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From Fits & Starts to a One-Stop-Shop: Transforming TAMU’s Engineering Admissions

In the previous era of admissions at Texas A&M University’s (TAMU) College of Engineering, the application process was consumed by fits and starts.

First, the College of Engineering would need to wait until initial application data from the ApplyTexas online platform was translated for TAMU’s own admissions office. Then, the data was uploaded to the TAMU system, after which point each applicant received a student ID number. This multi-step process meant delays ranging from a few days to a full week before applicants would receive any kind of communication from TAMU’s admissions office — ultimately causing the ripple effect of delays in TAMU’s decision-making times on each applicant.

“One of the challenges we faced was that our graduate engineering advisors in each department did not have very much hands-on involvement regarding the pre-decision process in admissions. They had to wait to hear from the admissions office that all the applicant documents were received before they could ever make a decision or reach out to the applicant,” says Tandilyn Morrel, director of Graduate Programs for TAMU’s College of Engineering.

An additional problem, Tandilyn Morrel explains, related to “those prospective students who were interested but may not have completed an application.”

A one-stop-shop

“We were not able to access data from in-process applicants in order to reach out to recruit them or communicate with them. Applicants would have to apply fully, and then we had to wait for all the application data to be received and uploaded in our system before we could actually reach out,” she says, adding that TAMU was seeking a “one-stop-shop where we could have everything uploaded in one place.”

TAMU found its one-stop-shop through Liaison’s EngineeringCAS™, which brings admissions offices an improved way to recruit, admit and enroll best-fit engineering students while saving money and better allocating staff resources each admissions cycle.

EngineeringCAS is one of 40 application services that serve a particular education discipline; it was launched in partnership with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The cloud-based student admissions solution has helped over 31,000 programs on more than 1,000 campuses optimize their application and enrollment processes. All Centralized Application Services (CASs™) are available at no cost to participating programs.

As TAMU discovered during its first year using the platform, EngineeringCAS benefits all admissions stakeholders.

For applicants, it offers a single portal that streamlines their process for researching and applying to multiple programs of interest, offers a modern application experience that guides them through the process and provides 24/7 access to real-time application status updates.

For programs and institutions, EngineeringCAS drives awareness of engineering programs through a streamlined application process and communication tools that enable targeted, personalized communications to those interested in a program, decreases decision-making times by providing a processing team to scan transcripts and package application components as an extension of an admissions staff and provides insight into enrollment trends and performance on a campus through robust analytics and reporting tools.

“EngineeringCAS gave us one central location for applicants to do everything — a one-stop-shop,” says Tandilyn Morrel. “It helped us close the gap in the previous delay between students applying and getting any response from our admissions office. That really changed our pre-decision process. Our graduate advisors now have greater access to admissions documents pre-decision, and they’re able to play a more active role rather than waiting on the admissions office to gather this information. They are also now able to reach out to in-progress applicants. This has been a significant benefit to our advisors.”

Better branding

Catherine Roueche-Herdman, TAMU’s associate director of Admissions, says EngineeringCAS has given the University a newfound “opportunity for national exposure.”

“With ApplyTexas, no one is going to be applying unless they’re specifically interested in the schools that the platform serves. And ApplyTexas only works with Texas-based schools, so the increased exposure offered by Liaison was attractive,” she says.

EngineeringCAS also offers a “branding opportunity,” which was previously unavailable to TAMU, notes Tandilyn Morrel.

“We’re now able to use our own university logos and images in the application process, not only for the College but for each individual department,” she says. “So when each prospective applicant applies, they’re able to get more details for every department. It looks like they’re applying to Texas A&M University, instead of just completing a generic application.”

Freeing up resources

Although TAMU is still awaiting specific data points on application volume and other key metrics from its first admissions cycle with EngineeringCAS, Catherine Roueche-Herdman reports that the admissions staff “didn’t work much overtime this season” after previously enduring as many as 550 overtime hours during the prior season.

“It was a nice relief,” she says. “We used to come in over the winter break and spring break, arriving at 7 A.M. and leaving the office at 7 P.M. on some days. The shift to EngineeringCAS really did help free up more resources in the admissions office.”

Now equipped with EngineeringCAS, TAMU has set ambitious admissions goals moving forward — such as simultaneously boosting its bases of domestic and international students as part of a broader commitment to cultivating diversity. In Tandilyn Morrel’s estimation, Liaison’s commitment to high-level customer service has set the stage for achieving that big-picture vision.

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