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New application method saves Iowa State time, money


Iowa State University is using a new method of accepting admissions applications to its advantage.

After traditionally being weighed down with a large number of applications to process around the holidays, Phil Caffrey, senior associates director of admissions, and Marc Harding, assistant vice president of admissions, worked with an information systems team to develop an automated online application system.

The system allows high school seniors to self-report application material online, rather than submit a high-school transcript. Potential students report their class rank, ACT composite score, high school grade-point average and number of years of core high school courses. The system then calculates a formula based on the state’s Regent Admission Index and sends a response to students within two business days, informing the applicant whether he or she has been accepted into the university.

The system works because of concrete state admissions standards, and Caffrey believes Iowa State is the first school in the Midwest to use such a program.

The automated system alleviates a number of problems, Caffrey said. It allows students to know right away if they have been accepted, pending a transcript to be sent at the end of the school year. It takes away the immediate burden of looking through approximately 15,000 freshman applications per year when only about 5,000 freshmen will enroll. By the time students who are accepted are required to send their transcripts, those who have decided not to attend will not send in a transcript.

“We fully expect it will save us thousands of dollars in overtime that we normally spend this time of year to get through these mountains of applications that we have to process,” Caffrey said.

It also gives Iowa State a potential advantage in increasing enrollment. Caffrey believes students who receive their acceptance right away will be more likely to choose Iowa State than a similar state university with longer application times. While potential students are waiting to hear back from other schools, they could already be applying for housing at Iowa State.

“We really feel like we have competitive advantage,” Caffrey said.

Students who aren’t automatically accepted will be asked to send an official transcript right away.

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