Electronic Records & Automation Review

Capturing the Advantages of Automation

In the race toward paperless records, today’s colleges and universities struggle to manage growing pains along with evolving technology requirements. To remain agile, adaptable and responsive to students’ needs, institutions are embracing electronic data exchange solutions while automating their records processes. This transition often comes with significant challenges.

AACRAO Consulting’s in-depth Electronic Records and Automation Review helps you capture the advantages of automation and overcome its challenges. We’ll work with you to identify technology gaps as well as a clear path to fully electronic, automated record management processes. This in turn improves response times, student satisfaction and savings.

Your Path to Electronic Efficiencies

As part of your review, we’ll examine and assess your current processes for managing student records as well as requests for them. Based on our findings, we’ll help you develop and implement a plan for leveraging automated processes and electronic records to:

  • Acquire, store and maintain student records with greater efficiencies and accuracies
  • Eliminate the redundancies and inaccuracies associated with paper-based processes
  • Improve access to electronic records for students and campus constituents
  • Respond more quickly to record requests from students, employees, and other institutions
  • Simplify and improve the way you share and secure students’ records, including incoming and outgoing transcripts
  • Take advantage of technology like eTranscripts to save time and costs
  • Improve student services and satisfaction

Contact AACRAO Consulting today to schedule your Electronic Records and Automation Review and make your move to automated efficiencies.

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Virginia Tech

May 8, 2020, 12:56 PM
Location : Blacksburg, VA

With multiple campus locations across the state, Virginia Tech is a leading comprehensive, land-grant institution offering 110 bachelor’s degree programs through nine colleges. In 2017, a new vice provost for enrollment management identified salient issues within the admissions operation and wanted a neutral, outside expert to help assess and document the current state of the operation as well as provide a path for moving forward to address any needed changes. AACRAO Consulting was called in to assist Virginia Tech in this endeavor.

With multiple campus locations across the state, Virginia Tech is a leading comprehensive, land-grant institution offering 110 bachelor’s degree programs through nine colleges. In 2017, a new vice-provost for enrollment management identified salient issues within the admissions operation and wanted a neutral, outside expert to help assess and document the current state of the operation as well as provide a path for moving forward to address any needed changes. AACRAO Consulting was called in to assist Virginia Tech in this endeavor.

Up to this point, the admissions department at Virginia Tech had been operating in an isolated fashion, cut off not only from other critical functions of the university but also from itself. Staff within admissions were attempting to do their jobs with a lack of information and clarity, minimal access to concrete data to measure their effectiveness, inefficient processes, and outdated technology.

The new leadership knew that addressing these challenges would require a fresh perspective from an outside, neutral source with first-hand knowledge in admissions best practices. The university was also looking for an expert who could work quickly to assess the situation and provide actionable recommendations that would generate immediate results. That expert was AACRAO Consulting.

AACRAO Consultants conducted two on-site visits at Virginia Tech, during which they completed a full operational review of the admissions department. This included carefully evaluating documents, data, staff roles and structure, communications, technologies, processes and practices. During their on-site visits, AACRAO Consultants spoke with members of the admissions team to understand their perspectives on the challenges they faced as well as identify the sources of communication and process breakdowns.

Taking their findings into account, AACRAO Consulting developed and presented a report with detailed recommendations that ranged from basic improvements to more substantial institutional changes. The report also called out best practices, particularly for adopting and transitioning to more current technology to better support the admissions team in their work. AACRAO Consulting additionally addressed more sensitive issues around university culture and how culture, intentional or unconsciously, can impact an institution’s ability to reach a more diverse student population.

Virginia Tech implemented 100 percent of AACRAO Consulting’s recommendations, including the adoption of an updated CRM platform. Now the university leads the state in using the latest admissions technology to streamline student communications, track and leverage admissions data, and improve recruitment and yield efforts. The admissions team has also been able to unify a number of processes, eliminating redundancies and driving efficiencies.

The improvements they’ve implemented have helped close major gaps in the university’s admissions processes and expedite response rates for prospective and admitted students. Virginia Tech followed up their initial engagement with a second AACRAO Consulting collaboration to develop the university’s holistic admissions approach.

In 2019, Virginia Tech succeeded in putting all the recommended changes in place, and is now experiencing significant growth. In 2018, the university processed 32,000 applications — a record number. In 2019, they set out to achieve a 400-student increase over 2018 numbers for freshmen enrollments, and a 240-student increase for transfer students. In fact, the university exceeded its enrollment goal by nearly 1,000 students.

Thanks to the changes Virginia Tech implemented around diversity and culture in the admissions office and to the transformational changes to the admissions process, the university also saw a 27 percent increase in African-American students; a 49 percent increase in Hispanic and Latinx students; a 48 percent increase in first-generation students; a 60 percent increase in international students; and a 100 percent increase in veteran students. Newly admitted students now represent 49 different states and 64 countries, 34 of which are new to Virginia Tech.

 

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One of the big plusses of working with AACRAO Consulting is that their people have extensive experience in the field. They are seasoned professionals who have been in my shoes, and know how to work with culture and change in the real-world operation of an institution. They also understand the need for recommendations to be actionable. I appreciated their ability to dissect the situation, get right to the meat of the issue, and prioritize implementation. Their insight and guidance proved invaluable in helping us manage change. I couldn’t have asked for more empathic and professional consultants.

Luisa Havens Gerardo, PhD, Vice Provost, Enrollment Management, Virginia Tech University