Fit for Purpose: international admissions system delivers Western Sydney University’s international targets.
Ranked as one of the Top 100 Young Universities in the World by Times Higher Education, Western Sydney University is one of Australia’s leading institutions. So when ambitious international growth targets were set to promote the University’s reputation for quality worldwide, it was time to improve and update current systems.
In 2016, the newly appointed Associate Director of International Admissions, Monica Turvey, was determined to reach these lofty targets. But she soon discovered – the existing systems were problematic. “We weren’t able to quickly turnaround applications, paper applications were backlogged, and there was little data to show how the team were going,” she explains, “with low visibility on operations, opportunities were being missed and staff morale was dropping.” Frustration with the slow turn-around times and frequent errors meant staff productivity suffered.
“Although the team were very experienced and highly capable, they didn’t have the right tools to succeed,” says Monica.
A platform with positive results
Monica realised the University urgently needed an international admissions system to better support the team and deliver the University’s growth targets. It had to be comprehensive, quick to implement, and cost effective. It would also need to:
– Be easy to use for students, agents and staff
– Provide accurate data and visibility on operations
– Increase conversion rates
– Increase productivity
– Be readily accepted by agents.
Having had success with StudyLink Connect in her previous role, Monica shared her experience with colleagues. “I knew the system and I was well aware of the difference it would make to our productivity,” she explains, “but changing the entire international admissions system made some departments hesitant, and staff were a little nervous too.”
Thankfully, many were open to the idea. “I had excellent support from the top level of the University, who trusted in my experience,” she says.
Excellent support for quick implementation
Concerns were eased when key University stakeholders met StudyLink representatives. Impressed by their expertise, the new admissions system was given the green light, and the University began the implementation of the StudyLink admissions system and the integration process.
The StudyLink Connect team worked closely with the University project team and were always available to help with the process, ensuring any issues were dealt with promptly. The international admissions team were also included in the development and testing stages, giving them a full understanding of how the system worked, while also making sure it stood up to all existing rules and procedures.
“StudyLink Connect began the implementation process in September and went live less than three months later,” Monica noted.
Benefits across all levels
“StudyLink Connect was the right solution for us,” says Monica, and the results speak for themselves. Since implementation, the University has seen:
– Application turn around times reduced to three working days from an average of 10
– Increase in acceptances
– Faster turnaround on COES 80% of all applications through the StudyLink portal, with more than 80% from agents
– Increased transparency in staff workloads and measurable outputs
– Happier staff and increased productivity
– Faster and easier statistical reporting.
Monica was surprised by how quickly the proportion of applications through StudyLink’s system increased.
“We thought it would take our agents longer to adjust to the online system, but agents were already very familiar with the StudyLink platform.”
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