Harvey Mudd College Among Winners of 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards


The Office of Admission at Harvey Mudd College sends recruitment materials to over 30,000 top STEM students each year. Converting these top students from interested to applicant is the goal of various promotional strategies prepared in collaboration with the Office of Communications and Marketing.

CASE bronze badgeThe offices collaborated to create a new admission microsite that was attention-getting, clever, informative—and award-winning. The College received a Bronze in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards.

These peer-selected and adjudicated awards honor institutions worldwide whose talented staff have advanced their organizations through their resourcefulness and ingenuity. Winners are selected based on several factors, including overall quality, innovation, use of resources and the impact on the institution or its external and internal communities, such as alumni, parents, students, and faculty and staff.

Developed by an in-house team of two designers, one web developer, three content developers and two proofreader/reviewers, the HMC admission microsite contributed to a record number of applications for admission—a nearly 40% increase—from the most diverse applicant pool in the College’s history. The admission staff saw increases in applications from women (up 42%), Hispanic/LatinX students (up almost 50%) and African American/Black students (up 79%).

“Due to the excellent working relationship between our office and the Office of Communications and Marketing, they were able to produce the site with an updated format, concise content and the proper tone—with excellent results,” says Thyra Briggs, vice president for admission and financial aid.

CASE judges shared these remarks about the HMC admission microsite: “Harvey Mudd laid out an interesting challenge for itself in redesigning their admissions website: How do you capture the attention of the user in less than a minute? Based on prior metrics, the team knew that was all the time they had to grab site users, so they got straight to the point: bold headings, very streamlined display text, and a navigation that progressively pulled users further down the page. The site juggled a lot of content, but the well-organized layout gave users ‘choose your own adventure’ options that didn’t hinder the overall narrative. The fact that this project was accomplished in just five weeks, on virtually no budget, was especially impressive.”

“Advancing education has never been more important, and the Circle of Excellence Awards celebrate the innovative work that has contributed to that vital societal outcome,” says CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham. “This year, CASE member schools, colleges, and universities across the CASE global membership were faced with challenges that have never been seen before, and advancement professionals demonstrated their skills and sensitivity as they created inspiring and important work to engage their communities in entirely new ways.”

In 2021, CASE received almost 3,000 entries from 27 countries. Those entries came from 530 institutions for consideration across 100 categories.