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A streamlined student application process is fundamental to the success of a school’s student recruitment strategy. It’s during this stage that prospective students are solidifying their intentions to enrol, making key decisions to determine the right program, campus, and semester. To go over and narrow their choices prior to registration, they’ll need to use an online student application portal. 

So what is a student application portal, and how does it benefit a school’s intake process? Simply put, it’s a powerful tool that can optimize your admissions process by making it possible for prospects to submit an online student application. With a powerful student portal, you can make the application process an easy and pleasant experience for all users—including parents and agents. 

Digitizing this core component of your student recruitment strategy can give your school a competitive edge during the final and arguably most critical stage in the prospect’s enrollment journey. In fact, it can even help you better manage the internal tasks involved in processing student applications. Interested in reaping the benefits of a student application portal? By using HEM’s proprietary Student Portal, HEM-SP, your school can more efficiently organize its student recruitment process. 

Here’s a closer look at the different ways you can use HEM-SP to maximize your ROI and enhance your student recruitment strategy.

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1. Automating the Student Application Process for Faster Processing

As more of our daily routines shift online, digitization becomes more of an expectation than a novelty. Prospects nowadays are expecting application processes to be easy to use and accessible online, giving them the opportunity to fill out school forms in the comfort of their home and at their own pace. With an online student application portal, your school can digitize the admissions process and make the entire procedure painless for your prospects as well as your recruitment team. 

By integrating a fully digital application process, you can manage your admissions tasks more effectively and focus your efforts on the activities that truly count. Your student portal will do the rest, providing you with customizable and essential features that help you create a unique applicant experience tailored to your school’s needs. Whether you have a single site or multiple campuses, degree programs or short courses, it can all fit your specifications.  The best part is that it’s fully automated—easy to replicate and change without causing you to sacrifice valuable time and resources for every minor adjustment. 

Example: Application forms in HEM-SP have different options, allowing your school to edit, build, and clone applications. By selecting “Build” in the pop-up menu below, schools can view and edit the structure of the application—developing fields and sections. This ability makes it easier and faster to work with student applications.

Edit Application Forms Click Build

By viewing the applicant dashboard, your team can get a solid overview of the names and emails attributed to different applications, along with the application status and progress status. Being able to quickly view created and updated dates can also help your team better assess the state of their recruitment strategy and accelerate their productivity. 

Example: The HEM-SP interface enables schools to view applicant information at a glance, looking at key details to better manage their tasks:

Providing a Better User Experience with an Online Student Application Portal 

It’s worth noting that a positive user experience with an online student application portal is a big part of streamlining your school’s recruitment efforts. By delivering a frictionless booking experience and making the process as seamless as it can be for your prospects, you can ensure that applicants will be guided step-by-step through your process. This reduces the need for them to contact your team and request support, giving your admissions team more time to dedicate to fostering meaningful consultation and relationship building with qualified leads in your funnel.  

2. Keeping Applicants Informed with Relevant and Personalized Content 

Nurturing leads is a big part of student recruitment, and a student web application portal can also help with these efforts. An effective student portal makes it possible for prospects to browse and access relevant information as they begin to fill out their application. This information can range from document uploads, tuition fees, accommodation or meal plan arrangements, and other campus details. 

Being able to view this information and selecting the appropriate action without having to leave the student portal keeps prospects moving forward in the workflow–exactly where you want them to be. By providing this information on the portal itself, you can turn it into a tool that makes the process easy and allows you to maintain engagement with prospects at the bottom of the admissions funnel. Doing so can be a way for you to delight your prospects and exceed their expectations, anticipating their needs and delivering content right where they are. 

To facilitate your recruitment process, you can use your online portal to deliver this content—automatically helping your team with lead nurturing. In HEM-SP, the Virtual Admissions Assistant (VAA) does exactly that. The VAA can be customized to feature content about different aspects of your school, allowing them to explore course, campus, and financial options all in one place. 

Example: The University of the Commonwealth Caribbean uses the Virtual Admissions Assistant feature to highlight key info about its campus within the student application portal. Students can turn to this feature to learn more about their potential school without having to leave the page and interrupt the application process:

You can also use your online student application portal to provide prospects with high-value information that is personalized to their current situation. Through the quote builder feature of HEM-SP, prospects can calculate the costs of booking with your school. As such, prospects can feel empowered to find answers to their own questions without needing to constantly reach out to your admissions team for help.

Below is a screenshot of the Quote Builder tool in HEM-SP. Schools can edit the information and design of this feature to better suit their brand and accurately reflect program costs, adding an extra level of convenience that can help accelerate enrollment: 

quote builder

3. Building Customizable Forms to Better Suit Your School’s Changing Needs

Application forms make up the core of the student application process. A student portal enables your school to build and customize application forms, getting them right through a digital interface without the hassle of needless paperwork. This way, they’re easier to edit depending on your school’s changing needs—saving your team time, effort, and resources.

