The benefits and challenges of automating the admissions process
- The typical college admissions office is usually an energetic mix of ringing phones, bustling personnel and paperwork waiting to be processed. But there are companies providing automated processing and cataloging technologies to solve at least one problem for overworked admissions staffs, according to Ricoh USA.
- Some experts believe that college enrollment will increase to 23 million students by 2020, which will demand for institutions find better solutions for student data management and security. For enrollment management offices, automation allows for paper applications to be scanned, indexed and filtered into backend systems for faster processing and recall from multiple areas of student service operation.
- Using technology to improve processes create better experiences for students, which can make the difference in an enrollment decision and overall satisfaction from first-time students.
Upgrading processes and systems with technology is an ideal goal for most institutions, but affordability, personnel training and connectivity with existing systems are usually obstacles that delay or prevent colleges and universities from making these key investments. That's why a sound approach to improving services and processes often begins with strong leadership and a human touch.
Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec talked about this in a recent interview with Education Dive, in a conversation about his efforts to recruit more students from the university's rural geographic footprint. These students, he said, have high retention numbers (79%) and personal work ethics, things that the campus community could benefit from.
Many rural residents don’t see the need for a college degree, a survey by the Washington, D.C., think tank New America found. They are less likely to have parents or role models around them with degrees, or see job opportunities that require one.
Initiatives like the one at Texas Tech begin with the enrollment management process, and often require admissions processors to entertain different kinds of questions from applicants and to create a perception among certain student groups that their presence, and their challenges in getting enrolled, are a welcomed element of the institution's service culture.
This kind of communication and relationship building may be supported by quicker access to applicant information and data, but it is not a replacement for the same.