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Colorado Free App Day nets nearly 4,000 new applications

This year’s improved processes make for a smoother enrollment experience.

By Cory Phare

October 24, 2019

Students sitting in booth in JSSB.Metropolitan State University of Denver received 3,781 applications Oct. 15, the fourth-most across the statewide higher-education initiative known as Colorado Free App Day. It’s also a 96% increase over last year’s event. And, perhaps most tellingly, 2,657 have already been admitted as new Roadrunners.

It’s a testament to the University’s access-driven mission and highlights a night-and-day difference from last year, thanks to a substantial overhaul of how a student goes from prospect to enrolled at MSU Denver.

“Last year, our processing team received a mountain of applications and tons of supplemental documents like transcripts,” said Vaughn Toland, executive director of admissions and outreach. “That situation led to a backup that lasted for months – and a resulting sense of anxiety and being overwhelmed.

“It’s so much better now that things have been streamlined – for both the applying student and our employees; it’s a win for everyone involved.”

The implementation of a new customer relationship-management platform, Slate, was integral to improving the application process, Toland added. Thanks to the interface, applicants are able to self-report criteria such as GPA and test scores; if this met specific admission thresholds, future students are admitted, contingent on their follow-up with official documents.

And the result? Fewer bottlenecks that caused applicants to wait to hear back on their admission status, a challenge that had previously disadvantaged MSU Denver in the college recruitment landscape.

“Unanimously, other schools we’ve talked to about using the system to make admissions decisions on self-reported student information have agreed it’s a great thing,” Toland said. “It allows for more focus on building relationships with students versus chasing down documents.”

Students who don’t meet the criteria with self-reported data enter a secondary review process where they’re asked to upload supplemental documents directly into the system. This alleviates workflow congestion of admissions employees needing to individually track down those elements. 

Of the applicants:

  • 88.3% were current high school students
  • 10.2% were transfer students
  • 89.5% were applying for the fall 2020 semester
  • 88.6% were traditional students (i.e. 19 years old and younger)
  • 45.7% identified as Hispanic
  • 58.8% were first generation college students

National data from EAB indicates that 96% of self-reported data is accurate, Toland added.

“Every barrier we remove really can affect how we help our students succeed,” he said. “We’re increasing access and making the whole process easier.”

Topics: Events

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