Example: Using HEM-SP, schools can change the content as well as the order of specific form fields simply by dragging them around. This makes it quick and easy to adjust and perfect your applications.

application edits

In HEM-SP, you can rely on an easy-to-use application builder, choosing from over 20 unique field types that work best for your school and its needs. You can use these field types to create space for prospects to input key information, like selecting their accommodations or campus (if applicable), along with their program and other details you outline. 

Since it’s digitized, the application can be saved and is easy to navigate as a step-by-step process. The application builder also allows students to securely upload documents and e-signatures, removing the need for them to send personal documents via email. Below is an example of the HEM-SP Document Uploader feature in action: 

document uploader

Not only does this improve student recruitment, but it also streamlines the admissions process. Your team can now easily manage more complex applications without having to cross reference different communication channels just to gather all the necessary documents.

4. Creating Dedicated Accounts for Different Stakeholders 

According to Elias Nasser, HEM’s Director of Technology Solutions, one of the standout features of HEM-SP is its dedicated Recruiters Hub Menu. By using this feature, agencies can be created, and individual agents can be invited to join, adding a specific role for each profile. 

To top it off, agents can also use our students’ application portal to submit an application on behalf of students. As Elias describes, “they can even partially fill an application and [choose] to communicate the credentials to the student to complete and submit the application.” 

Through their dedicated access, agents can monitor the status of their submitted applications and better navigate the application process. This could even apply to parents creating different applications for multiple students. Since different users may be involved in the application process, you’ll want to make it easy for everybody to access the information they need. 

By providing unique account types in your online student application portal, your school can better serve different stakeholders. As a result, you can improve the user experience during the application process and consequently streamline recruitment efforts.

Example: Schools with agencies submitting applications on behalf of their students require a different interface to help users better manage these tasks. By navigating to the Recruiters Hub in HEM-SP, schools can monitor different agencies and easily browse through individual student applications and their status, as shown below: 

An application portal equipped to handle these demands can mitigate management issues, facilitating the enrollment process for your team and your school’s prospects. 

5. Improving Your Admission Team’s Productivity and Task Management

An added benefit of using a powerful online student application portal is being able to enhance your team’s productivity. HEM-SP allows you to centralize your school’s management, making the software an all-in-one admissions management and student information system

Basically, different teams at your school would be able to use this software to manage their operations—including your admissions team, academic faculty, and other support staff. The addition of a built-in student information system makes it possible for academic and support staff to manage your school’s academic calendar, student records, course and classroom schedules, as well as lesson plans. With everything happening in one place, it becomes even easier to communicate and collaborate on essential tasks, streamlining your schools’ operations as well as recruitment efforts.

Maximizing the Power of an Online Student Application Portal with Plug-ins 

Part of centralizing digital management includes integrating helpful tools and plug-ins that make admissions operations even smoother. HEM-SP clients have the ability to integrate popular payment gateways – including Stripe, PayPal, and Flywire – as well as marketing automation systems and communication platforms. 

Schools with customer relationship management (CRM) software can also sync their data with the HEM-SP, providing them with a fully integrated system. By navigating to the settings and connecting your CRM, your team can import and export key information about its contacts. Below is the window revealing different options to import agencies or push new accounts into Mautic, HEM’s proprietary CRM: 

application system integration

By integrating these different tools, you can nurture and follow up with leads using your CRM and push those closer to the bottom of the admissions funnel further along the enrollment journey via the student portal application. Schools using HEM-SP can rely on the Virtual Admissions Assistant and application builder to make the process painless and more engaging.

6. Generating Valuable Data with a Scalable Online Student Application Portal

After posing the question, “what is a student portal,” and exploring the benefits for your school, the next step is to consider the value of the data you can gain access to with this tool. Data is at the heart of progress, and an online student application portal can give you access to data you can use to improve your student recruitment strategy and application process. 

Notably, schools using HEM-SP can take advantage of their digital marketing analytics setup. Here, they can enable (or disable) Google and Facebook tracking to gain valuable insights, as shown below:

application system tracking

In HEM-SP, your school can also track complete and incomplete applications, payments from incoming students, attendance and academic records, and more to continue optimizing your offers and recruitment efforts. With this data in hand, you can discover how many students are actively applying to your programs and whether or not you’re meeting your school’s objectives. Through these insights, you can analyze your strengths and weaknesses and make necessary changes to propel your growth and more efficiently streamline your processes.

Additionally, HEM-SP is scalable over time and is continuously updated to better meet school needs. As Elias puts it, “The HEM-SP Research and Development team is continuously working on improving the application through focus research and school feedback. Updates are rolled out on a monthly basis after proper tests are made.” All of this is done to ensure that our online student portal is more than capable of streamlining your school’s unique student application process.

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