Admissions, CRM, Education, Universities

What to Consider When Transitioning to an Online Admissions System

With changing demographics comes a required shift in the way universities handle admissions systems. No longer are the legacy and PDF-handled admissions processes capable of meeting the needs of the up-and-coming generation of college students. These processes must be streamlined through mobile-friendly, cloud-based admissions systems.

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However, making such a transition isn’t exactly simple for any college. There are plenty of factors to consider in an online admissions system, from user-friendliness to designated review and feedback processes needed to improve the system.

Decision-makers must track the needs of a digital admissions system and design a transition plan that will allow for continued success. Consider these points to better navigate tech changes in your admissions procedures. 

1. User-Friendliness

For both the students and the university employees who will be using the new system, accessibility and ease of use are essential features. The newest generation of college attendees is the most tech-savvy group of young people ever to enter the field of higher education. User-friendly tech platforms are what Generation Z and beyond have come to expect, and universities must meet these expectations. 

User-friendliness is not just limited to a great user experience (UX) interface, however. It means accessibility across platforms and devices. Data shows that as many as 81% of college students visit college websites from mobile devices, while up to 35% submit applications from the same devices. 

Admission systems have to account for mobile device use, allowing users to submit and check on their admission status from the comfort of their phone. In turn, user functionality on the end of the processing staff should also be a focus. This will allow for a simpler, more error-free system that will act as a win-win for students and universities alike.

2. Big Data Collection and Applications

Additionally, online admissions systems are invaluable in their ability to collect and harness big data. Big data represents all the metrics and information used and analysed by staff in business processes. For universities, it means a streamlined approach to student satisfaction and engagement.

The role of big data in digitally transforming systems is one of predictive analysis, collaboration, and system integration. Implementing it as a resource can lead to profit and productivity 5-6% higher than what is possible without it. For universities transitioning to online admissions systems, considering ways to implement big data to better understand and serve students will allow for increased efficiency overall. 

3. Cloud Data Storage

Data storage and safety is an essential aspect of admissions that should not be neglected in the course of transitioning to a new system. Universities will face the question of whether to host their data on-premise in private networks or use public cloud systems hosted elsewhere. There are pros and cons to each of these cloud data approaches

For instance, a private cloud network offers greater levels of control for facility information, along with incomparable visibility into the operation of your data environment. However, it also means all the burdens of safe data hosting and management are on you. This requires staffing and resources that will drive up costs.

 

On the other hand, public cloud options can be cheaper overall, with a paid subscription covering the work involved in ensuring the safety of transmitted data. The downside to this is less control and visibility of the admission system overall.

Decision-makers should evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of cloud software vs. in house solutions when making the transition to online admission systems. 

4. Student and University Needs

Starting your online admissions systems transition should begin with an evaluation of needs, both for students and the university at large. With experiences and revenues at stake, the goals of your system should be clearly laid out to best ensure the new system does the work it is intended to.

There are many benefits, for example, of tracking candidate applications with admissions software throughout a student’s journey. With a handy database for communication history, student engagement, and more, college staff can explore various metrics of overall success. 

However, without such analysis pre-established as a goal beforehand, your transition efforts risk producing fewer results than you may desire. Define and rank the key objectives of your admissions systems transition, then verify that they meet established needs. 

5. Assessing Problems and Generating Feedback

Finally, the success of your new online admissions systems will come down to how well it incorporates processes for review and feedback. The opinions of all users—students and staff included—will help maintain efficient, productive processes. Tracking this feedback should be a part of your transition from the beginning.

Your new admissions systems will not bring in the kind of returns and time-saving that they could if hamstrung by bugs or clunky systems. Assessing problems and generating consistent feedback will help you iron out the kinks, regardless of the system you implement.

With these strategies, colleges can better plan a transition to much-needed digital systems for admissions and student success. From user-friendly designs to comprehensive reviews, new tech can offer many benefits to prospective students and staff. However, reaping these benefits will require implementing tips like these and maintaining a strict eye on performance goals.

Beau Peters

Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.

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