Treating applicants ‘the way we all want to be treated’

Treating applicants ‘the way we all want to be treated’When the number of applications at St. John’s University steadily increased by 32,000, IT staff responded by streamlining the review process with our document management software, Banner® Document Management, and workflow management software, Banner Workflow.

“I seriously doubt we could have handled the increased volume if we were not using imaging and workflow,” said Beth Evans, vice president of enrollment management. “The solutions enabled us to handle the increase without increasing clerical staff and to continue to provide great customer service. Even though our freshman students were one of 53,000 applicants, they didn’t feel like they were part of a big number. They felt like they were being reviewed promptly and getting good service.”

All documents are processed the day they are received. The university has outsourced management of all incoming mail, document preparation, data entry and document scanning procedures. The electronic images and files are then returned to St. John’s for loading to Banner Document Management and for workflow processing.  From there, workflows automatically route applications and associated documents to the appropriate people for review and decision making. The institution created very detailed workflows for different student populations such as new students, transfers, and re-admits. The workflows make sure that the right application goes to the right counselor. For example, a pharmacy student application is routed to the pharmacy counselor.

The process improvements have made it possible for the university to process applications much quicker. Today, the university processes an application in as little as two days from the time it is received. In the past, it took up to two weeks during peak times. The faster turnaround makes it possible for the university to send its acceptance letters before Christmas – almost a month earlier – rather than mid-January as it did in the past. The speedier process is helping the university be more competitive.

“We have lot of competition and we feel that those first acceptances impact students the most and mean the most to them,” said Woods. “Also, those students went to the trouble of getting us information on time, and we want to reciprocate. By getting our acceptance letters out earlier, we are not missing any good students.”

In addition, Banner Workflow is providing the admissions department with statistics throughout the enrollment process that they never had before. For example, staff can see how long the decision process takes for a student once he or she receives an acceptance letter.

“The addition of workflow gives us better data around each application. And more data translates to better service,” said Joseph Tufano, vice president of information technology & CIO. “As a result, we have a much more professional process that allows us to treat applicants the way we all want to be treated.”

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