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Articles: Admissions

Automating admissions has made accepts,  defers, declines, and deposits move faster at Royal Roads University.

For over a decade, potential Royal Roads University (British Columbia) students have been able to submit their applications for admission online. But Royal Roads’ response to applicants had remained paper-based until recently.

Contrary to many media reports, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the latest challenge to affirmative action, Fisher v. University of Texas, is likely to have a large impact on the future of admissions policies. The Supreme Court did not immediately decide the fate of Abigail Fisher, the white plaintiff who challenged the use of race in admissions, but instead returned the case to the lower court for further review. Many interpreted the decision as allowing affirmative action policies to survive as is.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin provides little guidance for admissions officers looking to reassess their own affirmative action policies.

The Supreme Court issued a 7-1 decision on Monday, June 24 directing the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to reexamine the case, saying it applied the incorrect standard of review and therefore the case shouldn’t have even reached a higher court. It did not, however, comment on the merits of UT Austin’s admissions policy.

Ellis Hall at Hendrix College

Imagine arriving on campus as a prospective student, being greeted by name by the security guard at the gate, pulling into a parking spot with your name on it, and then seeing your name featured prominently on signage in the admissions office. There you meet up with a student tour guide from your hometown who is studying just what you think you’ll study.

That scenario is a reality at Lynn University (Fla.), which gives new meaning to the “where everybody knows your name” sort of welcome.

When the entire city of Boston was on lockdown during the April 19 manhunt for the marathon bombing suspects, institutions such as Boston College and Boston University were posting on Facebook to let admitted students know the status’ of open houses scheduled to occur that weekend.

Homeland Security has since ordered all border agents to verify that every international student who arrives in the country has a valid student visa.

The student visa process has come under scrutiny after investigators in the Boston bombings learned that a friend of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev entered the U.S. with an expired student visa.

Azamat Tazhayakov, a student from Kazakhstan, was arrested on suspicion of obstructing justice after investigators say items were removed from Tsarnaev’s University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth dorm room three days after the attack.

Just about every institution’s leadership is thinking about how to connect with students from a range of backgrounds. Community colleges are focusing on outreach and engagement so that students realize the opportunities ahead—and can overcome any obstacles in their way.

Spring means warmer temperatures and longer days, offers of admission flying to mailboxes and inboxes across the land, and acceptances coming back. We peeked behind the admissions curtain and connected with four top administrators at a range of institutions—small and large, public and private, West Coast to East Coast, and in between—to learn more about what is changing in their world.

Admissions counselors are busy folks with some pretty important decisions to make, so it’s no wonder colleges and universities are looking for ways to make their lives a little more efficient. At the University of New Haven (Conn.), this help is coming in the form of iPads and an app called Matchbox, which allows counselors to review application materials on the go.

The American Council on Education (ACE) has announced a research effort examining the academic potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs), in which it will evaluate select Coursera courses for college credit. If the ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) decides to recommend these courses for credit, it could mean an improvement in college affordability for hundreds of thousands of students. It will also raise some logistical questions for administrators at colleges and universities.

Simpler for graduating students, the new process is also a moneysaver.

After doubling its number of graduates, Polk needed to automate its graduation applications process. A customized Access database was created with built-in reporting capabilities. An automated download capability was added to link graduate information with the reporting database. The result: Advising hours have been reduced by 1,600 per year and the additional clerical help is no longer needed.

NMU's Foundation Scholarship application and selection process was inefficient and labor intensive. A web application was designed that matched selection criteria to the student's academic and biographical profile. The new system reduced data entry, paper, timing, and labor costs, while increasing data accuracy and providing more information to selection committees.

A popular tradition has taken place on many college campuses on Saturday mornings this fall. Students meet with visiting alumni and share storied traditions while preparing to cheer their football team against a rival school. As the marching band plays the school song and kickoff arrives, attention may be drawn to the entrance where the home team will take the field. Fans notice that the star player has not and will not join the sidelines.

As any admissions counselor knows, a campus visit can make the difference between a student enrolling or not. While most families probably do road trips when they go on college visits, some do take to the air. Campus leaders at Hope College (Mich.) are easing the financial burden for those outside of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin by reimbursing half (up to $300) of the cost of an airline ticket for out-of-state students.

It’s really no surprise that today’s technology-savvy generation is challenging elements of the traditional college recruitment process. The conventional approaches of marketing, recruitment and admissions are all being called into question, in part, due to two driving factors—external influences and the changing needs of today’s student. This article explores these factors and offers ideas on what can be done to reach, and connect, with more students.