At Missouri State University Graduate College, GradCAS “Was the Solution That Met All Requirements”

David Art
Jul 19, 2021

Application volume and enrollment numbers have increased significantly since MSU joined the GradCAS community

Julie Masterson, Ph.D., Associate Provost and Dean of the Missouri State University Graduate College, was no stranger to Liaison’s Centralized Application Service (CAS) when she signed her institution up to be an early adopter of GradCAS in 2017. That’s because GradCAS — the CAS designed specifically for graduate programs with no national affinities or professional associations — has a lot in common with other Liaison CASs that Masterson had already used, such as CSDCAS for communication science & disorders programs, and CASPA for physician assistants.

This combination has yielded impressive results in the past year alone. Among all CASs used by Missouri State, applications are up 71% compared to the previous cycle, and enrollment is up 12%. The growth in enrollment was due to increases in graduate programs across campus that had unfilled capacity.

More than just an application

“I am thrilled,” Masterson said. “Our degree offerings in GradCAS carry the Missouri State brand, while at the same time allowing each individual graduate program to create messaging that builds widespread awareness of their strengths and unique benefits. With GradCAS, we can efficiently use admissions criteria and decision-making processes that fill seats with best-fit students. Finally, national-level data will help support our graduate enrollment management goals.”

Masterson said Missouri State uses Enrollment Marketing by Liaison in tandem with its CASs in order to implement more effective marketing campaigns.

“We can export data from a CAS into Enrollment Marketing by Liaison, and then use that powerful platform to create different types of messaging for different groups of students, using everything from email, to text, to voicemail messages. Then we’re able to track the results of those outreach efforts to gauge their effectiveness.”

Checking all the boxes

Masterson said there were three main reasons why she chose GradCAS:

  • Configurability, and specifically the ability to tailor applications to individual programs.
  • Affordability, as the CAS is available at no cost to the university.
  • Technical simplicity, as GradCAS requires minimal ongoing IT support.

“GradCAS was the solution that met all those requirements,” she said.

From the outset, Masterson was eager to use GradCAS to increase diversity in Missouri State’s graduate programs.

“We live in an area with very limited racial and ethnic diversity,” she explained. “It’s challenging to recruit students to come and stay here. We’ve really devoted a lot of university resources — time, effort and brainpower — into trying to do something about this, as it’s critical for all of our students to be exposed to diversity for an optimal education.

“This is where GradCAS and Enrollment Marketing by Liaison really help. They let us highlight the fact that we provide quality education at an affordable price. We can expand the reach of that message and spread the word that we offer a lot of options regarding delivery formats to increase access. With GradCAS, our admissions processes are working together — our recruiting is better, we’re in new markets and we have a better application process. We hope that increases applications from underrepresented students.”

Doing a better job

In addition, Masterson said familiarizing undergrads with GradCAS before they graduate also may draw more students to her institution’s programs.

“One of the things I really appreciate about Liaison’s CASs is that students aren’t starting with a blank piece of paper,” she said. “There are very specific questions to guide the students through the application process. I think we need to do a better job of introducing freshmen and sophomores to these applications so they know what’s going to be expected of them in a graduate school application and so they have plenty of time to prepare.”

If you’re interested in learning more about how GradCAS can make an immediate impact at your institution, connect with Managing Director Judy Chappelear today.

David Art

You may also enjoy

Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.