Slate Form Builder Enables Administrators to Better Engage with Prospective Students as well as Support those who are Currently Enrolled
Before adopting Slate, staff at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology managed events and non-credit course enrollment with inefficient manual processes. Admissions staff registered attendees for events with phone and email exchanges, manually creating registration lists that didn’t accurately reflect the dynamic nature of registrations. Furthermore, predicting final attendance for non-credit courses was a struggle because Banner only worked for credit-bearing enrollment.
Since adopting Slate, OSU Institute of Technology has created a form to handle non-credit enrollments, which has helped the university solve its enrollment problem by managing enrollment for non-credit courses. Forms have been leveraged to create classes, enroll students, and collect tuition ahead of time using Slate Pay. All of these improvements have made their risk manager and VP of fiscal services very happy.
Slate has also helped OSUIT overcome its event challenges with it’s drag-and-drop form functionality. Using forms, OSUIT’s event staff can employ mobile check-in and track event melt. Previously, check-in took more than 10 minutes per student, so even if students arrived ahead of time, they often still missed part of their event. Now, check-in takes less than 3 minutes so students can arrive on time and never miss valuable content. Beyond check-in, staff can also now manage events much more efficiently by tracking who has registered and paid.
Forms are just one of Slate’s fundamental data-gathering tools. In addition to communicating with prospective students, schools like Oklahoma State are also harnessing the power of this data to support the success of their currently enrolled students.
“Using a survey form, we collect information from every new applicant on the areas of concern that might prevent them from finishing their education. Each year, we review the responses, and then identify local, state, and national resources and send students those messages. If you self-identify on the survey as food insecure, for instance, you will receive a message about the Okmulgee Deep Fork Foundation with a link to complete an application to determine eligibility for food vouchers that can be used at Okmulgee County food banks.”
Ina Agnew, VP for Student Services, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
Slate Empowers Suffolk University Graduate Admissions to Do More with Only One System
Prior to using Slate, the admissions office at the Suffolk University Graduate School managed their daily processes with a variety of incompatible systems: one platform hosted their online application, a second was used for reporting, a third for document retention, a fourth served as an applicant status portal, and a fifth was employed for email communications. Other aspects, like reaching out to applicants, managing checklists, and producing paper letters to be scanned, were still done manually.
Managing this patchwork of systems was time-consuming and didn’t leave much bandwidth for important reporting and outreach activities to help cultivate applicants. Their admissions staff needed a single tool that could streamline their daily tasks and operations. In 2014, administrators selected Slate as their CRM because they were interested in how its Deliver module, Report Builder, and applicant portal could address their outreach and reporting challenges.
Since launching Slate, Suffolk Grad has a much more consolidated information system and a more consistent experience across users and departments. An army of student workers has been pared down and they’re able to focus on individual outreach, research, and other high-value work. Operational staff have also seen their roles change dramatically and become more technically-focused. They have developed advanced reports to help manage the unique enrollment goals of each department. Program directors now have snap profiles every semester that adjust as people are admitted and register. Staff have up-to-the-minute data on financial aid awards and doctoral programs, so they can review the number of started applications and compare that data to the last two years. Furthermore, Suffolk has created reports that provide insight into the effectiveness of email drip marketing campaigns.
"It’s not just that how we do things has changed – it’s that we can do things that would have been nearly impossible under the previous configuration of systems."
Mara Marzocchi, Associate Director- Operations, Suffolk University Graduate Admission
Slate Enables Administrators at Spelman College to Better Manage a Rising Influx of Applications
In 2017, increased interest in historically black colleges and universities more than doubled the number of applications received by Spelman College. If administrators wanted to efficiently process them all, they needed a better way to review and manage applications. At that time, counselors took paper files home to read, which often resulted in lost records and missing requirements. These manual processes were inefficient and prevented administrators from promptly releasing decisions. It was challenging to track the status of applications and know which were incomplete, complete, or in the process of being read.
Since implementing Slate, Spelman has improved systems for processing applications by employing automations, all of which have brought them leaps and bounds ahead of where they were pre-implementation. Counselors rave about reading in Slate and can review applications wherever they are in a collaborative and organized manner. Spelman can report on reading metrics to see where applications are in the funnel and send automated reminders to counselors to read pending files. Admissions staff can also fold financial aid letters into admit packages that appear directly within a student’s status page.
