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New GRADS electronic system designed to increase efficiency of graduate student admissions process

From staff reports | Jun 11, 2014

Ohio University's Graduate College and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) have rolled out a new software application designed to make it easier for departments, colleges and the administration to manage graduate student applications.

The Graduate Review & Admission Decision System (GRADS) allows administrators and faculty members to log into a central electronic portal that houses information about graduate program applicants. The program works as an information broker between other existing student information systems such as PeopleSoft and OnBase to consolidate graduate student application, review and admissions processes into a single, online source, says David Koonce, associate dean of the Graduate College.

The new system is designed to eliminate the need for administrators to make hard copies or electronic copies of materials to distribute to review committees. Instead, committee members can use their OHIO IDs and passwords to log in to the centralized system. Applicants can be marked for admission or flagged for further discussion.

GRADS was developed in-house after OIT discovered that no existing third-party system would meet the university's needs without some major modifications, said Renee Mascari, OIT business analyst. 

The in-house system will allow OIT and the Graduate College to customize the service over time in response to feedback from Ohio University users, said Jen Van Nostran, director of e-systems in the Graduate College. Once per year, the university will release an update of the program.

The system also will make it easier for prospective students to track the progress of their applications, Van Nostran said. GRADS will confirm which documents and materials have been successfully uploaded and received by Ohio University. The system should help reduce the number of phone calls that Graduate College fields from applicants about their admission statuses, Van Nostran and Mascari both noted.

The Graduate College currently is conducting training sessions across campus as it transitions to the new system. As of June 30, the university will no longer accept paper forms and will shut down access to Contact Manager, the commercial system previously used for graduate admissions.

To schedule a training appointment, contact Van Nostran at vannostj@ohio.edu or 740-597-2599 . Any faculty or staff members who are not on the Athens campus for training this summer should contact Van Nostran about gaining access to the system.