Before Howard University joined Liaison’s Centralized Application Service (CAS™) communities, some programs within the University had their own applications and others used an online platform to supplement primary application forms, recalls Kyron Carter, manager of enrollment analytics. Still others used paper applications.
The manual labor created a protracted process. The admissions office would give faculty members in each department spreadsheets listing all applicants. From there, faculty would review the materials and decide to admit or reject each student.
Adding insult to injury, the disjointed and protracted process carried a hefty price tag: $50,000 annually for the online platform.
While attending the member conference of the Common App, one of Howard’s employees met Liaison’s staff and discovered that Liaison’s CAS solution is available to academic institutions at no cost. The rest is history.
CAS™: A customized platform driven by responsive customer service
As the University prepared for their contract with their previous technology vendor to come up for renewal, Kyron and other staff members performed their due diligence on Liaison’s GradCAS™, BusinessCAS™ and EngineeringCAS™ solutions for respective programs in those fields. As a school that already accepts the Common App — a Liaison partner — “it made sense to have everything under one umbrella,” says Carter.
Howard proceeded to transition to the CASs, at which point Liaison’s account manager guided the school’s staff through the platform. Howard was live on the CASs within six weeks of being able to log into the platform.
“We really liked that Liaison did an onsite training,” Carter says. “Faculty members often feel that we get new software and other products without consulting them, and that we don’t let them know what direction we’re going in. This time, we were able to show them the product, and they we able to get any questions they had answered.”
Carter adds that with the school’s previous technology vendors, “When you’d say, ‘I don’t really like the way this works’ and they’d respond, ‘We’ll look into it,’ they wouldn’t do anything about it. Liaison takes feedback and by the next version or update, they implement it.” For instance, when Howard’s staff identified a “designation overload” problem — that different designations needed to be used for domestic and international students — Liaison addressed that issue within the CAS quickly.
CAS has pleased applicants and staff alike at Howard. Students “don’t have to complete a new application every time” they apply to a different program, while faculty now use the far more efficient WebAdMIT™, the CAS administrative backend, and have “no need to wait for the admissions staff to publish a new spreadsheet every time,” according to Carter.
A streamlined, integrated process
While Howard previously segmented admissions staffers into program reviewers who made recommendations on each applicant and program administrators who changed the actual statuses on applications, Carter says using CAS creates a “more streamlined” process.
“Instead of just having anyone go and make a decision, we designate everyone who works underneath a director as a reviewer, and the director is the only one who can go in and make a decision,” he says. “We know that the director of that program was the last one who viewed the application and the person who actually made the decision.”
Although specific figures aren’t yet available, Carter confirms that Howard experienced an increase in application volume during its first admissions cycle with CAS “because everything is integrated now. It’s centralized, so we can actually keep an accurate count of the number of applications that are being submitted.”
He also notes that Howard now has a “clearer path” from acceptance to enrollment.
“It’s easier for students to apply, and once they’re admitted, to pay the enrollment fee. Then they’re enrolled for that semester,” Carter says.