A recent survey we conducted with postgraduate applicants found that around 68 per cent don’t seek advice or guidance with an institution's admissions team before starting an application. With this in mind, it’s vitally important that universities treat their application portal as a marketing tool and make the process as self-explanatory and streamlined as possible to maximise conversions. Yet a number of education providers still aren’t leveraging online admissions systems and rely on outdated PDF application forms and programmes such as Excel to manage the process.
Image by Arlington Research.
In an increasingly competitive landscape, the onus is on higher education institutions to deliver exceptional student experiences and successful student outcomes from start to finish, particularly during the recruitment phase. A well-designed application journey inspires trust, builds credibility and can ultimately boost the number of applications you receive. A number of the institutions we’ve helped move to an online admissions system see a quick return on investment. For example, the Stockholm School of Economics experienced a 20% increase in leads and applicants after onboarding the Origin online admissions system.
Why should university admissions “go digital”?
As well as converting more leads into applicants (and more applicants into enrolled students), replacing PDF applications with an online admissions system can save you a lot of time—time that would otherwise be spent on admin. You can organise data more effectively, see what stage an applicant is at in the pipeline at any given time and gain access to analytics information on anything from how many people have submitted a form to how many subscribers are engaging with your email marketing campaigns.
An online system for admissions is like a “one stop shop”; gone are the days of juggling multiple spreadsheets and spending time organising them. Importantly, cloud-based online systems allow admissions teams to collaborate on projects and access critical information any time, any place. Information is synchronised and tasks can be automated, making personalisation—which is so important—much easier.
What can education providers use admissions systems for?
Essentially, admissions departments can manage every aspect of the application process through their online system. If it is robust and comprehensive enough, you can use it to:
1. Create a branded application portal
Using in-built templates, you can create an application portal that sits on your website and complements its design aesthetic and branding. The portal is user-friendly and intuitive, enabling applicants to save their application as they go, upload supporting documents and submit their application. You can also make important information accessible on the portal, such as course details and Covid-19 updates.
You can use dynamic content to enable applicants to move through the process intuitively and control the type of content they see and when. The online portal shows individuals relevant and customised content based on their needs, interests and where they are in the application process.
3. Integrate with other platforms
You can create forms that have social media integration and integrated reference management capabilities to meet the needs and expectations of today’s applicants. You can also create forms and content (e.g. prospectuses and eBooks) in different languages to enhance your international student recruitment effort.
4. Automate tasks
Day-to-day tasks such as sending reminders and confirmations, moving applicants to the next stage and assigning applications to team members for review can be automated using an online system. This enables admissions teams to focus on the more strategic aspects of the job.
5. Streamline the process
As mentioned above, having everything on one platform can significantly reduce your workload and drive up productivity levels in your department. Once you start receiving applications you’ll be able to see who’s applied and filter according to application stage.