University of Kentucky
A Major Life Decision Made Easier

The University of Kentucky realized that choosing a college major was a big decision. An estimated 20 to 50 percent of students entering college are undecided about their major, let alone their career after school. UK wanted to make the search simpler and more effective so that students could feel confident about their program and future career. With that student-focused vision in mind, they asked Up&Up to help lead students through the selection process with an academic exploration tool.

So, you want to be an astronaut?

While the initial ask was to build an app that promoted the exploration of possible majors and minors, we started with telling a story. A story about a high school student who grew up building rockets with her dad and now wanted to be an astronaut. When building the architecture and functionality of the app, we kept her in mind to make sure the experience was student-centered.

Building simplicity for a tough decision.

Built to look and feel like a native app with an easy-to-use interface, the design works seamlessly and beautifully across all devices. In three easy steps, future or current students and their parents can browse majors by choosing their interests, potential careers, or entering keyword phrases.

Catered toward the user’s specific needs and interests, the app promotes exploration and “trying things out” through welcoming messaging. Humor and conversational language created a sense of friendliness and helpfulness to make the process not feel like a transaction.

Creating a searchable database.

Course catalogs are available online as downloadable PDFs. While this made the information more accessible, there was no interactivity in browsing PDFs. And maintaining an ever-changing library of PDFs also proved to be labor-intensive and unsustainable internally.

Our solution centralized the course and major information into a searchable database, creating a more immersive experience for students and a more manageable process for administrators.

“The Up&Up team understood how to bring together a complex problem like degree and career exploration in a way that has become an enjoyable process for our prospective & current students. They understood the underlying technology and right mix of data and information to deliver great content within our campus design language and standards. They helped our team efficiently execute a campus-wide solution for centralizing and managing degree program communication."

Tyler Gayheart, Director of Communications & Technology, University of Kentucky

The Results

While the app did just as it was intended from a design standpoint, the bigger benefit was the conversations it started between not just students and their counselors but the whole campus community. The Kentucky team took what could have stopped at a tool for students to thumb through majors and turned it into an integral part of their academic advising process. The university saw a 19 percent reduction in undeclared majors in six months.


reduction in undeclared majors in six months

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