College admission processes are slow and labor intensive. Almost all US colleges and universities require applicants to go through an extensive admissions process that involves submission of an application along with supporting documents, which need to be reviewed by several staff members who are looking for both completeness and accuracy.
The application journey
Once the file is processed by the admissions committee, the applicant’s file is routed to the academic staff. The process then concludes with a final review from the Dean that leads to either acceptance or rejection, requiring colleges to notify the applicant.
There is a massive volume of documents being handled; one single university reported 16,500 students applying for degree programs, generating approximately 475,000 pages of supporting documents including transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation. Matching and managing these documents can consume at least 50% of the staff effort.
This issue is even more pressing in case of applications from international students. According to a report published by Institute of International Education, 676,484 international candidates applied for admission in the US in 2015 alone. It contributed to an increase by 2% over fall 2014, marking the tenth consecutive year of growth in foreign student application volumes.
It starts with the student
For students applying to multiple programs at the same university, files either need to be photocopied or requested for obtaining multiple copies of the applicant’s transcript. In addition, these files may commonly be lost or misplaced as they make their way through the admissions process.
A few colleges and universities are moving away from handling paper documentation by switching to electronic files on a secure and private cloud infrastructure. This has significantly improved workforce efficiency, resource allocation and cost savings by reducing paper and ink costs. Processing digital documents has also resulted in enhanced security by improving the ability for multiple reviewers to concurrently find and process documents.
The improved security and reliability of a cloud system is critical in any university that relies on the authenticity of documents and that handles sensitive information. To reduce any issues with these documents, universities are now asking students to fax their documents instead of mailing paper applications in order to prevent misplacement. Student’s personal information, such as those contained within applications, can be securely sent between all parties, reducing a risk of third party interception.
This new approach also benefits students by expediting the whole process since documents can be sent out more quickly by fax than snail mail. It also provides students, who are vying for a spot in a popular school, with a quicker access to the progress being made in their application review. Cloud fax makes it possible for the admissions staff to efficiently digitize original transcript documentation, assuring them of the authenticity of the document.
It ends (hopefully) with an approval
Cloud fax operates on a very simple premise that prevents third parties from breaching the data. The applicants can transmit an authentic image of an original document to the admissions office without any real possibility of interception. Once the transfer is complete, the applicant gets a confirmation receipt and the fax is converted into searchable text by an OCR process that permits computer based searching of the faxed document. For each applicant, an internal secure code is assigned to all documents received by fax, and the documents are reviewed electronically without ever leaving the secure cloud database. A secure SMS can be sent by the admissions department to notify the reviewers of the secure code of the files ready for review and a response by SMS can indicate that the review has been completed. Retarus enterprise messaging solutions ensure that these documents are processed timely and securely.
Retarus is a certified global provider of critical cloud-based messaging; including Cloud Fax, SMS, and E-Mail. For 20+ years, Retarus has provided global organizations with greater reliability, security, flexibility and innovation when it comes to communication services. Our enterprise-class critical messaging portfolio provides organizations with the tools to collaborate and communicate at a lower cost and with greater levels of transparency. Retarus helps organizations reduce complex IT infrastructure, lower costs, and provide a higher level of service for internal and external communications.