Rethinking the university portal

How to take the student portal from intranet to revenue generator.

university-web-portalColleges and universities are businesses, and like all successful companies, they need to present and maintain a positive brand image. Many universities have nurtured their “distinguished” brands for decades, but a budding trend among lesser known institutions to promote a stronger brand image has now exploded, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of institutions that are willing to invest significant time and money in brand management.

Why is this occurring now? Well-executed branding leads to increased retention rates, increased applications, and higher perceived value. What many institutions fail to realize, however, is that they don’t need to make a major new investment in order to begin promoting their brand. They likely already have the key tool for doing this: their student portal.

Typically used for class registration, grades, assignments, campus news, etc., this “enterprise portal” is really a gateway to a complete brand experience that can increase engagement and loyalty and increase the perceived value of the institution far beyond the existing student body. A recent University of Massachusetts Dartmouth study concludes that an effective and intuitive website should be considered the “ultimate brand statement for an institution” and that the portal should reinforce the brand image with seamlessly integrated customized applications.

(Next page: 6 essential steps to customizing your student portal)