The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented disruption to the academic calendar. Having faced the initial hurdles, universities across the globe are considering what the current situation means for recruitment and admissions over the summer and beyond.
With travel restrictions looking likely to create increased competition for domestic students, there have been proposals to impose domestic and EU recruitment caps within the UK. Moreover, with changes to exams, offer conversion may be impacted and with more capacity it is possible that institutions may enter a higher number of course places into clearing.
These are some of the factors that contribute to growing uncertainty around the shape of this summer’s admission cycle. What is clear is that, more than ever, universities’ systems and processes must be robust, adaptable and able to operate by a remote workforce without detriment to the process or applicant experience. This leaves institutions with some items to consider in the short term.
Confirmation and Clearing
One key area to consider is offer confirmation. Institutions may wish to ask if their process is setup to be operated by a remote workforce without detriment. Are there any approval processes that would need to be turned into an online workflow?
Similarly, do the clearing systems and processes lend themselves to remote working or social distancing? Does the institution have an applicant operated clearing form? Are referral workflows setup to function well remotely? Is sufficient reporting available? Can messages be communicated to staff easily if not in a call centre environment?
While international recruitment has much uncertainty around it for 2020, institutions would be advised to set themselves up to manage international applicant intake as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.
This may leave a shorter timeframe for visa processing than normally available, and this would reduce the margin for error in visa applications. Universities in the UK can prepare for this by looking at their Tier 4 CAS issuing process and considering if it is streamlined, provides a good application experience and includes review points to reduce CAS errors in order to minimise visa refusals?
In summary, while there is uncertainty over many areas and factors that that cannot be controlled, there are actions that an institution can take right now to ensure that their teams, systems and processes are best equipped to meet the challenge presented by an unusual 2020 admissions cycle and beyond.
Tribal is supporting customers in a number of ways from remote training and offsite services to help you to keep going. We are also working with customers to find new solutions to ease this new burden and to make sure that no matter what the admissions cycle looks like, universities are best equipped to help both current and future students.