Georgia Tech Uses Web to Individualize Admissions Process

Aiming to personalize the college admissions process, Georgia Tech recently unveiled a new web-based recruitment tool, Tech on Your Terms, that lets students create their own brochures and interact with current and former students through message boards and live chat sessions.

The new system was developed by Atlanta-based, Connexxia LLC in conjunction with Georgia Tech's Enrollment Services office.

"We developed this system based on feedback we received that said most students go to the web first to get information about their prospective colleges," said Deborah Smith, vice provost of Enrollment Services at Georgia Tech.

But Smith decided to take the idea a step beyond the traditional bulletin board approach of most university web sites and use the site to encourage interaction between prospective students and admissions staff, current students, faculty and alumni. Smith contacted Connexxia, which customized its interactive AdmissionsGenie product to meet Tech's needs.

"Rather than using the Internet to simply automate the admissions process, we're taking advantage of the web's ability to allow students to choose what type of information they'd like to receive. This helps us get to know the students better and respond to their needs more quickly and on a more personal basis," explained Smith.

When a student logs into the system, their information is automatically sent to Banner, Tech's student database. An admissions officer will contact the student if requested, or the student can simply choose to browse.

While browsing, a prospective student can create his or her own college brochure filled with information about specific academic programs and campus activities that match their individual preferences. They can also read news and feature stories about what's happening on campus and in the city or check out profiles of Tech students and faculty. Students may also receive invitations to campus events so they can get a first-hand look at life at Georgia Tech.

Third year student Livia Carneiro said she used the web extensively when she was shopping for schools. "All of the schools seemed to have a lot of information about their majors, but not so much for the campus lifestyle," said Carneiro.

Which is why she's decided to participate in the site's upcoming chat sessions with prospective students. "I think the information you get from students is much more helpful than what you get from the admissions counselors, because the students will tell you what's bad and good about the school," she added.

For the fifth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report ranked Georgia Tech as one of the top ten public universities in the nation. The school was ranked 9th among the nation's top public universities and 37th overall, up one slot from last year. Moreover, its peer assessment rating (a school's perceived quality rating among other universities) was high enough to be ranked among the top 20 overall. Smith hopes to use the new recruiting program to boost Georgia Tech's reputation even higher in the future, in part by "attracting even more well-rounded students, more arts and sciences students, more women, and more minority students" to the school, which is located in Atlanta's vibrant Midtown neighborhood, home of the city's arts community, numerous restaurants and hotels, and a host of upscale office and residential buildings.

Connexxia Co-Presidents Peter Flur and Shawn Coyne appreciated Georgia Tech's selection of their company to help support its new initiative. "For an institution with the technology reputation and resources of Georgia Tech to choose our AdmissionsGenie service, when they had so many other options available, means a lot to us," said Flur. "We look forward to doing all we can to help Georgia Tech this year," added Coyne, "and to seeing them achieve the same kind of results that our other clients have experienced over the past three years."

AdmissionsGenie is a fully integrated service that helps colleges and universities use the Internet to create and manage a coordinated program of high-impact, personalized, two-way communications with prospective and incoming students. Over the past three years, it has helped produce significant increases in applications, yield rate, student quality, student diversity and admissions office efficiency at more than 20 large and small colleges and universities across the nation including Duke University, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Ball State University, Oglethorpe University, LaGrange College, the Sage Colleges, and many others.