Freshers Fair 2015

Looking back at confirmation and clearing, 2016

During confirmation of undergraduate applications in August, the Admissions team processed approximately 13,000 applications through Campus Solutions, which included conditional firm and conditional insurance offer holders, and those accepted via clearing and adjustment. The recruitment position as of the end of October was 298 over target for HEU (planned overshoot of 200 to account for any Brexit impact) and 6 under target for international. Thanks to all whose hard work allowed us to achieve this. As this was the first year of paperless admissions, there was a considerable amount of preparation required.

One of the key benefits of the new system is having all of the data relating to an application stored in one place, accessible to both Admissions staff and Admissions Tutors. This is a significant improvement. The old paper-based system meant that accepting an applicant at confirmation was a two-stage process requiring two teams; with the new system this becomes a one-stage process, saving time that can be used elsewhere.

Certain other processes, such as contacting applicants where a result was missing and considering near miss applicants, were also more efficient. In the past the missing results process would have involved entering data into a separate database, but this year the team used the ‘checklist’ function to generate email communications, again saving time. Admissions has also received positive feedback from a number of Admissions Tutors about the new electronic near miss process, saying that it was a significant improvement on the previous paper-based system.

The extraction of certain data from the system was a challenge, and so a number of ad hoc reports were required. The main concern was making sure that no applications became ‘lost’ in the system, as this would have impacted both application statistics and the applicant experience. Despite significant user acceptance testing, there was still a requirement to react to certain processes that did not work in the live system quite as intended. Another key challenge was recruiting sufficient volunteers to assist with processing A Level results, which relies on colleagues from outside of Admissions. This year Admissions was restricted to those with experience of – and access to – the new system. The data transactions sent to and from UCAS took longer and were less frequent than expected, meaning that some applicants were not updated on the status of their application as quickly as anticipated. The new system has posed significant training needs for both experienced and new staff in the new organisational design.

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