All-in-one admission guidance platform


My role

At CollegeVine, I design onboarding experiences that not only impart our unique selling proposition but also activate users by guiding them to get to the “aha moment”. In addition, I re-imagine the dashboard experience, creating a new solution that allows users to keep track of their progress and shows them what to do next at a glance. I also support various teams in the company by helping ship new product features as well as marketing sites.

CollegeVine offers free personalized college guidance. With its proprietary algorithm, it helps students understand where they are in the college admissions process and evaluate their chances of admission to any university in the US.

Product goals

There were three goals we aimed to achieve through the onboarding and dashboard experience:

  1. Introduce and orient
    Impart our unique selling proposition and guide users to build a chancing profile.
  2. Educate users
    Help students understand things that affect their admission; explain the user’s opportunity areas for improvement.
  3. Track Progress
    Enable the users to track their current status and admissions chances, show them what to do next.



Motivate users & impart unique selling proposition (USP)

  • Highlight "free." We had run several tests on changing the copy, and we found out that "free" is a simple value promise that improves conversion
  • We also identified additional value promises that meet users' expectations and needs

Playbook style conversational interaction

  • Simulate human conversation
  • Comfort users by showing them they're not alone

Incremental results while intaking user profile

Build trust with users by showing them how the system/algorithm works and providing instant results. With increased trust, users are more likely to submit their full profiles.




Evolution of Dashboard

Designing a dashboard requires striking a balance between two goals. On one hand, we must show users a variety of data points; on the other hand, we must avoid overwhelming users with too much information. To resolve this, we started by establishing a clear hierarchy of content. I also dive deep into the dashboard design principle and analyze the dashboard design in other industries, for example, financial or data analytics tools. User tests have shown that the new dashboard design is informative – it shows just enough data to gain trust, but not overwhelming. We were also able to achieve a mobile user experience that conveys the same information in a compact format.


Turn extrinsic tendency into intrinsic tendency

We decided not to ask for user feedback directly for two reasons – 1) Users are more likely to ignore the request because they may not be motivated enough to provide it; 2) Asking for user feedback on the validity of their calculated results may undermine their confidence, if we do so too prominently. How could we collect feedback on admission chancing results without asking users directly?

In user interviews, we repeatedly observed that students note down everything – tutor fees, estimated chances, personal interests, and their impressions of a college. Instead of asking user feedback directly, I design a "note" feature that allows students to write down their estimated chances; this mirrors users’ existing behavior.


Results & Learning

Measure success

We nailed it. On the product side, we met our OKR and improved activation. The design solution worked well and fit the business strategy. On the user side, we achieved a high NPS score and heard positive feedback from users.

An alternative way to collect feedback

The "note" feature — to turn extrinsic tendency into intrinsic tendency — works well. We collected enough user feedback to gather a better understanding of our admissions chancing algorithm's performance.

© 2024 Crafted by Alan. All rights reserved.