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Articles: Admissions

Laden with application forms, transcripts, financial aid documents, and more, the admissions function is awash in paperwork. As frustrating as it may be for prospective students who have to compile and send such documentation, imagine being on the receiving end.

These days, most students are never more than an arm's reach away from their mobile phones. They live, eat, and even sleep near their phones, and increasingly, many of these devices are smartphones. A study from IDC Research found the worldwide mobile phone market grew nearly 20 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2011, fueled by high smartphone growth. Clearly, there is a growing opportunity to engage high school prospects via their mobile devices.

Students at Columbia College Chicago and elsewhere who choose academic programs

Here’s the harsh reality: The number of students who have debt has increased, and the amount of money that they have borrowed has gone up. These borrowers then graduate into a world with weak employment prospects. It’s a bad situation leading to higher loan default rates.


A funny thing happened to the College of William & Mary (Va.) on its way to a more efficient way to determine each of its undergraduate students' home address.

Dreading the implementation of the solution agreed upon, college officials instead found efficiencies in the process of working together to solve the problem.


College campuses are typically beautiful places. Tree-lined walkways, verdant quads, and stately buildings make for a pleasant place to take a walk.

But for staff at the University of St. Francis (Ill.), too many campus strolls took up time that could be better spent on other tasks—such as tending to prospective students. And the paper files they were delivering from office to office belied the university's commitment to environmentalism.

paper chase

It wasn't as if the admissions office at Boston University did nothing to keep from drowning in paper, working 12-hour days and weekends, and falling behind on customer service.

Administrators engaged in annual streamlining, but with BU's applicant pool increasing by more than 10,000 over the past five years, it was difficult to keep up. More than 200,000 supporting credentials had to be processed and filed, and 38,000 applications needed to be ready for admissions staff to read by April 1. The entire process was time-consuming and cumbersome.

good walk

Until recently, applicants to the University of North Carolina, Wilmington’s Graduate School mailed in their applications, which were then walked—as in, physically carried—across campus to the school’s 46 different programs for review. Graduate coordinators often discovered necessary documents were missing, necessitating either another cross-campus trip to deliver the retrieved information or a resubmission by the applicant, which triggered the process anew.

money matters

Increasingly, college and university leaders are recognizing that no undergraduate education is complete without exposure to cultures outside the United States. Therefore, many institutions are striving to create a more global experience for their students, through enrolling more international students, encouraging students to study or work abroad, setting up satellite campuses in other countries, or some combination of all three.

As students returned to campus this year, administrators had the chance to motivate them to succeed in school with findings of the most recent study on how college degrees are critical to economic opportunity. Conducted by The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, with support from the Lumina Foundation, the study found that those with a bachelor's degree now make 84 percent more over a lifetime than those with only a high school diploma, up from 75 percent in 1999.

In this tough job climate, a college degree is more important than ever. That’s why the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is helping students who’ve put their education on hold before completing a degree—or “stopped out”—return to finish their bachelor’s degrees. Stop-outs are different from drop-outs in that they don’t want to leave school.
Grad TX aims to connect the 3 million adults over 25 in the state who have some college credit and no degree.

As another school Semester begins, administrators will be confronted with a segment of their student population that does not go on to graduate. Attrition is nothing new, of course. It happens every year, as students begin their college careers in earnest, but find, for one reason or another, that they can't continue. Perhaps the student has financial difficulties or is simply not prepared academically or emotionally for the rigors of college.

The tornadoes that ripped across the South in April devastated everything in their paths. Some institutions had to close their doors before semester’s end.

Ever wonder what Facebook does with the information it collects about you? Ever wonder what you could do with that same information? Economist Richard Thaler of The University of Chicago recently raised the notion that consumers could benefit if companies would turn the data they collect over to the public. His mantra is, “It’s my data--give it back!”

The federal Dream Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for immigrants who obtained a college degree or had two years of military service, did not include provisions for in-state tuition, but it is still a flash point in the discussion. State legislatures in Oregon, Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado, and Georgia, among others, have been debating laws allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.

Future Shock

Darwin put it this way: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." This simple truth in nature may best describe the evolution of the most nimble higher ed ownership models in the 21st century.