Qualifying Applicants: How This Admissions Process Hurts Institutions

Over 80% of the processing effort for non-selective admissions is related to verifying and qualifying candidates.  This adds complexity to the admissions process for candidates, ties up admissions resources, and creates delays in the admissions / intake process.

With recent challenges in the higher education industry, we're seeing the following goals driving new initiatives at institutions:

  • Increase enrollment for the students they most want to attend the institution
  • Increase productivity / reduce effort by staff in the admissions process
  • Improve response times to be more reactive to prospective students

Improving the verification and qualification process is one of the most effective ways to move the needle in all of these areas:

Putting this in context

When prospective students apply to your institution; they provide a number of important pieces of information about themselves.

  • Background and identity Information
  • Contact details
  • Background information
  • Education and/or employment history
  • Information to help prioritize their application within the applicant pool

This information is used for the following purposes:

  1. To be able to engage with the candidate throughout the admissions and intake process
  2. To qualify the candidate for whether or how they attend the institution
  3. To select the candidate when the application is for a highly selective offering

For the purposes of this article, we won't be covering the highly selective part of the admissions process.  This for three reasons:

  1. The need to increase enrollment and improve response times is not as important as those for non-selective programs
  2. The process for scoring and ranking applicants for highly selective offerings is highly dependent on the institution’s culture and type of selective offering
  3. Improving the qualification process will still improve overall productivity for selective programs, as that information is a key input into the scoring and ranking process

Common Qualification Items

So, what are the general things that institutions need to verify and qualify during the admissions process?  Pretty much anything that affects whether they can attend the institution and how they’re treated once they attend.  This includes:

  • Education status for desired degree or certification
  • Immigration status
  • Residency status
  • Financial aid status
  • Vaccination status
  • Criminal background status
  • Employment status
  • Scholarship status

Why you can’t afford to ignore this

Improving the qualification and verification process is not easy.  Challenges can come from the technology you use for accepting applications, the complexity of the rules governing the qualification, who is responsible for ensuring that any given type of qualification is accurate and stands up to audit, and your process and technology for managing documents.  That said, the benefits achieved can be enormous.

Enrollment Improvements

The simplicity of the admissions process for the applicant can have a dramatic impact on an institution’s ability to matriculate and enroll them.  As described above, the qualification process drives the majority of what is asked of the candidate as part of the application for admissions as well as follow-on communications during the admissions process.

We’ve found that optimizing the experience so that the candidate is only asked for what is needed for them, is easy to understand from their perspective, reduces the amount of errors, and reduces the number of steps can improve expected enrollment results by as much as 40%.

Reduced Processing Effort

Our customers are also finding that by gathering more accurate information from the candidate, improving the determination of qualification status, and gathering the appropriate supporting documentation – all through the application for admissions; they can reduce processing effort by over 60%.

Improved Response Times

Finally, those same customers are finding that having complete and accurate information feeding into the admissions process; they can improve matriculation times from several days or a week to a matter of a few hours (often within the same business day).

Next up:  how this works

Our next article will go into more detail about how the qualifications process fits within the overall admissions process and approaches that institutions are taking within that process – as well as the general impact of those approaches.

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