Ever looked up from your desk, glanced around your college admissions department and thought … “Wow, we really need some help”?
If so, you’re not alone. The typical higher education recruitment and admissions department personnel wear a thousand hats…manning student fairs, visiting high schools, liaising with parents and alumni, reviewing applications and ensuring students get enrolled in the system in time for the year.
Like we said … a lot of hats. It’s no surprise some universities’ admissions and enrollment staff fall prey to disorganization and burnout.
Complicating matters further, attendance is down. Most colleges and universities today suffer from declining enrollments, decreased budgets and a greater burden on your recruitment staff.
Even with a slightly reduced number of students, they are submitting more applications to more colleges in an effort to increase their acceptance chances. So, it’s no longer possible to respond to prospects, students, faculty, administration, parents and alumni needs with the old manual processes.
While many universities have automated their systems over the last couple of decades, many haven’t automated their recruitment and admissions processes. Those that have attempted to automate are typically using just CRM software but haven’t integrated admissions.
Bottom line…the system doesn’t work the way they need it to!
What CRM software Universities Are Using
While the number of software platforms colleges and universities use are varied, typically most institutions will use one the of the top 4 platforms.
AdmissionPros has spent the last 25 years developing custom software specifically geared toward student recruitment and admissions. Their higher education software integrates both of these functions.
AdmissionPros offers a module-based system that allows you to pick and choose which functionalities you need to have on hand, while dispensing with bloated extras you’ll never use.
Plus, with a massive array of integrations, you can keep your current systems in place.
The platform is custom built to your specifications. You and AdmissionPros sit down and plan out your admission recruitment needs and the system is designed to meet those needs. It is NOT an out-of-the-box program. AdmissionPros builds, services and collaborates with your institutions departments to ensure that new ideas or changes are integrated in a timely fashion.
No need for a large IT department or the need to hire additional personnel to help implement the system. AdmissionPros does it for you.
Ellucian markets itself as the premier software for managing the student community. In some ways, they do a great job helping higher education institutions track the student body, communicate with them, offer enrollment options and email, and so on.
However, unlike some of the education CRM software out there today, which offer robust student recruiting and marketing tools, Ellucian is more of a student information system.
Recognizing that universities had a need for CRM software, Ellucian added some features onto their existing system. But a CRM and admissions has never been their focus. This means that institutions that do want to prioritize marketing tools end up having to do a lot of programming at a significant cost to get a system they want.
PeopleSoft was designed as a business human capital management solution for organizations, not education institutions. In order to use it as enrollment software and prioritize student retention, you need third-party companies to build an application that works for your needs.
Unfortunately, because their implementation and deployment is business focused in the extreme, a lot of their services and strategies end up feeling inapplicable to colleges and universities.
In the end, what you have is a fancy software package installed on your machines, and a daily reliance on the same manual processes you always used to get through the day, the week and the year.
The truth is, students are not just human capital. They are a much more varied go through a highly variable student lifecycle – from career fair prospect to applicant to enrollee to student to alumni.
You need a software that not only can reflect that, but is made to do just that.
Often, the universities using Slate don’t realize that what they are getting here is a box of templates. Technolutions does a great job of hyping the Slate product with their technology summits. But at the end of the day, what you are getting is a box of templates.
Without any customer service attached to the price tag, your IT department has to build and customize it before you can use it. Unfortunately, that is far from an easy process.
In order to get it up and running, you have to:
- Buy the software at full cost before it even starts working for you
- Install it on your system yourself
- Typically, program and adjust over the next 1-3 years to get it to work the way you need it
- Rely on your IT staff to have enough skill/experience to get you through
Out-of-the-box is not a one-size-fits-all; it actually works for no one. While an out-of-the-box marketing automation tool seems like it offers plug-and-play functionality, that’s often not the case.
In fact, much of the time, they end up offering headaches and nightmares.
Why It Is Important To Have Software that Combines a CRM and Admissions?
In today’s competitive environment, student recruitment doesn’t end with outreach events. The process goes all the way until a student is enrolled.
And, with tighter budgets and limited staff, colleges who automate the entire process have a leg up on those that don’t. In order to meet targeted enrollment numbers, colleges need software that coordinates the following functions:
- Event management
- Travel management
- Campus tour management
- Application management
- Email and text messaging
- Counselor management
- Scholarship management
- Document management
- Payment management
- Report management
- Importing data
- Specific integrations with other systems
Having software with comprehensive functionality is a must in order to coordinate recruitment and admissions, as well as safeguard your student relationship from entrance to alumni status.
The problem with most admissions software in use today is that they are just a CRM. That is fine, if you just want to communicate with student prospects.
But, if your goal is to meet your enrollment numbers, you need to do a lot more than that in today’s competitive environment. You need to integrate your recruitment, outreach and admissions departments, so staff at every stage will be prepared to do their part to get your prospects enrolled.