Less Paper, More Data, Better Work: How Postbac Programs Rise to the Admissions Marketing Challenge

Applicants to post-baccalaureate programs are looking for an opportunity to enhance their academic credentials in order to continue pursuing a career in health care or medicine.

To attract the best of those students — and to help transform departmental operations at their institutions — today’s postbac admissions professionals need to improve their own outlook as well. How? By embracing pioneering new marketing strategies that lead to better results through less work.

Just ask those who are already doing it. Cassidy Chambers, assistant director of admissions at Rocky Vista University, and Courtney Klipp, health professions advisor at Loyola Marymount University, recently participated in a Liaison webinar to talk about the improvements they made to recruitment and marketing initiatives at their programs. They spoke about what needed to change, how they implemented change and the benefits that followed.

Identifying Problems

“When I took over our Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, we were still managing paper files,” Chambers said. “That was not going to work. Everything was done in house and it just took a lot of staff time, whether it was tracking documents by hand or contacting applicants when things were missing. I was also working to standardize GPAs for all of our applicants before the faculty review. It was hours and hours of work, and we knew that was not sustainable. That’s why we started looking for some kind of application service to help us.”

Chambers and her colleagues at Rocky Vista discovered that PostBacCASTM — Liaison’s Centralized Application Service (CAS™) for postbac programs — was a natural fit.

Klipp and her peers arrived at a similar conclusion after looking for ways to improve the recruiting and application experience at Loyola Marymount.

“Our preprocess was not great,” Klipp says. “We were using a survey program, not an admissions program. On more than one occasion, we decided to open up applications again for late applicants, and we actually lost applications. This was a complete deal breaker for me. That’s just not acceptable.

“In addition to that, we were also using a paper system,” Klipp continues. “That’s obviously very cumbersome. Our admin was spending hours putting all the details in an Excel document. We also had some issues with our mail system. Transcripts and letters of recommendations weren’t always going to the right office because the people who were looking at applications were in different buildings. It always seemed to be the case that if I was looking for a file, it was in someone else’s office, which is three buildings over. And we faced challenges calculating GPAs, too.”

Convinced they needed something else, Loyola Marymount also implemented PostBacCAS.

A New (Better) Way to Do Things

“I’m happy to say all of those issues are resolved now,” Klipp adds. “We estimate that implementing PostBacCAS saved our admin about 90 hours of work. In addition, one of my favorite features is that the system automatically provides multiple GPA calculations. There are BCPMs [biology, chemistry, physics and math grades], cumulative GPAs across multiple schools, GPAs for non-science courses, graduate work and postbac work. It’s just amazing that I can see all of that in one place. PostBacCAS has made this application season so much better.”

Chambers shares Klipp’s enthusiasm for PostBacCAS. She also points out that it has helped attract a more diverse pool of applicants to Rocky Vista: “We’ve definitely seen a greater diversity in the kinds of applicants we’re getting,” she says. “We’re starting to see more applicants from all over the place. Even if they’re not looking for Rocky Vista specifically, when people see us on the PostBacCAS website they can dig in for more information and decide we might be a good fit. That’s been great to see. PostBacCAS been very easy to use and has freed up a lot of time. It’s just been a great transition for us overall.”

To learn more about how you can use PostBacCAS to make your program more relevant and successful, watch Liaison’s on-demand webinar Two Program Directors’ Reflections on PostBacCAS.

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