Ivy Tech Community College

Short-Term Certificates Microsite

The higher ed space is a year-round, fierce competition for enrollments as colleges and universities vie for a shrinking pool of candidates. As with any economic downturn, the coronavirus-triggered recession ushered in an additional layer of skepticism for prospective students—and pressure for institutions. With unemployment rates reaching historical highs, a promise of affordability, job security, and high salaries was critical for reaching financially-strapped families and unemployed professionals wanting to reenter the workforce.

The Challenge

These qualities fully encapsulate Ivy Tech Community College, the largest post secondary institution in Indiana. With over 40 locations and classes taught in 75 communities, the college offers accessible tuition for a robust set of associate degrees and credit transfer options to four-year institutions for students ranging from newly minted high school graduates to working professionals.

While the college’s associate and bachelor’s degree pathways are highly sought after, one of Ivy Tech’s key differentiators is its certificate program. Students who want to quickly enter the workforce or advance in their career can earn short-term certificates across a wide range of high-demand—and high-wage—fields. In order to showcase these high-demand, short-term certificates, the Fort Wayne and Warsaw Ivy Tech campuses needed a dedicated virtual space for them. As additional constraints, the certificate program needed to live separately from the framework of the main Ivy Tech website while being executed on a limited time and budget to align with student enrollment cycles.

The Solution

To create a long-term and scalable solution, Asher designed and built a microsite from scratch. Once a prospective student arrives on the main page, they become immersed in lifestyle photos that encompasses the college’s value proposition: an education providing a gateway to a better career—and by extension—life.

At its core the site is an e-commerce experience where prospects “shop” for certificates using various criteria. In order to create a seamless conversion process, the team created a strategic content hierarchy. We helped users avoid decision paralysis—and therefore “cart abandonment”—by prioritizing the features most valued by our audience: time, outcomes, and cost.

Ivy Tech Community College, Short-Term Certificates Microsite

The filtering system allows prospects to sort possibilities by salary, degree completion timeline, availability by location, and financial assistance options. Since prospects can see multiple certificates within the same industry, it creates a delightful experience for them to envision a variety of career paths and opportunities.

We were careful when developing the taxonomies (i.e. categories) to ensure that the language was student-centric, not catered to the admissions team’s internal vocabulary. Hence, navigation is user-friendly with industry categories like “Business Administration” rather than “Business Administration General Plan II.”

Inspired by Amazon conventions, we developed a “Wishlist” feature that serves both as a checkout cart and registry. In order to bridge the gap between browsing possibilities and committing to a decision, we embedded a dual call-to-action (CTA) on the Wishlist page directly beneath the registry section. This feature allows users to self-segment based on enrollment readiness.

The project culminated in an Ivy Tech eblast design where the user received their virtual receipt: a branded confirmation thanking them for their purchase.

Ivy Tech Community College, Short-Term Certificates Microsite Example of Sorting Feature
Ivy Tech Community College, Short-Term Certificates Microsite Checkout Cart
Ivy Tech Community College, Short-Term Certificates Microsite Thank You Message

Results

The site was designed, developed, and launched in less than 2 months—right on schedule. Prospects indicated an interest in certificate programs immediately, as indicated by a surge in traffic during the enrollment periods. The microsite continues to draw in new waves of prospects ready to jumpstart or advance their careers, and we’re excited to help Ivy Tech continue in its role as Indiana’s workforce development engine.

Asher Fort Wayne
535 West Wayne St
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
260.424.3373
Asher Fort Wayne
535 West Wayne St
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
260.424.3373
Asher Indianapolis
450 E 96th St, Suite 500
Indianapolis, IN 46240
260.424.3373
Asher Washington, DC
1750 K Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006
301.651.2508
Asher Charleston
117 Summers St
Charleston, WV 25301
304.342.1200
Offices
Fort Wayne, IN
Indianapolis, IN
Washington, DC
Charleston, WV
Sign up for the 2021 Covington Art Fair