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Project Management Case Studies: Universal Admissions

Project Manager: Kim Dalziel (to December 2019), Louise Goodyear (to July 2020), Kat Greenwood

Why the University needed this project

The University's existing system for receiving and responding to applications for postgraduate courses, BPM, needed to be replaced as the manufacturer was planning to cease providing support. This provided the opportunity to rethink the processing of applications to the University for postgraduates as well for other types of applicants that followed processes developed within individual departments. These conversations drew on the experience of implementing Universal Admissions.

What we did

Following substantial research and analysis with stakeholders from across the University, the following aims were set out:

  • A single system, with converged processes for administrating all types of applications to Warwick regardless of route of entry (UCAS, direct, partner), and level of course (UG, PG, other).
  • An enhanced application experience for applicants and their agents.
  • An enhanced referee portal for uploading appropriate references and documentation.
  • Flexibility to accommodate variations in the admissions process across programme type or mode of delivery (something which might become prevalent in the future).
  • Management reports and the capturing of all applicant information as per audit requirements.

As with Universal Admissions, the chosen platform was provided by Tribal. Following several pilots the project went live for courses receiving direct applications in October 2019. During the following year, additional requirements for accessibility and data protection were identified, along with a wide range of smaller changes that would increase usability.

What benefits the project brought about

Universal Admissions has delivered a number of benefits to the University, all allowing for faster and more efficient processes and more accessible and accurate data.

  • Improved data and management information as applicant data is now stored in one place rather than across different departments and systems.
  • Improved support for core business activities.
  • The ability for future development.
  • An online application form (OLAF) for direct entry applicants, linked directly into SITS, and accessible across all key platforms (mobiles, tablets etc.).
  • An Applicant Portal allowing the applicant to view up-to-date information on application status, including whether individual conditions have been cleared.
  • Document management facility allowing the applicant to submit additional documentation securely and directly to their application.
  • An Agent Portal to allow qualified agents to apply and act on behalf of applicants, and to monitor progress.
  • A Referee portal enabling referees to submit references against an application directly.
  • The ability to manage staff access by role based permissions, and to specific groups of courses.
  • A mechanism for submitting payments for Application Assessment Fees and course fee deposits.

Moving forward

During 2020 external events led to a reconsideration on the scope and timings of the project. UCAS applications are continuing to be received by Paperless Admissions. During this year the developers' focus on usability and accessibility for users and on the longer term stability of the SITS platform continues.