Attract and Retain Students by Transforming the Application Process

In today’s environment, traditional means of student recruitment like in-person events and on campus visits have become much more restricted, if not indefinitely on hold, forcing university admissions teams to move their efforts into the digital world. Shifting your marketing recruitment efforts isn’t enough. Admissions recruiting teams must transform their application process to match. In a recent Docusign webinar we shared thoughts from students and university professionals about the current admissions process and how to convert more website visitors into students with electronic signature.

We wanted to learn more about how students and university professionals feel about the current admissions and financial aid processes, so we conducted a survey of 430 students and 80 university admissions and financial aid professionals. 

One of the biggest revelations is how potential students see the admissions and financial aid process. 79% feel that their experience during the application is a predictor of how their experience as a student will be at the university. Because of this, almost 70% of applicants will reconsider their top choice of universities based on a difficult experience with a university's admissions and financial aid departments. Some other findings included:

  • 74% of university professionals agree that their top frustration lies in the inefficiency of manually processing admissions and financial aid paperwork. 
  • Over half found that there was a lack of transparency on how soon paperwork will be returned when it goes from department to another, such as admissions and financial aid to the dean's office.
  • Over half find it challenging to organize and retrieve hard copies of documents needed in the application process. In many cases, paperwork ends up filed in a cabinet or left at the desk of someone handling a specific portion of the documents.

Ultimately, over a third of potential applicants would prefer to complete admissions and financial aid paperwork digitally. Students want more clarity on what documents are required, updates as to where their application is in the process, and a faster decision making process.

For universities looking to meet or exceed their enrollment goals, digital processes for admissions and financial aid could result in a higher conversion rate of recruits into students. Unfortunately, those that are still using a manual process may miss out on the 66% of students who choose another university while waiting on another university's decision. 82% would have gone back to their first choice if they had heard from them sooner. 

Or worse, 47% of students don't even bother applying to institutions whose processes look complicated. Processes that depend on the student printing, completing, and mailing the application can seem more complicated than a streamlined digital process.

To meet the standards of today’s digitally savvy students, admissions and financial aid departments need to go beyond virtual recruiting strategies and focus on the entire application process. With the Docusign Agreement Cloud, you can increase operational efficiency at the speed that’s right for you by securely connecting and digitally transforming agreement and documentation processes in admissions and financial aid.  

Want to learn more about how digitized agreement systems meet the evolving needs of higher education recruiting, admissions, and financial aid teams? Visit our eSignature & Agreement Solution for Higher Education page and contact sales to find out how Docusign can help your institution reduce errors, process forms faster, and improve the student user experience.