Since October 2014, Our Lady of the Lake's Department of Communication Disorder program has achieved a 13% increase in applications, reduced application review time by 75%, and attracted higher quality applicants with a broader/more national reach.
With no dedicated admissions department of its own, the department relied on one university admissions processor—who was also managing applications for other graduate departments—to process their nearly 300 applications, answer applicant questions, calculate applicant GPAs, and create paper folders to deliver to their faculty reviewers. Because the admissions department needed at least two weeks after the application deadline to continue processing paperwork, receiving transcripts, and creating folders for each applicant, faculty reviewers were receiving applications weeks after the February 1 deadline, leaving them only one week to review between 60 and 75 applications each before sending interview invitations.
During the intensive review process, reviewers were finding that about 10% of the GPAs had been miscalculated by the overburdened admissions department, and they spent a lot of time they could have devoted to other tasks recalculating the GPAs to ensure that they were correct. “Errors in GPA calculation could affect an applicant’s future—whether or not they were admitted to the program—and that is unacceptable,” noted Dr. Carmichael.
After applicant interviews were complete, the department’s administrative assistant processed the applicant reviews in a spreadsheet, ranking each applicant by GPA, last 60 credit hours, GRE scores, GRE writing scores, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. The reliance on manual processes resulted in lost information, human error in GPA calculations, and inefficiencies in the sending of interview invitations and acceptance letters, recalled Dr. Carmichael.