Simplifying University Admissions: The Key to Managing a Surge in Applications

Posted by Tribal Group



In an era defined by digital transformation and ever-increasing competition among higher education institutions, managing the admissions process efficiently has become more critical than ever before. As universities witness a surge in the number of applications, the need for simplification and standardisation in admissions procedures has taken center stage.  

In this article we explores how simplifying the admissions process can be the key to effectively managing the influx of applications universities are seeing – and expecting - while ensuring a seamless experience for both applicants and institutions. 


The Changing Landscape of University Admissions 


Universities have traditionally relied on labour-intensive, paper-based processes for admissions. However, as technology continues to advance and prospective students increasingly expect streamlined experiences, institutions have been forced to re-evaluate their approach to student admissions. The adoption of digital solutions has paved the way for a new era, one characterised by efficiency, transparency, and flexibility. 


The Surge in Applications 


One of the most significant challenges universities face today is the overwhelming increase in the number of applications. Applicants reached new record numbers in 2020, 2021 and 2022, with factors such as population growth, internationalisation, and greater access to information contributing to this surge. As a result, admissions teams are grappling with the daunting task of processing and evaluating a much larger applicant pool than ever – and it’s only going to get worse. 


The Pitfalls of Complexity 


Complexity is the enemy of efficiency, and this adage holds true in the realm of university admissions. In many cases, institutions have become victims of complex, bespoke admissions systems that were developed over time to cater to unique needs. While these systems may have served their purpose in the past, they now hinder institutions' ability to adapt to the changing landscape. 


The Case for Standardisation 


Standardisation has emerged as a compelling solution to the challenges posed by complex admissions systems. By standardising key aspects of the process, institutions can achieve several vital objectives: 


  1. Efficiency: Streamlining processes reduces the time and effort required to handle each application. This allows admissions teams to process a higher volume of applications without significantly expanding their resources.
  2. Consistency: Standardisation ensures that each applicant is evaluated using the same criteria and processes. This eliminates discrepancies and enhances fairness in the admissions process.
  3. Transparency: A standardised admissions process provides far greater transparency to applicants, who can clearly understand the steps, requirements, and timelines involved.
  4. Flexibility: While standardisation offers a structured framework, it can still accommodate specific institutional needs or variations in program requirements.


The Role of Technology 


Technology, as you’d expect, plays a pivotal role in simplifying the admissions function within today’s universities. Solutions such as Tribal Admissions, are developed with a design-led approach that focuses on user experience and efficiency. Such systems offer pre-configured, end-to-end solutions that reduce the complexity associated with bespoke systems. 


Integration and Low-Code Solutions 


Another critical aspect of simplifying admissions is integration with other university systems and the use of low-code functionality offered by the likes of the Power Platform. Effective integration ensures that data flows seamlessly between different departments and systems, reducing or removing the need for manual data entry and reconciliation. 

Low-code platforms empower institutions to create custom workflows and applications without extensive coding. This allows admissions teams to address unique challenges quickly. For example, a low-code solution can be used to set up an approval process for new courses, ensuring that potential errors are caught before they become issues. 


Empowering Admissions Teams 


Of course simplification isn't just about adopting new technology; it's also about providing admissions teams with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. Universities should invest in training their staff to use modern admissions systems effectively. Moreover, the shift toward low-code platforms enables staff members to become proficient in creating solutions that meet their specific needs without the need for extensive programming skills. 


The Future of Admissions 


As universities continue to adapt to the changing landscape of higher education, simplifying the admissions process will remain a top priority. By embracing standardisation, leveraging technology, and empowering their admissions teams, institutions can not only manage the surge in applications but also deliver an exceptional experience for prospective students. 

The surge in applications presents both challenges and opportunities for the higher education sector. Simplifying admissions through standardisation, technology adoption, and low-code solutions can help institutions efficiently manage this surge while ensuring a transparent and seamless experience for applicants. Embracing these changes will be pivotal in shaping the future of university admissions. 



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