In this webinar, Murali Krishna, Director of Sales Operations, LeadSquared, will discuss ways to makes your admission process online.

Key takeaways:

  • How to make your application process seamless & paperless.
  • How to check & improve the productivity of your admission reps while working from home.
  • An easy way to centralize student communication & engagement via emails, texts, calls.
  • How to automate your enrollment marketing campaigns.

Prevailing admission process challenges

The Covid-19 pandemic compelled educational institutions to automate their admission process and go digital. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. The following are the prevailing admission challenges.

  1. In most schools and colleges, the application process is completely offline. Even if it is online, it is not fully digital. For instance, schools/colleges/universities cannot collect fees online, communicate with students in real-time, and more.
  2. The second challenge is to manage the applications. Usually, admission counselors talk to the applicants for the next steps of the admission process, such as financial aid discussion, personal interview, and more. However, the counselors don’t have the tools to simplify their tasks, such as updating information, follow-up reminders, and more.
  3. Another big challenge is effective communication with students. In general, colleges don’t maintain a record of incoming/outgoing emails or any other communication. So, there is no track of the content/messaging, time, channel, etc.  

These gaps in the admission process result in a poor student experience. If you see, these factors also become a reason for low inquiry-to-admission rates.

How can online application systems help?

Fortunately, you can streamline your online application process with the help of LeadSquared Admission CRM software. It can track and manage student inquiries from the time of first interaction to final enrollment and beyond. Thus, it can help your counselors to engage with prospective students better. The following are the key benefits.

  • Self-serve online applicant portals for students
  • Marketing automation to engage with students over several channels, such as email, SMS, WhatsApp, and phone calls.
  • Track interactions, analyze sources of inquiries and optimize your admission campaigns
  • Track the performance of student counselors
  • Reduce errors, which were common in the manual paper-based application process
  • Help students in real-time while filling the online application
higher education admission growth ebook

A step-by-step guide to shifting your admission process online

The student journey begins even before the student applies for admission to your institution. It is the lead capture phase. Providing a better student experience from the very beginning will result in higher admission rates.

Let us look at the stages of online admission and how to deliver a better digital experience for more enrollment.

1. Pre-application process (marketing and capturing student inquiries)

When a student plans for higher education, he will refer to many websites and online resources for the best institution. These websites also serve as a channel between students and institutions. Also, you must be investing in marketing campaigns, advertisements, and social media channels to interact with prospective students, and you must be getting inquiries from all these channels.

Now that there are several such websites/portals, you need a system to capture inquiries from all these sources.

LeadSquared can help you with that. The Admission CRM captures leads from several sources and passes them to the counselor. You can also create automated workflows for:

  • Lead scoring: assign scores to student inquiries based on lead source, eligibility, and intent to take admission
  • Lead prioritization: based on lead score, prioritize communications with the prospective students
  • Engaging with student leads: engage with student leads via email, SMS, webchat, follow-up phone calls, etc.
  • Lead distribution: assign leads to counselors across multiple campuses, specializations, etc.
Simplifying Applicant Admissions and Distribution with Automation

2. The online student application process

At this stage, the student is ready to fill in the application form. But, there are several stages in the application process, such as filling the application form, submitting documents, paying fees/applying for financial aid, and appearing for personal interviews.

The application process may vary from college to college, and that is why while shifting your admission process online, you will have to ensure that the system is customizable to your needs.  

LeadSquared’s paperless applicant portal lets you build a robust automated enrollment process, where you can easily configure applicant details, documents, payments, e-signature, and more.

Benefits of online/paperless application portal

  1. Form autofill: Autofill fields such as city, state based on the zip code to save time and reduce errors.
  2. Resume application: When a student drops-off without completing the application, the portal allows them to resume the application from the point they left, instead of filling the application form all over again.
  3. Nudge students to complete their application: You can also send automated reminders to students who did not finish their application.  
  4. It lets students submit documents digitally.
  5. Check the application status: Students do not have to visit the campus often to check their application status. Also, you can send notifications/emails to the shortlisted students.
  6. Pay fees online: The applicant portal supports several payment methods and also provides the facility to pay the fees in installments.

3. Nurturing and student engagement

To secure their education, students apply at several institutions simultaneously. That is why, to attract the best talents, you must engage with the leads and nurture them accordingly. The marketing automation suite can help you engage with prospective students through the channel of their choice.

LeadSquared marketing automation suite can help you monitor campaigns, track the channel performance, build action-ready reports, and more. For instance, you can see how many people open your emails, how many clicks on links, the time of their activity, unsubscribes, etc. All these can help you improve your campaigns and drive better results.

[Also read: Student engagement strategies.]

