A Seamless Approach to University Admissions with Unified Communications and Collaboration

3 min read

September 18, 2023

Over the past few years, higher education has undergone a seismic shift. As universities and colleges faced remote classes, lower levels of enrollment, and reductions in funding, they had to navigate digital transformation for online learning and admissions quickly.

Despite the rapid implementation of remote education technology, educational institutions have a long way to go before their digital transformation is complete. Sixty-nine percent of institutions identified digital adoption as a critical challenge in 2022, up from 50% in 2021.

Digitizing admissions is critical to attract new students, whose first encounter will likely be online. Universities and colleges must provide engaging experiences for prospective students before applying.

Today’s applicants have especially high standards: they want a personalized, high-value education on their terms. To meet student expectations and keep up with digital transformation, universities and colleges use unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions for everything from pre-admissions interviews to course registration.

Emerging Trends in Admissions

Today’s prospective students are no longer filling out paper applications or emailing personal essays. The admissions process is more sophisticated than ever, using digital tools to keep up with evolving student expectations and technology.

Student Experience is the new Customer Experience

Incoming university students are digital natives and want their admissions process to be as seamless, personal, and convenient as it is for the rest of their lives. In fact, 96% of students believe a high-quality digital experience is essential to their satisfaction with their university.

That’s why it benefits universities to make the student experience more like a customer experience. Applicants expect to be able to interact via any channel (call, WhatsApp, email, video) or device they want, making submitting essays and meeting with admissions officers as simple as opening an app on their phone.

Students who don’t feel like they’re developing a meaningful relationship with an institution will simply “ghost” – that is, disappear – after a few initial interactions. Personalizing their experience and following up is critical to securing their application.

Colleges Are Catching Up to Digital Transformation

The digital campus isn’t just for online classes. Technology is the new way of university life, making the admissions process much easier for administrators and students.

Many institutions still need to run on legacy administrative systems, meaning student data, application material, and contact information are potentially stored and accessed through different apps, causing inefficiencies in the admissions process. Others are working to integrate their tech stacks to make the digital experience as streamlined as possible. Just five percent of higher education leaders have digitized at least half of their day-to-day operations, lagging well behind other industries.

AI Is the New Admissions Assistant

Gone are the days when admissions officers could review every application they received. With tens or even hundreds of thousands of applications yearly, administrators rely on AI to automate recruitment.

AI can handle the initial steps of the admissions journey, analyzing student data and reading essays (even identifying ones written by other AI) before sending the top applications to human officers. It can suggest talking points to make interviews more personalized and engaging.

The admissions process can be a nerve-wracking experience, but AI can make it less stressful. For example, suppose a student has questions about the status of their application. In that case, they can log on to a student portal or talk to a chatbot, setting the stage for a stronger student-university connection.

By embracing digital tools and unified communications solutions, institutions can enhance every part of the admissions journey, from evaluating applications to conducting interviews and sending acceptance packages.

6 Ways to Improve the Admissions Process with Unified Communications

Unified communications and collaboration solutions give universities a platform for seamless student experiences. With UCC, the application process is:

1. More efficient

AI automation processes high volumes of applications in a fraction of the time it would take a human to read them so admissions officers can focus on making critical acceptance decisions.

2. More Personalized

A unified, integrated system keeps student data in a consolidated platform so administrators can easily access application information and tailor the admissions experience to each applicant.

3. More Engaging

Admissions officers can recapture students who have “ghosted” by following up with relevant information and customized application reminders.

4. More Immediate

Virtual AI assistants are available 24/7 to help students answer late-night questions about their applications or schedule interviews at their convenience.

5. More Accessible

Admissions officers can host remote interviews from across the country and even overseas, meaning they can make those all-important personal connections with students, giving prospective students insight into university life without needing to travel to campus.

6. More Productive

During a video interview, the admissions officer can keep the student’s information at their fingertips. Using key points highlighted by AI, they can ask insightful questions, and then, at the end of the call, AI can summarize the conversation and save it with the rest of the application.

Improving the admissions process with Unified Communications and Collaboration

Unified communications and collaboration technology facilitate teamwork among admissions staff and faculty members, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding the recruitment process. Document sharing, team chats, and video calls make it easy for administrators to make group decisions on applications.

UC automation handles basic tasks like booking interviews and sending appointment reminders. After a call, AI can send a follow-up message to the interviewee to keep them engaged.

Mitel’s higher education UCC solutions can improve every step of the recruitment process. Contact us to learn how to make unified communications a part of your admissions journey.

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