Not every university admissions department operates using an admissions management system, but we’d argue they should. Having such a system saves time and money, and adds immeasurable value to the application experience. As higher education technology experts, we’re biased to an extent, but our belief is grounded in thorough research too.
An admissions management system streamlines the application process from day one. Photo by rawpixel.
Gartner’s Top 10 Business Trends Impacting Higher Education in 2017 paper indicates that in an era of increased competition, universities are investing in their marketing efforts like never before. A large portion of this investment is being channelled into IT solutions.
‘[Universities] Increasingly deploy CRM technologies to support social listening, social harvesting, omnichannel marketing, communications, sales force automation and dashboard-style analytics. These help to create and cultivate relationships with prospective students in hopes of ultimately converting them to applicants and then matriculated students.”
Before we explore how an admissions management system can impact the experience of both student and admissions officer in more depth, let’s unpick some of those key terms.
Social listening is the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what applicants think about the university’s "brand".
Marketing and admissions teams work together to identify customer pain points in order to improve their processes and provide direct responses to feedback or complaints. An admissions management system enables them to do this easily.
Omnichannel marketing is all about improving applicant satisfaction by providing a seamless, integrated and consistent service across all platforms and channels.
An admissions management system makes it easier to integrate processes with desktop and mobile, and provide consistent messaging across email, events, landing pages, and all other mediums.
Personalized communication is key to any student admissions campaign, and the most efficient way to achieve this is through automation. Some people believe automated marketing is unpersonalised, but if data is utilised properly, the opposite is true.
An admissions management system enables the user to segment data on applicants to create content that fits with their needs and interests.
Analytics are an important learning tool when it comes to student admissions. However, historically they’ve been difficult to obtain, involving hours spent inputting figures into spreadsheets that are unlikely to be 100% accurate.
Admissions management technology is able to process data pertaining to things like applications completed and events attended and present them as readable data, like the report below.
Discover how different demographics are behaving, with analytics dashboards.
The driving forces
University student recruitment is getting more and more competitive. There’s also mounting pressure on institutions to improve student outcomes. An admissions management system enables admissions departments to leverage student data and streamline correspondence through automation, allowing them to process applications efficiently while still being personalised.
But it’s not all about targets and competition.
Having an admissions management system that does everything makes so much sense time management-wise, and is a much better alternative to operating different systems that serve different purposes. Institutions are fed up with relying on outdated multiple marketing channels that don’t speak with each other, and are looking for catch all solutions.
An admissions officer’s perspective
An admissions management system like FULL FABRIC provides a bird’s eye view of the how applications are progressing - breaking information down to reveal applications submitted, as well as more detailed insights on individuals.
To be able to see how applications are progressing university-wide and on an individual basis, an admissions management system is required.
It’s very useful to have this data at the click of a button, but without action it becomes meaningless. What’s most valuable is how this information can be used to improve the application process for students which will ultimately drive up applications.
For instance, if you see that a number of applicants haven’t progressed to the next stage and time is running out, you can send them a personalised email as a reminder and offer advice on what to do next. Similarly, you can use data on applicant’s interests or subject area to make the content in your emails more tailor-made.
Admissions officers can gain visibility of the full admissions funnel, from started to submitted application
‘FULL FABRIC helped us digitalise the whole admission process which not only improved the applicant experience but also made the review and selection process a lot easier.’ - Saïd Foundation
Read an in-depth account of how one university revolutionised their admissions rates by adopting an admissions management system: 'How Saïd Foundation improved their application rate by digitising the admissions process'.
The bottom line?
An admissions management system allows staff to focus on supporting prospects in a meaningful way.
A student’s perspective
Nowadays, prospective students lead busy, content-filled lives. A university that doesn’t communicate in the right way through the most appropriate channels is going to come across as outdated and the application journey will be cumbersome, which could affect the applicant's decision as to whether they choose to study at the university or not.
Universities should be allowing access to applicants on the most used devices and platforms, which means making applications accessible on mobile as well as desktop. A comprehensive admissions management system will do this; it will enable the applicant to see how their application is progressing and how far they have until it’s complete.
The bottom line?
A user-friendly admissions management system makes the applicant’s journey smoother.
Admissions and beyond
For any university looking to maintain or improve their success rates, lifelong student engagement is the aim. Certain Admission Management Systems for higher education provide solutions to cover the entire student journey, from application to alumni. The admissions stage is just the beginning...
GDPR, which some have labelled ‘the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years’, comes into effect as of May 25th 2018. The new legislation will mean businesses, organisations and learning institutions have to make considerable changes to the way they store EU citizens’ personal data and perform direct marketing.