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Digging Deeper: How Graduate Engineering Programs Mine Data for Better Enrollment Outcomes

“A very easy way to gather data.”

“There’s no playbook on how to handle a pandemic,” said Norman Fortenberry, Sc.D., Executive Director of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). “So now institutions are creating their own playbook. They’re asking ‘What can we do? What can we leverage?’ I would suggest looking more closely at the data that admissions offices either already have or really should have as they move forward. Yet less than one third of institutions actually use data proactively around their enrollment management decisions. In times like this, when engineering education is facing so much uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we get a clear picture of the admissions landscape through the eyes of data.”

In light of declining international enrollments, Dr. Fortenberry believes the most immediate solution is to find better ways of engaging domestic populations, especially women and underrepresented minorities.

EngineeringCAS™, Liaison’s Centralized Application Service (CAS™) for graduate engineering programs, serves that function by giving admissions offices an improved way to recruit, enroll and admit best-fit engineering students while saving money and better allocating staff resources each admissions cycle. EngineeringCAS is a data-rich global platform for driving applicant volume while providing an optimized applicant experience at no cost to participating programs, allowing you to focus on building better engineering classes.

The Texas A&M story

Texas A&M joined EngineeringCAS in the fall of 2019 after looking for an application platform that offered an enhanced experience to applicants.

“We wanted to be able to provide our admissions staff, grad advisors and faculty the data they needed to make quicker and more strategic admission decisions in order to meet our enrollment goals,” said Tandilyn Morrel, Director of Graduate Programs for Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering. “By joining EngineeringCAS — and by gaining access to Analytics by Liaison — we met those needs.”

Analytics by Liaison presents data visually in charts, tables and other formats which users can easily customize based on a variety of filters, including applicant demographics, residency, citizenship, application progress and academic history.

“Regardless of the time period you review or filters you use, Analytics gives you a granular overview of how your applicants may be changing over time,” Morrel said. “At Texas A&M, being able to drill down into each graduate program’s data has assisted us tremendously in evaluating whether our holistic admissions processes are working properly.”

In addition, she appreciates the ability to download reports in a number of different file formats and import them into presentations.

“It makes it easy for us to share important data with other departments and individuals across campus,” she said. “For example, we can see exactly which counties in Texas our applicants are coming from. That, in turn, allows us to streamline our recruiting resources and determine how to best use them in the future.”

Reaching out

Morrel also likes the fact that Analytics by Liaison allows her to reach out to specific applicants, such as those who have not completed an application, and communicate with them directly. Prior to joining to EngineeringCAS, she could not do that.

“We did not know who those applicants were. Now we can reach out to them directly, either to help them complete the application or to recruit them into the program,” she said.

“Analytics also provides a very easy way to gather data for jobs such as fulfilling state and national survey requests, compiling annual reports and assisting with analyses of outcomes. And it’s great for faculty because it allows them to quickly obtain important data about applicants, as well as data they need to apply for and retain grants.

“Prior to joining EngineeringCAS and using Analytics, we had to submit data requests to an accountability office on campus. It could take several weeks before we heard back, and the data we received was not always in the format we needed. Joining the CAS has been a real game changer for us. We are now able to instantaneously find data and provide it to others on campus who need it. Across the board, this has increased transparency and helped us make better decisions.”

In the short time Texas A&M has been in EngineeringCAS, Morrel has seen a 5% increase in completed applications.

“I can say with confidence that Texas A&M is very pleased with the results we have achieved by joining EngineeringCAS and using Analytics by Liaison to move forward in our admissions processes and to strategically build our admission cohort.”

This article was based on Liaison’s new on-demand webinar, The Future Has Spoken: Listening to the Data to Drive Forward-Looking Strategies. Watch it now to hear the rest of the conversation.

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