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Managing Success: New Admissions System Keeps Personal Touch
September 19, 2006, Volume 53, No. 4

Undergraduate Admissions and ISC are pleased to report that Penn’s highly successful admissions process is being updated with new procedures and powerful technologies which will help raise Penn’s renowned responsiveness to the next level. The planned changes, to be implemented over the next several years, will help Admissions staff manage an increasing volume of applications while facilitating what they do best: identifying and connecting with prospective students, and bringing together the best entering class each year for Penn.

Project Vision

Personalized outreach, superior customer service, streamlined processes, and access to “real-time” information will characterize the enhanced admissions process.

Personalized outreach. A new, personalized, self-service gateway will help Admissions staff build relationships and cultivate student interest in Penn. It will aid in identifying the specific academic and extracurricular pursuits that engage and inspire each individual student, connecting prospective applicants to resources at Penn based upon their particular interests.

Superior customer service. For prospective students, the gateway will provide timely, targeted information about Penn programs and the admissions process. Prospective students will be able to receive calendar reminders and informative guidance, as well as status updates on receipt of application components, from essays to recommendations to test scores.

Streamlined processes. To meet the heightened demands placed upon the Admissions Office by an ever-increasing applicant pool, the technical enhancements will foster gains in productivity by enabling faster gathering and processing of student information. Automated tools will be provided for managing communications with targeted groups, and the Admissions Office will be able to manage contacts and scheduling for recruitment travel and live events with greater flexibility and ease.

Real-time information. The Undergraduate Admissions Office will have access to the critical, up-to-the-minute workflow and statistical information needed during periods of peak activity in the admissions cycle, and admissions officers will have easy access to information related to demographics of prospective students. Undergraduate Admissions will also have the ability to provide timely communications to Schools and Centers.

Benefits to Penn

As the first point of contact for tens of thousands of prospective students and their parents each year, Undergraduate Admissions plays a critical role in supporting and enhancing Penn’s image and reputation. The new system will move Penn’s programmatic richness to the fore and make it easier to showcase Penn’s many strengths and multidisciplinary offerings. Analytical and communications tools will make it easier to promote the University among under-represented populations nationally and internationally. The self-service features will free Admissions staff from tasks prospective students can do themselves and allow the staff to spend more time on outreach. And last but not least, the University that spawned ENIAC and has an enviable number of automated processes for matriculated students will be able to present a technologically sophisticated, yet “warm and friendly” face to a tech-savvy generation of high-school students.

Next Steps

The first system releasea set of tools for gathering data about prospective studentswill be available to Admissions Office staff later this fall. For more information about the project, please send email to the program managers: Margaret Porigow (margaret@admissions.upenn.edu) or Louise Crosby (lcrosby@isc.upenn.edu).  And look for periodic updates in future issues of Almanac.

—Lee Stetson, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

—Robin Beck, Vice President, Information Systems and Computing


Almanac - September 19, 2006, Volume 53, No. 4