During student enrolment in 2015 there had been some significant issues and the enrolment process hadn't run as smoothly as the enrolment team would have liked. In 2015 enrolment took place in the Panorama suite in the Rootes building. All new students needed to attend to collect their Warwick ID cards but some students also needed to attend for immigration and visa checks, collecting status letters, registering with the Health Centre and getting advice from Student Finance. Combining all these functions into one area had led to significant delays during arrivals weekend, often for very straightforward tasks, and had meant that students did not get a good first impression of joining Warwick and were dissatisfied with the process. Senior Officers wanted to see a step change with the current process and they outlined ideas for a future state enrolment process.
Following on from the Senior Officer workshop, a Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) was held in January 2016 bringing together colleagues from Academic departments, the Academic Office, Office for Global Engagement, Strategic Planning and Analytics Office, Student Reception, Student Careers and Skills, Students' Union, and Warwick Conferences. They wanted to radically rethink the enrolment process to make it a better experience for students and the staff involved. The event led to a number of key decisions:
- Separating Warwick ID card distribution from in-person visa checks.
- Making more information available online, including Health Centre registration and requesting status letters.
- Opening online enrolment earlier allowing students more time to complete the process and upload a photo for their card.
- Allowing international students to upload a copy of their passport and visa so they could be checked in advance and just confirmed in person.
- Creating an online dashboard for students to see what steps they had completed and what steps they still needed to complete or were optional to complete.
- Recruiting temporary staff and training them to deal specifically with the enrolment event.
- Creating two new posts which were dedicated to organising and coordinating the enrolment event.
The Outcome: A quick and simple enrolment process
The new and improved enrolment process was trialled prior to the main enrolment period with pre-sessional English courses, and MSc and MRes Economics degrees. These courses enrol earlier than the main degree courses and allowed the team an opportunity to see the new process in action and make some amendments before the main event began.
The main enrolment process ran smoothly and was a much better experience for both students and staff. Students who were living on campus collected their Warwick cards with their room keys, eliminating one step of the process for them. The new process meant that the vast majority of students no longer needed to queue. For those who did the time spent queuing was significantly reduced. Overall the new process provided all students with a better first experience of Warwick. The benefits included:
- ID card collection satisfaction of 89% excellent/good (up from 68% in 2015)
- Online enrolment satisfaction of 75% excellent/good
- 95% reduction in queue time for overseas students to just 15 minutes.
- Significant increase in staff satisfaction.
The increased student satisfaction with enrolment has had an impact on the feedback scores students are giving in surveys. Having staff who were specifically trained and employed during enrolment meant that other members of staff were not being pulled out of their day job and could focus on other important tasks during a very busy time of year.
As a result of the RIE two new posts were created. Alex Gray and Fiona Rushworth oversaw the whole enrolment event and will also be involved in the graduation ceremonies. Alex and Fiona will be able to analyse enrolment this year and look to make improvements for next year in a process of continual improvement.