Colleges and universities need to accurately manage large amounts of student, staff, and faculty information—from class schedules to tuition bills to paychecks—in order to ensure an A+ student experience and create a truly connected campus.
But schools can’t give themselves top marks when important data is stored in various formats across multiple applications and legacy systems, each of which is owned and used by a different department of the university. These cumbersome data silos and redundancies create lots of manual work, compromise data quality, and slow down adoption of new technologies and tools that could help students, staff, and faculty alike.
Higher education application integration can solve these problems by bringing together all of the information that students, staff, and faculty need to create a complete picture of all the data required to lead to student success. Over the course of 10 years working closely with colleges and universities, Jitterbit has figured out the best strategies for successfully bringing together all of the applications that contribute to a successful student experience.
Here are the seven strategies to create a connected campus and ensure student success using application and API integration:
Get your recruits in a row.
Recruiting is a key and expanding initiative for colleges and universities. As the number of recruitment channels continue to grow, both online and off, it’s more important than ever to integrate all of the systems being used for recruitment and track data about what works.
- Bring together data from multiple sources so that you can customize recruiting messages based on prospects’ declared interests—academic, athletic, artistic, regional, or otherwise.
- Make sure that the messages you send are consistent yet appropriately customized for different platforms: email, social media, the web and more.
- Create and track important milestones in the recruitment process, like college fairs and campus events, as well as communication campaigns.
- Build recruitment groups and track prospect conversations across social media properties.
- Keep track of what messages successfully convert recruits into applicants.
- Continue to enhance and improve your recruitment strategies based on what works.
Empower and acknowledge your applicants.
Students may consider dozens of different schools and apply to 10 or more. Taking the step to apply to a school represents a significant level of interest and commitment on the part of the applicant, who should be able to rely on having their application and acknowledged appropriately.
- Make sure application deadlines and requirements are clear and consistent.
- Help admission counselors coach students through application requirements as needed.
- Proactively reach out to students with incomplete applications.
- Have your systems ready to process large amounts of data when applications flood in.
- Acknowledge applications in a friendly and timely manner.
- Seamlessly process application fees or waivers and avoid miscommunications about payment.
- Never cross channels with the wrong messages once recruits change status to applicants.
- Get applications on track for thorough and timely review.
Accept the best, reject (or waitlist) the rest.
College admissions are becoming increasingly competitive, putting more schools in the position of having many qualified applicants. This requires a careful balance between accepting the right number of qualified students and understanding that not everyone who’s accepted will enroll.
- Get access to all the details that showcase applicants’ skills, from their application itself to verified test scores and any portfolio items or supplemental submissions.
- Get input on all aspects of the application from relevant stakeholders.
- Make the right admission decision.
- Communicate the decision in an appropriate and timely manner.
- Keep tabs on waitlisted students and ensure they receive a final decision if requested.
- Manage financial projections for the upcoming class.
Maintain momentum to motivate yield and enrollment.
Getting accepted is just the first step for prospective students. Schools must design a clear plan and process to move students from acceptance through committing to the school and completing all the tasks needed to enroll, like filling out forms and paying bills.
- Send targeted and well-timed yield communications.
- Connect admitted students, current students and alumni online and in person to encourage yield.
- Hold special events for admitted students and encourage campus visits.
- Offer compelling communications and clear instructions to students who decide to attend.
- Track outcomes of yield efforts and expand on those that are working well.
- Make the enrollment process as simple as possible so students can complete it.
Manage student success.
It’s a long journey from interest to application to enrollment. But once students matriculate, they begin a new journey toward graduation, and it’s more important than ever to gather the data they need to succeed. Here’s how you can keep tabs on student success with application integration.
- Ensure students enroll in appropriate courses each semester.
- Track student progress toward graduation.
- Give students the ability to gauge their own progress, especially compared with peers.
- Monitor coursework completion and intervene before students are at risk of failing a class.
- Connect students with academic support and counseling resources.
- Make it easy for professors to refer students for assistance.
- Engage students in non-academic activities for a well-rounded experience.
- Keep graduation rates high.
Read this case study to see how Barton Community College used Jitterbit to build one application for entire enrollment process, which created a consistent, connected campus experience regardless of device or location.
Find your students and alumni jobs.
The expectation for increasing earning potential is one of the major reasons that people go to college—on average, those who earn a bachelor’s degree earn nearly twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. But more and more students are graduating with large amounts of debt and poor career prospects. To sustain interest in their academic offerings, colleges need to connect alumni with compelling career opportunities.
- Start early—build a database of internship opportunities and encourage current students to explore them.
- Match students to career options that align with their course of study.
- Connect current students or young alumni with successful alumni for career shadowing or mentorship opportunities.
- Encourage successful alumni to hire current students and recent graduates for jobs and internships.
- Identify companies where your graduates succeed and invite them to campus for career fairs.
Keep students and alumni engaged.
Fundraising is a major undertaking for every college and university. Make your fundraising campaigns easier to execute and more effective by bringing together accurate data from different sources, enabling precise campaign targeting and tracking.
- Stay in touch with alumni after they graduate.
- Keep track of what alumni achieve.
- Identify promising fundraising opportunities.
- Diversify funding sources—create new donors and sustain existing ones.
- Formalize a recognition program to thank donors.
- Engage alumni and donors with events and other outreach beyond fundraising.
- Show donors how their gift is helping the school.
Integration makes a connected campus possible and is the heart of successful recruitment, enrollment, and postgraduate processes for colleges and universities.
Just as students need to take a variety of classes to become well-rounded, schools need to access a variety of data sources to serve students well. Without access to the right information at the right time, schools risk losing qualified prospects, seeing dropout rates rise, and failing to support their graduates. Being able to see the correct data in the appropriate system will help improve all types of initiatives across any school, improve student success, and prepare students for exciting careers beyond the classroom walls.
Download the syllabus and learn how connecting apps can help you:
- Automate processes and improve data quality.
- Recruit top prospects and increase yield.
- Improve intervention for student success.
- Engage alumni for career opportunities and fundraising.