Even though their application numbers more than doubled, with Slate’s help, Spelman was able to seamlessly manage them all using checklist automation, automated communications with applicants, and streamlined online reading. While Spelman imports the Common App directly to Slate, they have also elected to build a custom summer application using a Slate-hosted application, which has further improved management of this program by helping Spelman anticipate costs and potential class size.
"Our office went from 100% paper to a 95% paperless eco-friendly and cost saving admissions office. The Timeline & Interactions has empowered our front line staff to answer applicant questions with one phone call/email."
Adenike Akintobi, Spelman College
Marquette University Improves Trip and Event Planning with Slate’s Geospatial Data Tools
Like many universities, Marquette admissions staff worried that because they didn’t have hard supporting data, they weren’t properly managing their travel and events. And, when attendance at costly events was lower than expected, they had trouble determining whether its location was the primary deterring issue.
Since implementing Slate, Marquette University admissions staff have used the Voyager tool to significantly improve their travel and event planning. Voyager is a mapping tool that overlays and marks student data, events, local high schools and colleges, and census data from the American Community Survey (ACS) onto maps and trips. Using Voyager — found within Slate queries — admissions teams are able to plot high school and prospect data in a heat map, and then utilize this heat map to determine where to host events like information sessions and interviews. Trips are better managed and prospective students have easier access than ever before.
With help from Voyager, Marquette admissions staff are also able to plan admitted student events across the country based on both where their students live and surrounding traffic patterns. Their show rates have increased significantly now that they can plan events at locations they know are convenient for admitted students and their families.
With Slate, Marquette University has geospatial data at their disposal that helps their visit and recruitment teams travel and host successful events nationwide.
Gift Officers at Illinois Wesleyan are Leveraging Slate’s Powerful Data to Work More Effectively
Fragmented systems and a legacy tool that was not web-based were challenges for the Advancement team at Illinois Wesleyan. Because so much of advancement work is done on the road, it was essential that data be available to all as they traveled to meet with alumni around the country. They knew that data could propel their operations forward, so identified Slate as a tool to gather, house, organize, and analyze valuable information.
Since December of 2018 when they went live, the advancement office has not looked back. They have employed data management in Slate to help train staff as well as identify where they should be targeting travel and events. By leveraging Voyager, Slate’s geospatial tool, gift and engagement officers can schedule more appointments and more efficiently cultivate relationships with alumni.
While information was previously siloed, Illinois Wesleyan can now leverage configurable joins in Slate’s Query Builder to connect all of the datapoints that exist in Slate. This powerful functionality has empowered gift officers to better manage processes, generate better data, and more effectively engage with prospective donors.
Slate Preferred Partner Success Stories
Underscore’s Skilled Divisions Help St. John Fisher College to Achieve Slate Implementation Goals
The admissions staff at St. John Fisher College ran into a common problem when deciding to implement Slate in early 2020: how would their small staff manage the implementation of a brand new CRM while trying to conduct business as usual? Their goal? Focus on bringing student search in-house for Fall 2021, using all of Slate’s communication tools, providing a portal for students who have applied, and accessing analytics that would inform recruitment strategy.
With the help of Underscore, Fisher’s admissions team was able to better manage all of these competing tasks and approach each project with tested best practices and proven experience. Underscore’s Implementation Division provided extensive and ongoing support (modeled after the Technolutions Roadmap) to identify key milestones and ensure students would be recruited and have the ability to apply in the fall. Transferring the necessary enrollment data to Slate but also effectively utilizing that data during an ongoing implementation cycle is tricky, but Underscore’s Enrollment Strategy Division was able to collaborate with the implementation and build reports that ensured no students were left behind in the active recruitment cycle.
In tandem with the Implementation Division, the Special Projects and Communication Divisions at Underscore also focused on engaging with prospective students. By building a dynamic portal for both undergraduate and graduate students to utilize throughout the entire application cycle, the Special Projects Division made sure that relevant data was accessible to students at every stage of the funnel. The Communication Division also helped build out an extensive multichannel senior search campaign to make certain that Fisher’s recruitment efforts didn’t lag during the implementation.
Underscore’s unique structure and dedicated team helped St. John Fisher College achieve all of the goals that were set in their first year of Slate implementation.
Dave Roberts, Fisher’s Senior Associate Director of Freshman Admissions and Athletic Recruitment said, “Underscore was outstanding to work with, and we couldn’t have asked for a better partner during this challenging but exciting Slate implementation. Their extensive Slate knowledge and expertise in communications, combined with steady and consistent leadership were instrumental in our implementation success. I expect the Underscore team will continue to thrive in partner relationships and implementation support in the future.”