaging and simple-to-use UI for your students and ensures consistent branding with your .edu site and other digital properties.
  • Enhances your self-service and information access — we put critical information in easy-to-find spots and ensure your critical details aren’t buried in a wall of text.  
  • Improves common workflows – like the course enrollment process — to remove friction. 
  • Creates an intuitive system that helps students and removes a big burden from your support staff. 
  • Provides a positive experience across any type of device.

 

The bottom line

The student digital experience you provide has the ability to make or break your institution’s brand. InFlight empowers colleges and universities to create a seamless, brand-forward experience for students that greatly improves your campus portal’s UI and UX to protect your institution’s brand.

Want to learn more about how InFlight can upgrade your student digital experience without having to implement a new student information system? Take a look at our Campus Portal Page for all the information — or get in touch with our team!

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