After months of clicking through college websites and digging through brochures to decide which universities to apply to, thousands of hopefuls will start submitting their application to UC Berkeley in the next 15 days.
Just in time for the Nov. 1 opening of the UC undergraduate application submission portal, UC Berkeley has launched a new undergraduate admissions website to swell the number of applicants.
The website aims to represent the traditions, cultures, and communities that define the campus and the city of Berkeley through a modern interface and an interactive campus map.
“We’re the front door to the university for parents, counselors and students in high schools and community colleges,” said Rita Kasperek, Print and Electronic Communications Coordinator and the campus’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “There are a lot of students and parents who might not think they’re Berkeley material but our intent is to encourage them to apply.”
Straying from convention, the website features a new “Be Berkeley” section that aims to define what constitutes a Berkeley experience by providing glimpses of numerous sports, clubs and organizations of the campus and art and culture of the Bay Area.
A 3-D interactive map — which is still being updated — provides three different perspectives to the campus by virtually identifyng buildings by colleges, by housing and dining options and by landmarks and resources. Students are also encouraged to add their own experiences to the map by submitting “hotspots.”
“Our goal is to express the unique character of the campus and embrace the history in all facets,” said Molly Duggan, CEO of Molly Duggan Associates, the company that designed the website. “We want to make sure that those students who can’t physically visit the campus still get that richness and pride that you feel when you’re on the campus.”
After months of research, Duggan’s Bay Area design firm provided the best design and competitive pricing for the website, according to Kasperek.
“The technology that we had supporting our previous website was no longer supported,” Kasperek said. “The website hadn’t been updated for 10 years. We had no choice but to move it off the existing server.”
According to Kasperek, it took three years for the website’s plan to be approved, while the design process — which started this June — only lasted four months.
The entire project was budgeted to cost about $65,000 — $50,000 of which has already been spent to pay the design firm. In addition, an estimated fee of $17,000 per year will be paid to the firm in installments depending on how much technical support the website needs from month to month, Kasperek said.
“We’re really happy that we’re getting a lot of positive feedback … but a lot of attention needs to be paid to improving student experience online,” Kasperek said. “We want to hear from our students on how to make it even better.”
Afsana Afzal is the lead Academics and Administration reporter. Contact her at [email protected]
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