This spring, high school juniors are receiving information from dozens of different colleges across the country. These universities, fresh off seeing the latest SAT/ACT scores, are casting a wider net than ever before, trying to attract the best and the brightest. Maybe you can remember what that rush felt like as you ran out to the mailbox and collected another five or six packages in the post. Maybe you’d come inside, spread them on the kitchen table, and pour over them in detail. That’s a fun experience a person remembers, whether it’s one year later or 31.
The above scenario is imagined from a prospective student’s perspective. Now, let’s imagine instead that we are a university employee working in the admissions department. As someone who’s part of a team whose job it is to actually cast that aforementioned net, we are faced with writing and mailing letters to perhaps thousands of students in widespread cities. We are also tasked with coordinating applications, acquiring transcripts, performing transfer student credit evaluations, filing financial aid apps and associated paperwork, and… that’s just Tuesday!
Admissions is just one of many departments on a college campus where it’s not irregular to be awash in paper. The adoption and use of an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) alternative is a wonderfully convenient way to harness all that information and use it in ways that are both educational and impactful.
Imagine being able to…
- 1) Convert all those paper forms into electronic documents
- 2) Easily access saved documents from any device
- 3) Share appropriate information with other departments with just a few keystrokes
- 4) Ensure adherence to compliance
- 5) Lower the risk of lost documents
- 6) Free up physical storage space
- 7) Free up your employees to spend time on more high-value tasks
ECM implementation allows you to do all of that, and more!
Knowledge is a valuable thing; no one knows that more than those who work in higher education. It is also the greatest gift to give to others. I can remember being a student at the University of Virginia. What a beautiful place. I remember that sense of profundity when a lesson or idea would really resonate. When I knew in my soul that something I was learning had real value. I’ve been lucky to find that same feeling in my work.
Use cases can include:
- Enrollment Management Solutions
- Admissions Processing
- Graduate Admissions Processing
- Financial Aid Processing
- Transcript Data and Transfer Credit Evaluation
- Registrar Forms Processing
- Student Advising
- Student Onboarding
- Donor Relations
- Donor File Management
- Gift Contract Management
- Gift Processing
- Academic Affairs
- Curriculum Review
- Faculty Onboarding
- Tenure Review
- Student Billing
That list is meant to be exhaustive. The amount of “administration” that needs to be done on a college campus has ballooned as the student population has grown. Today, an undergraduate degree is as common as a high school diploma was 35 years ago. Enrollment numbers are growing, and with them come explosions in all of those areas mentioned above. To be eminently successful, universities today need to approach all these areas in an efficient, business-like manner.
There are a number of immediate benefits to implementing an ECM solution on university campuses. Doing so not only provides quicker access to student records, but it reduces the time needed to respond to student requests for information; it ensures easy adherence to compliance requirements; it makes certain that vital information is never lost to disasters; and it also frees up valuable physical space.
If a prospective college student were looking to study communications but noticed that all of a department’s teachers used flip phones, it might set off internal alarm bells. If an overhead projector were the highest-end technology, it might color the way that student saw the university’s “readiness” to be a part of the 21st century. Millennials expect the world to operate at least as quickly as they do. It’s not fantasy to say that a university’s ability to quickly respond to student requests might very well affect its ability to attract and retain those students.
As I recall, when I studied at Virginia, the majors a student selected were fairly general. A student could major in English, History, Biology, Business, etc. Today, the choices are not only much greater but much more specific. One might choose Environmental Chemistry, Public Policy, Southern Studies, Media Policy and Ethics, and even Spanish Linguistics and Philology. Suffice it to say, things change with time.
Enterprise Content Management at the university level just makes sense. The magic of a real education is that it never really ends. We are constantly learning and constantly shifting in our outlooks, our procedures, even, on occasion, our beliefs. It is my belief that ECM is a technology that will be ubiquitous sooner than many people imagine. The market is showing the way. The American university system has always been a sentinel of sorts, leading the way into the future. Graduating today to what will be inevitable tomorrow is just plain smart.