Admissions, Education, Starter

Switching from PDF Applications to an Online Admissions System

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 Yet a number of education providers still aren’t leveraging online admissions systems and rely on outdated PDF application forms and programmes such as Excel to manage the process. 

moving to an online admissions system

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

online admissions portal

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.

2.Personalise content 

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. 

Try FULL FABRIC’s Origin Starter for free

 

Origin is a FULL FABRIC solution that enables you to convert your best applicants and provide a seamless onboarding process. You can use it to build a school branded and flexible admissions portal that provides an enhanced experience for candidates, strengthening your institutional brand and improving the selection process. However, we understand that some education professionals might be reluctant to invest in an admissions platform without trying it first. That’s why we’re offering a version for free. 

Origin Starter is a self-onboarding version of the Origin platform that you can sign up to free of charge. Registration only takes a few minutes and once you’ve created an account you can start building online application forms, experimenting with analytics and begin to get a feel for how the platform could benefit your school. 

Kate Tattersfield

Kate Tattersfield is a former teacher turned content creator at FULL FABRIC, specialising in writing for the education sector.

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