Document Management Helps Johns Hopkins University Admissions Weather Snowmageddon 2010
With a winter storm revving up to deliver a second blow this evening (the weather cognoscenti are calling it “mammoth,” “massive” and “colossal”), today and tomorrow feels a little like déjà vu for those of us in the Midwest and Northeast.
Almost exactly one year ago today, on Feb. 5, 2010, much of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states were buried under more than 20 inches of snow. The blizzard – designated “Snowmaggedon” by President Barack Obama – left thousands without power and shut down the government.
It stranded a number of Johns Hopkins University’s admissions staff at home. Bad news for the admissions staff, which was facing a looming admissions deadline and the largest applicant pool in the university’s history: nearly 2,000 more than its previous record.
For those of us not in the know, accepting college applicants earlier in the admissions cycle increases a university’s chances of seeing that student accept the offer. It also gives colleges and universities a competitive advantage by allowing them to admit the best-fit students faster than the competition.
So, you see, a true dilemma. More so, if the university was still operating under its old procedure.
You know, admissions counselors hauling student files home, bulldozing through them like a city snowplow, dragging them back to the office, handing them off to John Hopkins operations team, who would then shovel through each to determine if the student was accepted, and then manually input that info into the computer before slotting the file into a snow bank of filing cabinets.
Too much metaphor? Maybe. But you get my drift.
Under the old process, chances were slim the staff could hit the deadline. They could get the files read – at least the ones they brought home – but they couldn’t get them into the hands of operations while roads remained unnavigable. But that’s not what happened.
Instead, admissions staff safely and securely logged into the university’s system from home and used document management tools to electronically decision files and have those decisions posted directly to the enterprise database. Instead, admissions staff recorded the most productive reading week ever.
As one Johns Hopkins admissions staff member says, “It made life easier for everyone.”
And that’s “snow” joke.