Another great way to engage with students is to progress them into the application flow. Let’s say you have got a student inquiry about the courses you offer. So, you can create automation workflows to respond to such inquiries via email or SMS and send them a link to download the brochure. If they download the brochure, you can then send a communication to apply for specific courses on your applicant portal, where they can check eligibility, submit documents, and apply for financial aid.

Also, nurture leads to encourage them to enroll in your courses. For example, if a student has enquired about your institution but never applied – how will you make sure that he finishes the application? The answer is – lead nurturing. You have to send relevant communications and updates so that the students remain interested in your institution and apply soon. You can send them campus tours, open house or cultural fest invites, counseling sessions, and so on. Also, you can schedule nurturing campaigns in the LeadSquared admission platform.

Omni-channel communication - admissions CRM

Online admission process in LeadSquared Higher Education CRM

LeadSquared student admission portal solution lets you manage your complete admission process effortlessly. With the help of this solution, you can:

  1. Create custom landing pages to capture student inquiries. Landing pages act as the entry point for any student who wants to take admission into your school/college/university.
  2. Storing the information that students provide in the CRM software, viz. name, address, phone number, email id, course interested, etc. 
  3. The system considers every inquiry as a lead and records each interaction, such as brochure downloaded, email opened, link clicked, and more, along with the time stamp.
  4. Depending on your strategy, you can configure the system to allow students to apply for a single course or multiple courses. The benefit of the latter is that if there is a payment attached to your application forms, you can generate more revenue from the students by encouraging them to apply for more courses.
  5. Create custom application forms. LeadSquared platform provides an easy, drag-and-drop form builder so that anyone from the admission teams with less or no technical knowledge can create, update, and delete the fields in the application forms. There are several fields available, and you can mark some/all of them as mandatory. A student cannot apply without filling in these details.
  6. Payment gateway integration lets students pay the fees online. You can configure a specific fee structure for courses. 
  7. Limit the number of applications per student per course.

Benefits of using LeadSquared portal for counselors/admission teams

Counselors and admission heads can see the number of students applied, courses applied in, application status, and more details in the dashboard.

If you do it via excel sheets, chances are, you will miss following up on students. With LeadSquared, you don’t have to maintain spreadsheets at all. You can track the status of the application from the portal itself. Moreover, if a student leaves the application form on the payment page, the system will notify the counselor. This way, the counselor can reach out to the student/call him and address his concerns or guide him through the process to avail financial aid. Similarly, you can track every touchpoint and intervene whenever required.

LeadSquared lets you create automated workflows for your existing process. For instance, you can create trigger email campaigns. This way, when a student downloads a brochure (activity trigger), he will receive a personalized email after a particular time to apply online.

“With LeadSquared, the contact rate went up by 13%, and scheduled campus appointments improved by 5%. Admissions specific workflows helped the admissions team prioritize incoming inquiries, engage with more leads, and identify their passions in a more organized fashion.”

– David Vice, CEO, Asher College
how to increase student enrollment in colleges

Counselor management in LeadSquared

Applicant management is just one aspect of the admission process. For building an efficient admission process, you will have to track your counselor’s productivity and activities. LeadSquared helps here. It lets you:

  • Distribute leads to counselors based on location/campus, course interested, availability, and other predefined criteria.
  • It nudges the counselors to call the leads. If the lead is not followed up for a long time, the system can reassign them to a different counselor after a specified period.
  • It tracks calls and all the interactions between counselors and students.
  • Send notifications and reminders for follow-ups.
  • Creates weekly, monthly, and quarterly performance reports for individuals to ensure everyone is on top of their games.
Center Performance - admissions CRM

Analytics dashboard

LeadSquared dashboard shows you the number of admissions, forms filled, inquiries, incomplete applications, brochure downloads, campaign reports, and other useful KPIs in a visual dashboard. The following are some of the most commonly used KPIs:

  • The time to first call the lead
  • Campaign source performances
  • Individual/team performances
  • Number of conversions per counselor
  • Marketing reports to analyze lead sources that are performing best
  • Inquiry to enrollment ratio
  • Student engagement metrics

In conclusion

Both students and educational institutions have realized that the online admission process is convenient and the way forward. Technology like LeadSquared Admission CRM helps colleges, schools, and universities streamline their admission process and builds a seamless digital student journey. The system also makes the admission teams more efficient and productive.

“Since LeadSquared, we have noticed an increase in our conversion rates from around 15-17% to mid-20%. LeadSquared makes it so much easier to follow up with leads and makes sure no one gets lost in the process. We have been able to reduce our lead-to-enrolment time by 60%.”

– Sarah Holmes, Corporate Director of Admissions, Bellus Academy

If you are looking for a solution to shift your admission process online, do check out LeadSquared Admission CRM once.

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