Yes, Virginia, There is a Centralized Application Service for Graduate Schools

Dec 7, 2022

As we approach the holiday season, we are often reminded of the famous sentence ‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,’ from the editorial by Francis P. Church in The Sun (NYC) on September 21, 1897, in response to a letter from eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wondering if Santa Clause was real. Even as adults, we’re often surprised by what we learn; I want to share something I didn’t realize until about a year ago—there is a centralized application service for graduate schools. And, it’s working to help a wide range of students find their best-fit school.

Centralized Application Services – A great opportunity for undergraduate admissions

Undoubtedly, centralized applications have been a huge success for undergraduate admissions on several fronts. There are several companies that work with undergraduate institutions to drive applications. The benefit for the institution is that using a centralized application service simplifies the application process, increasing the number of complete and actionable applications. Further, the college or university has exposure and access to many more students, enabling them to broaden their applicant pools and increase the likelihood they can achieve their enrollment goals, especially those focused on access and diversity. Students have greater access to a broader range of institutions. Additionally, the single application makes it much easier for them to assemble the necessary components, increasing the likelihood of completion and helping them find their right-fit school.

My almost 20 years of higher education enrollment leadership were all focused on undergraduate enrollment from first contact to graduation. I understood little about the graduate school admissions process beyond knowing that admission decisions are made by academic departments and faculty. Because of this very decentralized admission decision process, I must admit I thought that each institution would have its own applications, often very specific to its graduate programs. My perception was that graduate admissions weren’t very efficient.

A better way to manage graduate applications

A little over a year ago, I discovered that graduate schools could increase efficiency in the application process, while also attracting a larger and more diverse pool of applicants. Liaison’s Centralized Application Service (CAS) started over 30 years ago with just a few professional medical graduate programs and since has expanded to provide application services for over 31,000 programs on over 1,000 campuses.

Already, in this current admissions cycle, Liaison has processed over 100,000 applications from prospective graduate students on the CAS platform! Institutions can reach a broader pool of prospective graduate students, and CAS simplifies the application process for students, increases the efficiency of application processing, and provides actionable insights based on data. And just like centralized application services broaden students’ exposure to undergraduate schools, CAS gives prospective graduate students exposure to many more graduate opportunities which increases the likelihood they will find their best-fit program. Beyond Grad CAS, which can be used for any graduate program, Liaison provides Business CAS and Engineering CAS, enabling institutions to target students interested in high-demand programs even more.

So, just like Francis Church assuaged little Virginia O’Hanlon’s concerns about whether there was a Santa Claus, I hope my sharing that ‘yes, there is a centralized application service for graduate programs’ has assuaged your concerns about whether you can reach your graduate enrollment goals and optimize your resources.

Want to learn more? Contact me at

Speaker Lucier Chris
Chris Lucier
Associate Vice President for Strategic Management & Analytics
Liaison International

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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.