Covid-19 is propelling Technology Adoption in Higher Ed

In mid-March, Ohio’s high school seniors had no idea they were attending their last day of school. Their spring break turned into a closure that has extended to at least the end of the school year. Truthfully, no one knows when schools will re-open or what it will look like when it does. 

About 3.7 million high school seniors are graduating and starting the transition to their future university. For the first time in history, they are doing so completely virtually.

Students and parents are grappling with how to (or even if they can) attend college in the fall. For the past 10 years, universities have seen plummeting student numbers, down from 21 million in 2010.. Now with Covid-19, universities are seeing enrollment for both summer and fall at lower levels still. Compounding the crippled financial state of the country, campus tours don’t have the same appeal online. 

Additionally, about 19.9 million students are anticipated to return to their colleges and universities in the fall. If that number begins to decline as anticipated, what can admissions and development offices do to put their best foot forward as the proverbial belt begins to tighten?

Online systems, workflow, and automation.

The Covid-19 era has been an exercise of “building the plane while you’re in the air” for all organizations.

In the past 8 weeks, we have worked with our clients as everything has been moved online. University events, advising, admissions, etc. have all been reformed at light speed to make the best of a bad situation. Specifically, to increase applicant volume, we have seen a wave of organizations looking to fast-track form submissions; contact-free.

As session resumes, tighter budgets may mean fewer staff members with the pressure remaining to create the same level of results. The schools that succeed through this period are the ones that can make the most of platforms that help teams make do with less.

“Even [with] things that we thought would never be done virtually like counseling or placement testing, we are being forced out of our comfort zone to provide that access,” said Megan Claycomb, Retention Project Manager at Cuyahoga Community College. “…Moving forward, we can keep those options for students who don’t have an easy way to get to campus.”

While the COVID-19 era maybe coming towards a conclusion, the pitfalls that it presented shine a light on the areas for growth inside our connectivity, or lack thereof. Admissions and Application CRMs are a key piece of that for universities to navigate through this time towards a digital future.

What does the digital future of education look like?

Beyond being a more organized system for tracking students through the application process, Automated notifications and reminder programs add up to 50% higher application completion rates. And in a world with increasingly shrinking student populations, higher application rates help your ship stay afloat.

And when representatives can’t pop around the cubicle to check with a co-worker on a student, an audit trail of communication allows seamless knowledge transfer. This better equips staff to manage online interactions.

Backend analytics and dashboards can help collegiate admissions to better understand both their application processes and their applicants. 

As the student pool potentially shrinks, it is critical for colleges to have the tools at their disposal not only to educate but service their students through admissions, financial aid, and counseling. 

“I’m trying to focus on the good that is coming out of this, which is being able to provide students with more flexibility and on-demand help.” 

For more information on Cuyahoga Community College and what they are doing for their students during this time, you can visit their website here.

How has your technology use changed to increase efficiency during Covid-19?

Chaz Stead

Chaz Stead

Marketing Manager at eResources

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