A system built for purpose – The admissions system that got Swinburne get back in the game

As one of Australia’s leading universities, Swinburne University of Technology receives a lot of interest from international students. When its existing international application system was decommissioned in 2015, International Admissions had to switch to the University’s new Student Admissions System which was not designed to cater for international applications.

“It was very ineffective as the system was not optimised for international applications,” says Di Ruddell, Swinburne’s Head of Admissions. “There were many, many fixes required to cater to international application requirements. We kept having to ask for changes to the system which took a long time to be made. Some changes were never made.” As a result, application turnaround times blew out to six weeks or more – which meant they were no longer competitive. “We lost market share as a result,” says Di.

A system built for purpose
Swinburne’s Head of International Recruitment helped them find a new system. By taking the time to review, shortlist and recommend potential suppliers, Di and her team aimed to find a system that was:

• web-based and accessible from anywhere in the world
• fast and easy-to-use
• customisable, with the ability to package offers and manage templates.

“We wanted to have more control over the process. We needed a system that would allow us to create packages for two, three or four different courses,” says Di.
The Head of International Recruitment contacted StudyLink to arrange a presentation, and Swinburne were immediately impressed. “We could all see it was just what we wanted,” says Di. Through a formal procurement process, the decision was made to go ahead with the StudyLink product.

Flexible configuration, smooth implementation

Everything happened very fast after approval. The IT Team led the implementation, with the support of StudyLink who needed to be flexible with the configuration. “We wanted a quick turnaround on bug fixes that met our system requirements, as well as direct access to StudyLink technical staff for our staff – which would make it easier to get what we want,” says Di.
“StudyLink actioned all of our requirements with absolutely no bugs.”
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The implementation process turned out to be very smooth, and Di attributes the success to the ongoing support she received from the StudyLink team. “They’re very experienced with this industry, so they really understand our specific needs,” she says. “They’re very knowledgeable and extremely responsive. Working together was really great. We never had to explain anything – they just got it.” Less workload, more acceptances Since implementing StudyLink Connect, Swinburne has been able to maintain its competitiveness – and regain its market share. “This semester our applications, offers & acceptances rose significantly says Di. Swinburne has also benefited from: • Faster application turnaround times “We’ve now got very quick turnaround times, usually within 24 to 72 hours” • Streamlined process “We all love that agents and applicants can submit directly through StudyLink. We’re no longer managing everything through different folders, it’s all in one system” • Improved staff morale “They feel more in control of their workday and their tasks, without feeling like it’s never ending or they’re drowning in paperwork. It’s made a huge difference.” The new system has also allowed Swinburne to capture and analyse more data, which has assisted faculties across the university. “Recruitment staff use data to analyse applications by submission country, agent or course. The communications team use it for campaigns and marketing. Direct recruitment use the data to contact potential students and follow up on offers,” says Di. And because StudyLink is web-based, they’ve also been able to analyse their data more accurately. “The information is much clearer. It’s a lot easier to prioritise.” And it’s not just Swinburne who have noticed the difference StudyLink has made. “I’ve dealt with a lot of institutions who have come here to look at it operationally,” says Di. “I’m always happy to recommend StudyLink Connect. We’re back in the game and that really is the most important thing.”
StudyLink. Education Connected.