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Office of Admissions aims to go paperless with new online enrollment system

(ATHENS, Ohio — Dec. 8, 2014) After years of handling admission applications and inquiries largely on paper, the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine recently launched a new online application management program that promises to streamline the process and make it much easier to track and reach out to current applicants and prospective new students.

The new constituent relationship management (CRM) system, called Enrollment Rx, is in the process of replacing the OsteoAdmit software, which the Office of Admissions has been using since 2010.

The new system allows for a true online application experience for both the medical college and its summer programs such as Summer Scholars and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Under the old system, according to Director of Admissions Jill Harman, “Our version of an electronic application was, ‘Here’s a link to a .pdf of an application, which you download and fill out and return to us.’”

This new CRM system allows the Office of Admissions to create a computerized file on a potential applicant from the time of first contact, and to track and analyze data from the entire applicant pool on an ongoing basis. Enrollment Rx automatically incorporates information about each applicant from the application form of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, which everyone applying to an osteopathic medical college must submit.

While the admissions office still handles some enrollment-related tasks manually, Harman said, more and more tasks will be automated as the system gets fully implemented, with the aim of making the office as close to “paperless” as possible. Whereas enrollment-related fees, for example, formerly had to be paid by check, the new system will allow online credit card payment.

“We’re still doing some things manually on this system,” Harman reported in late November – adding that as the switchover to Enrollment Rx becomes complete, “there’s a lot that’s just going to happen automatically.” She said that even with only a partial switch completed, the system is already providing improved ease and efficiency for the office.

“So far it’s amazing,” Harman said.

Kapil Bajaj, an analyst with the college’s Office of Medical Informatics who has played a major role in introducing the new system, said the efficiencies it brings to Admissions officials are mirrored on the students’ end.

Bajaj noted that in a test run of the system, a group of 20 applicants were chosen to receive messages telling them they had met minimum requirements to submit a secondary application and giving them access to a portal allowing them to do so. “We thought it might take them a while to respond to that,” he recalled. “But there was one student who was done with everything in two hours – without calling, without emailing, without any questions.” Under the old paper-based system, he said, this process would typically take two or three days.

The portal for submitting secondary applications “is extremely customized,” according to Bajaj, “so it guides them through every step of the process.” If and when a student is accepted to the Heritage College and agrees to enroll, the information gathered from the beginning of the admissions process is transferred into Ohio University’s Student Information System.

While getting a CRM system working for the Office of Admissions was the first priority, Bajaj said, the planning, which began about two years ago, has also included the Office of Communication and the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE). The system will allow these offices to store and access information about their relationships with constituents in a single cloud-based location, accessible from anywhere through a laptop computer or mobile device, and make it possible for them to track and update all constituent contacts as they occur in real time.

“In system terms, a CRM system is known as a system of engagement,” Bajaj explained. “It helps us manage relationships with our constituents – that is the primary goal.” He added that it is possible the system could be provided to other college units as well in the future.

  Office of Communication
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
210 Irvine Hall, Athens, Ohio 45701
Tel: 740-593-2346 FAX: 740-593-0343
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Last updated: 01/28/2016