It is time for admission offices to incorporate technology into their best practices. I’m not talking about databases, email newsletters, or even social media.
Admission offices have certainly come a long way in terms of how data is captured like online inquiry forms and applications, but in terms of how that data is reviewed, I believe we have miles to go to catch up with the times. I’m talking about the archaic reality of paper files for applicants. Most independent school applications are at least 15 pages long and this is not including all the supplemental materials–teacher recommendation letters, writing samples, test results, etc. A typical file could be anywhere from 20 to over 50 pages of paper! Most admission offices use printouts of online applications simply because most online applications just deposit the applicant’s information into a database, making it difficult to manage the information.
MIT’s Sloane School of Business has been testing “Matchbox,” an app designed to integrate the application review process for the past year. The reviews have been positive and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management has also adopted the app. Designed for use on an iPad, “Matchbox” has some very interesting features that could certainly save time. The app is able to connect to various information systems that offices currently use, is highly customizable, and provides unique analytics.
According to the Matchbox website, you’re able to assess the quality of your applicant pool on-the-fly and see reviewer statistics such as completion rates and review velocity. The annotation feature allows reviewers to highlight text in any portion of an application and connect that text to a specific scoring criterion.
If you want to streamline your admission review process Matchbox will do the trick by saving time, increasing portability and accessibility of applications, and providing interactive analytics. Even if Matchbox is not feasible for your school, exploring its functionality may help give you ideas to streamline your review process within your school’s means.