A Centralized Website for Post-Secondary Success in Ontario






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Study in Ontario Website
Project Details

Study in Ontario is a website representing over 50 post-secondary institutions across Ontario. Recognizing the strength in numbers, Sault College of Applied Arts & Technology (OPSE) located in St. Marie, Ontario, sponsored the centralized marketing and student recruitment platform to entice prospective students to Ontario.

Problem Statement

Ontario is the single largest study destination in North America, but the market is becoming increasingly competitive as other study destinations across the globe leverage their destination brands to attract international students. Ontario’s post-secondary institutions aimed to compete with other international options and continue to position Ontario as a top destination for education by uniting together.

The primary goal was to entice international students to come to Ontario for their studies. The website aimed to:

  • Generate leads for institutions, measured through link clicks and form submissions.
  • Provide targeted and valuable information to users, measured through bounce rate, time on page, and page visits.

Secondary goals included:

  • representing the institutions equally and avoiding biases towards any particular institution.
  • meeting AODA/WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility requirements.
  • providing the consortium of institutions access to update their content in a consistent, structured way. 


post-secondary institutes represented

Including: Sault College, Fanshawe College, Humber College, Laurentian University, Ontario Tech University, Seneca College, Seven Generations Education Institute, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo.


user visits during their active campaigning and recruitment period

Over 120,000 users, the majority of whom were international, visited the site between October 1, 2022, and April 1, 2023.

What We Did

Discovery and Research

We began by conducting student interviews and usability testing to understand the needs of our audience. We found that, depending on where students were coming from, they had varying priorities such as courses offered, cost, and safety. With these findings, we designed an effective search and filter experience for users looking for potential schools based on the factors that mattered most. Understanding the priority of information also shaped the layout of the institution profile pages, ensuring we presented valuable content at the right time. The interviews also highlighted the need for a robust FAQ section, as many users had minimal knowledge of the application process for Canada.

Program Structure

We worked with Sault College to build the program listing and categories within the program page. Program listings were created in alignment with the Classification of Instruction Programs (CIP) database, which included a list of over 400 program areas across various fields of study. Once we had a good visualization of how to organize the programs, we examined how users would want to filter the information. Program filters included:

  • Programs or field of study
  • Institution type (university, college, etc.)
  • Level of study (apprenticeship, diploma, masters, etc.)
  • Delivery options (online, in-person, blended.)

Unique Website Features

Paper Leaf delivered extensive custom areas of the site to meet all requirements. Key areas of focus included:

  • Homepage: Featuring a dynamic parallax effect to bring the Study in Ontario story to life.
  • Institution Lookup: Custom-built to handle intricate filtering functionality as discussed above. Filters deactivate when not applicable to the current query, simplifying navigation for users.
  • Interactive Map: Allows users to apply filters to showcase different institutions and their locations.
  • FAQ Page: Designed for ease of use and content categorization.
  • Institute Pages: Equipped with search filtering and unique content layouts to help users efficiently navigate information.
  • Institution Content Updates: Using PublishPress and custom development, all institutions were able to directly manage and edit their own content.

The client was extremely satisfied with our work on the site. Over 120,000 users visited the site during the active campaigning and recruitment period between October 1, 2022 and April 1, 2023. This high level of traffic and engagement on the site necessitated further optimization to handle the increased usage, an overall huge success for all the post-secondary institutions represented.