Behind the admissions process at any college and university is a complex set of activities, milestones, and decisions that go into evaluating students and offering opportunities for enrollment. While the admissions process has never been simple, new layers of complexity have been added as schools deal with new admissions policies and processes in the wake of a post-COVID world.
As more institutions look to adapt, they will need the help of machine learning to support complex layers of decision-making and an agile approach to serving their own needs and those of prospective students.
How machine learning helps smart admissions planning
Colleges typically operate according to an admissions rubric that uses some combination of test scores, high school GPA, and extracurricular activities. Additional measures are also considered, and some academic majors within the school are impacted and are more competitive than others. Now that schools are challenged with hitting aggressive enrollment numbers, even more factors will come into play. Some schools will continue to rely on standardized test scores while others will choose to eliminate them. Hybrid learning options will change the numbers of students that schools can enroll. These factors will have to be agile as schools adapt to meet changing needs in the coming years.
Schools that admit too many students won’t have the resources to serve their needs and aren’t equipped from an institutional level to rapidly adapt to an increase. Conversely, admitting too few students means less enrollment revenue, fewer students in classes, and an impact on staffing and other resources. Hitting the sweet spot of the right number of admitted students is essential, but it’s also a delicate process of prediction.
Process Director applies machine learning (ML) to make sense of historical admissions and enrollment levels, and other demographic data to deliver informed, accurate information that makes intelligent recommendations. It uses Process Timeline, a workflow engine that is easily modifiable by non-developers, can operate in parallel with other applications and processes, and delivers the concept of time-awareness to processes and workflows. The combination of this predictive analysis with case management provides a structure that can identify patterns in current and historical data, and apply that to the admissions process.
The data derived from student information systems (SIS) for student data, learning management systems (LMS) for course capacity, and other repositories of essential data can be integrated into the admissions process. Planning and execution of all admissions activities can be dramatically improved when the data can be analyzed to create a more complete picture. Machine learning can identify patterns and predict behaviors which can then contribute to building the right processes that support expected workload.
Without the ML component, most schools are modeling simply from old data. With Process Director, that data can be predicted in real-time, and continuously improve within this churn of new data and recorded results to improve the reliability of enrollment data.
Process Director and Predictive Analysis
A variety of large, small, public, and private colleges and universities are already using Process Director as the engine for application and admission processes. Workflow automation ensures applications are given the necessary level of scrutiny and review in order to meet the school’s specific requirements. Process Director also enables admissions teams to rapidly build and deploy applications through low code development. This empowers teams because they are equipped with a tool that builds applications that work in a human-directed work style.
Especially as schools have to operate within time constraints as they accept applications, review them, and then deliver acceptance or rejections, it is critical to be able to build and apply the most impactful workflows and processes. Schools are transforming the way they manage the admissions process through Process Director innovations, including:
Document and forms management
Students submit all manner of supporting documentation to improve their chances of admission. This includes transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, confirmation of awards, and other documents. Some of these are submitted digitally, while some are delivered in paper form. Process Director is able to digitize these documents and include them in each students’ file, which eliminates outdated and inefficient processes like managing files through email attachments and paper-based artifacts.
Reviewing documents or searching for a specific asset about a particular student is enabled through Process Director Knowledge Views, which are easy to configure and even easier to use. The machine learning component can recognize aspects of the students’ academic and extracurricular performance to understand his or her student potential.
The result is more context about a student, provided through validated documents. Process Director also enables sharing of information with trusted decision-makers so that milestones in the process can be made with greater efficiency.
The application submission is usually a student’s first touch point with the university, but also a way to engage student data with other applications that can improve her experience. Process Director uses built in connectors for a variety of student information systems, and allows users to construct forms that can pull and deliver data that can be useful for things like financial aid and scholarships, and eventually for housing, remote learning, on-boarding, registration, and course scheduling.
The final result of all this work is, for lucky students, acceptance into a desired school. To enable this, Process Director uses the following innovations that make it a first choice for many colleges and universities:
- Attractive, web-based, and responsive user interaction;
- Built-in support for multiple languages, locales, and cultures;
- Easy integration with a broad array of databases, web services, and applications;
- Directory synchronization with LDAP, Active Directory, and Windows network security;
- Full integration with federated authentication services, including Oauth and SAML.
- Strong encryption of data at rest, and data in-flight;
- Digital signature of documents;
- Granular permissions structure, with temporary privilege escalation.
Colleges and universities have to adapt their admissions processes as young people evaluate their path through higher education. No school can meet the demands of the post-COVID-19 world on an application-by-application basis.
Small schools that want to align their goals and processes to student behaviors will need to apply change through the use of smart workflow and processes. To serve these needs, Process Director provides digitally transformative machine learning and workflow, facilitates efficient distribution of information, and streamlines the monitoring and management of admissions activities and information.