Higher Education

College Enrollment Software: What You Should Know

College enrollment software can be your college’s lifeline or your college’s end. That’s what Seattle Colleges found out the hard way. They had switched to a new student enrollment and registration software called ctcLink and it ended up doing more damage than good. Apparently, some of the problems that have occurred have included the following:

  • students try to register and the software tells them they don’t have the prerequisites to take the class (when this isn’t true).
  • too time-consuming for students to find the courses they need to sign up for
  • dropping students from courses because they supposedly hadn’t paid for the course although they actually had paid.
  • problems for faculty and professors as well, such as not being able to change course descriptions or class meeting times (which leaves students in a quandary as to why nobody is at the class, and thus even more confusion)

 

It didn’t take long for the word to get out all around campus and even into the community that Seattle Colleges simply wasn’t the place to go to college. The problem was more than a simple software bug. The ongoing problems with the technical support to get the issues fixed are now going into the second year, and a lawsuit as well. The college enrollment software cost about $100 million and yet, when students who are techsavvy these days find out that a college or university can’t even get its technology right, they start to look elsewhere.

What’s Expected of Higher Education from the Marketplace

When you think about it, your college or university’s (higher education) reputation is based on some very simple things:

  • Whether or not you see the college enrollment / recruitment process as a business process, customer relationship management, meaningful communication or simply something that has to be done with little or no control over the outcome (like recreation).
  • The scalability of the results you are seeking once your business process is actually effective.
  • The use of the data quality you obtain from the college enrollment and recruitment process.
  • The use of business reporting to turn data obtained into revenue and actual funding for your school
  • Whether or not your school is using the already established touchpoints that have been identified as the ones that matter to the students’ experience on your campus.
  • The integration of college recruitment with enrollment with campus life with job satisfaction with being a college alumni out in the community – all these can be addressed by college enrollment software. You want your student body to feel like they are a permanent part of your school.

 

All these could be addressed by the use of correct college enrollment software programs but the program must be customizable to each school’s needs with personalization built into it to address the needs of the higher education students.

What Is CRM Software?

CRM software stands for customer relationship management software. It’s a type of technology your school uses to manage everything related to relationships on campus. Those relationships depend on the admissions and enrollment process of the college experience, but they don’t stop there. And when you scrutinize the admissions part of the process as a business process, you see that as you are wooing new students to come to your university, you can lose them at many points.

These points are called touchpoints – and data science / studies have found that there are 7 touchpoints needed to actually close a deal. The frequency of touchpoints is what makes life bearable with other human beings in a new situation that is potentially frightening.

The Top College Enrollment and Admissions Software

With all this in mind, here are a few of these recruitment and admissions – and more – customer relationship management softwares that some universities are selecting for managing and organizing all the forms necessary for the initial process. These may also help admissions professionals evaluate prospective students, score them for selection, routing to the appropriate departments and purchase funnel and schedules for proper and appropriate communication. The goal is streamlining effectiveness into the business process.

  • AMP – This one integrates the whole customer relationship from start to finish if that’s what you want: Prospecting, Application & Admission, Schedule Today, Onboarding, and Alumni. The interfaces are cloud computing web-based and you have the ability to do business reports with it.
  • Ascend – This software also helps you manage students from admissions all the way to alumni status. It has great tracking tools for use with predictive analytics, personalization, marketing communications that are pretty good, and it’s great at targeted advertising.
  • Databank – This software could have benefited the Seattle Colleges. Not only is it good for admissions, but it’s also a good choice for financial aid management, payments, student records and more.
  • Populi – this one has a lower cost for implementation and includes wooing the student through the entire college experience and beyond, and keeping them in mind their entire life. It integrates email, billing and payments, admissions and welcome packages and scheduling – and that’s just the start.

 

There are a lot more but really the best thing to do is to start comparing them to each other, say four or five at a time without automation but using your human amazing mind. The internet can get you started, and your professional team can share some of the tasks. If three people in your department at your university each analyzed five CRM software programs, you will have your answer in no time. And you won’t end up like Seattle Colleges.

Consider the Student Experience in Course Enrollment

Every student is your customer. You have to meet each student where they are at right now, and the only true efficient way to do that is with software that can do it for you, spit out a business report and then you read it and act on it. You don’t need to be a system administrator or have a Master of Business Administration to use these types of software.

College enrollment software allows you to enter in all the data on the prospective student such as where he’s from, his current GPA, test scores, whether he was ever in advanced standing classes, his social needs, finances , and more. Every time you contact the prospective student, you record the new data so the machine learning of the software can be updated. The software can help the different departments at your school integrate their planning and contact of the student on a schedule that meets the requirements for successfully addressing all the touchpoints.

But there is a potential issue you may have to address using the CRM. What if your institution didn’t select the best software – like what happened to Seattle Colleges? Remember; those professors there are still waiting for technology support for improvement and they could be waiting another two years before the performance is up to standard. You really don’t want to be in that position! 

If you are at all involved in the planning or decision making for these choices, don’t just go with the first CRM that had its salesforce give you a presentation, product demonstration, good pricing, and show you its efficiency. The software has to match your needs, and really should be customizable to your school’s needs as well. 

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