Top 7 Features for Student Admissions Software

Posted by Tribal Group

Previously, we’ve looked at university enrolment trends and challenges in higher education, and touched on the need for effective student admissions software.

If you’ve already started exploring student admissions software for your institution and you’re finding the process overwhelming, it’s not just you. It can be tricky to know what to look for — and with admissions playing such a key role in the university ecosystem, the stakes are high.

It’s important to have an efficient system that’s user-friendly for your team and supports a positive student experience (and good first impressions) for your incoming student cohort.

So, let’s take a look at 7 features your admissions team should look for in student admissions software.

1. Modern User Interface

There are some key considerations to ensuring your admissions user interface meets student expectations. As the first formal point of contact with the university, it should give users a sense of the clarity and speed they’ll get in future interactions and services. This is especially important for universities that need to gain a competitive edge with their student experience. Ideally, the UI for your admissions software should:

        • Be performant and quick to load
        • Reflect modern design practices
        • Be designed with users at the centre
        • Be intuitive so that users can find what they need and accomplish their goal

That said, from your applicants’ point of view, perhaps the most accurate measure of a good admissions system is that they forget it immediately. It’s simply a small part of the overall journey, beyond which lies many more exciting and memorable experiences, like whether they get in or not, where they’re going to stay, and what on-campus activities they’ll participate in. So, the most important thing is to make sure your admissions portal and user interface is not memorable for all the wrong reasons.

2. Automation

One of the major challenges in admissions is time. Your team needs to act quickly so that they don't lose people, or get so many enquiries that they become overwhelmed and can't keep up.

Fortunately, if your admissions software has the right tools, it can make a real difference to how quickly you process applicants. In Tribal Admissions, you’ll find features like:

      • Decision Engine – Automatically assess applicants based on built-in rules to determine whether they are ‘unconditional’

      • Automated Workflows – Trigger emails and reminders based on predefined actions

      • Bulk Actions – View, select, and process multiple applicants in just a few clicks

Each of these features will give your team more time and energy to make better and faster decisions. Best of all, when you can process applicants and respond to them more quickly, you’ll get fewer follow-up enquiries via phone and email that can (ironically) tie up your admissions team and make it harder to process applicants.


3. Built-In Communications

Applicant communications is an important component in admissions software. But where should your CRM or marketing communications stop and your admissions communications start?

More isn’t always better. Be wary of admissions software that offers too much because it can detract from your team’s core mission: to support a smooth and efficient admissions process.


Tribal Admissions is not an all-in-one communications platform. It does not send marketing messages, birthday messages, or anything that’s not critical to the pre-enrolment process. Tribal Admissions does include the following built-in communications:

        • Offer letter
        • Conditional offer letter
        • Offer email
        • Rejection letter
        • Welcome to the portal letter
        • Document request letter

These standardised communications ensure complete technical control over the actions that will trigger a message. But more importantly, they keep your admissions software (and team using it) focused on the core mission. Any communications outside of the admissions process should come from systems like Tribal’s Student Marketing & Recruitment or Student Support & Wellbeing. However, Tribal Admissions can integrate with various other software in your ecosystem via APIs, opening up other possibilities for student communications and data sharing.

4. Permissions

Consider the user settings and permissions available within various admissions software systems, and ensure that it will suit your current and future team structures. For instance, some institutions process their applicants within the relevant faculty or department, while others have a large team processing applicants centrally. Some team members may only process applicants for certain subjects, postgraduate vs undergraduate students, or local vs international students.

Regardless of how your admissions team is structured, Tribal’s individual user permissions allow each user the visibility and access they require. It’s also easy for institutions to update their user permissions and team structures, as needed — which is handy for when you need to quickly adapt your workflows to meet demand.

5. History Tracking

Tracking the history and activities of prospective university students is now a common practice. In 2019, 44+ public and private universities in the U.S. were tracking and analysing their web activity according to The Washington Post. Meanwhile, many institutions track interactions throughout the student journey via an education CRM like Tribal’s Student Marketing & Recruitment.

Similarly, admissions teams can benefit from software that records a history of relevant interactions and touchpoints with each applicant. In Tribal Admissions, the Lifecycle Tab shows the student journey and automatically notes each 'gate' applicants pass through, bringing them closer to a final decision. The system also comes with Notes, allowing users to enter details about phone conversations, face-to-face conversations, and anything else relevant to the admissions process.

That said, it’s important to avoid feeding too much information into your admissions software, as this can clog up the system and make it less useful for your admissions team. Any interactions or activities that occur outside of the admissions process should be recorded in either your education CRM or student information system (like SITS), depending on whether the information is relevant to your sales and recruitment team, compliance team, or academic staff.

By recording the right information in the right place at the right time, you’ll help each team be efficient and productive.


6. Document Management System

A document management system is a core feature you’ll likely find in any student admissions software. Usually, it involves retaining the files uploaded by applicants so that your admissions team can view them in context when reviewing applications. These files might include proof of identity documents, evidence of previous qualifications and transcripts, letters of recommendations, test scores, or written statements.

It's important to have a centralised place to store documents — otherwise, your team will create their own workaround solutions, resulting in files scattered across folders and inboxes. A centralised document manager will make it easier to efficiently retrieve documents, collaborate on cases, control access, and keep files secure.


7. API Connectivity

In our previous blog, we talked about how many admissions teams need to reference and update a multitude of software systems, leading to data inconsistencies, inefficiencies, and other issues.

But if your admissions system offers API access, you can integrate it with other systems to extend its capabilities, share data, and improve efficiency. This is particularly useful because although your admissions software should remain focused on admissions processes, some of the data it collects might provide valuable context and functions for other processes. For instance, you might use APIs to share information that enhances marketing and recruitment or is relevant to your support and wellbeing products.

Tribal Admissions offers various APIs, but they can be a bit technical for everyday users. So, we also have Tribal Connector — a less technical, low-code solution on the Microsoft Power Automate platform that allows users to use our APIs to connect to other services, like Salesforce, PowerBI, or other software in your stack. With some training and basic development skills, users are empowered to manage their integrations without relying on external consultants.

Learn more

With admissions software that’s carefully designed to support your processes, you’ll have more productive teams and satisfied applicants.

In our next piece, we’ll share more about the benefits of using software to manage your student enrolments. But in the meantime, you can reach out to our team to request a demo or learn more about Tribal Admissions.

Looking for student admissions software that ticks all the boxes? With Tribal Admissions you can empower your admissions team with the tools they need to be productive and effective, while delivering top level applicant experiences.



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