Need to Know

  • Olympic College enlisted Northern's services to transition their Drupal 7 site to Drupal 9, with the goal of revitalizing the website and improving user experiences
  • Northern recommended strategies to improve the site’s structure and search capabilities to better align with student needs based on the Guided Pathways approach
  • In just one year since launching the new website, Olympic College’s enrollment has increased by 9%



Olympic College is recognized as one of the top community colleges in the United States. The institution has one of the largest military-connected student bodies in Washington state, serving more than 8,500 military and civilian students yearly.



Northern collaborated with Olympic College to redesign and rebuild the institution’s website on Drupal 9.

One of the primary objectives for the new site was to create a better user experience built around student needs, following the Guided Pathways approach.

The Guided Pathways model is rooted in the philosophy of connecting student experiences with successful career outcomes. It provides a roadmap for higher education institutions to synchronize every aspect of the student journey — from program structure to website User Interface (UI)  — with clear pathways for achieving their goals.

The approach has gained popularity in higher education for institutions that wish to better serve student needs to improve completion rates, equity, and enrollment.

Additionally, the college wanted to empower site administrators with straightforward content management options and templates consistent with the brand.

For the site’s design, Olympic College wanted a sleeker, more modern look that improved navigation, readability, and accessibility.



The Olympic College website encompasses many prospective students’ first interaction with the institution. However, with an unclear structure and content tailored primarily to internal audiences, the previous version of the site had high bounce rates and low user engagement.

The school has two specific student groups: civilian and military. User surveys highlighted opportunities for enhancing program information and navigation tailored to these distinct demographics.

Furthermore, the site's search capabilities were limited, did not fully meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and didn’t have a consistent design.

From an administrative perspective, content editing posed challenges as page ownership was limited to individuals, contributing to inconsistencies in the user experience.