Strong collaboration between IT and Admissions maintains a university’s rigorous application process in a new format

One of the world’s preeminent public universities, the University of Washington receives more than 30,000 applications for admission every year.

Eliminating Paper Processes

The University of Washington received a record number of applications for the class of 2015 — a 16% increase over the previous year. While the vast majority of students apply online, the University’s application review process was built on a manual, paper-based process that required printing all applications and supporting documents, storing them in filing cabinets and executing the review process through annotations on the applications.

The University was proud of the rigor this process created, which allowed them to build the best possible class, but it was time to modernize and reduce manual activities to create a more efficient, transparent workflow for admissions staff.

Not only was the review process time consuming, it did not give Admissions leadership the ability to analyze data in real-time to get a better picture of the year’s class. It also did not offer much flexibility in the way work was scheduled and prioritized.

Proven Support & Expertise 
For assistance, the Office of Admissions turned to West Monroe Partners, which previously helped with streamlining the University’s processes for communicating with prospective students. In particular, West Monroe’s deep CRM knowledge and capabilities for developing customized solutions, as well as its focus on process improvement, provided a strong fit for the university’s needs and goals. The University’s director of admissions and director of student information systems worked with West Monroe to identify key business needs and create a customized electronic system based on Ellucian Recruiter and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, supported by reviewer forms, electronic workflows and reporting dashboards. The system includes a number of key pieces of functionality, such as:
  • Routing flags and review panel to enable collaboration between staff
  • Supplemental items grid to identify supporting documents that have or have not been received
  • Course grid to display which courses the applicant has registered for or completed

The team took a meticulous approach to quality control and user acceptance testing, covering the entire admissions journey, and ensured the successful deployment of the system into the production environment. The result is a streamlined review solution that boosts flexibility and productivity.

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