NTT DATA Business Solutions
Bart Warmerdam | August 5, 2020

Uniting Different Educational Systems in One Student Management Solution

While the coronavirus is holding our economy hostage and paralyzes many industries, universities are definitely finding their digital way in providing students with education. Right now, aspiring college students should be flocking to universities all over the country to check out the campus and attend trial lectures of their desired studies. Instead, COVID-19 is keeping us all safely indoors. This doesn’t mean that admissions are put on hold. With the technology that is available, colleges and universities are more present than ever, right there where most young people spend their time: online. Trial lectures can be streamed, several faculties are organizing virtual 360-tours, and professors are hosting live Q&A’s.

Digital solutions are more than capable to support the student admission process in despite of corona. Even better: one single flexible solution could even provide a seamless digital admission process in every country that is affected. Let me explain you how.

Implementing the Same Solution to Manage the Student Lifecycle in Different Countries

As an IT-consultant for higher education, I often face challenges interlinked with the big differences between various educational systems. At NTT DATA Business Solutions we work with one and the same software template to cater for different countries. You would think that would make our challenges even greater. However, we’ve found implementing the same system across the globe, has made our objective of providing higher education with a smart, intuitive tooling to ensure student success and retention, easier instead of more difficult. We create tremendous flexibility by implementing new functionalities as building blocks that can be activated when there’s a need for it.

A Solution that Can Cope with Contradicting Work Methods in Educational Systems

The process of applying for a university differs a great deal from country to country. This can be caused by legislation, national application systems, the educational system itself, or even culture. Since I mostly work in The Netherlands and The United Kingdom, I will draw a comparison between these two countries. And, explain why these – sometimes contradicting ways of working – lead to a very flexible IT solution, from which both educational systems can benefit.

What surprised me the most about the admission process in The United Kingdom is that the educational system – and in particular the admission process – is a lot more focused on the details. To be admitted to a university in The UK, an applicant typically needs to achieve a certain number of tariff points. Tariff points can be obtained by achieving a certain grade for a qualification or diploma. To make it even more complex: this often comes with other requirements like specific subjects that need to be obtained.

Future Proof Student Management System, No Matter What You Decide

In the case of The Netherlands versus the UK, not only the steps in the student admission process are very different from each other. The conditions that need to be met and the way these conditions are checked by educational staff differ hugely. Just take a look at the chart below to see how big the difference between our countries is. Still, we’ve managed to unite all these characteristics in one application.

Sure, implementing our single solution for student lifecycle management poses challenges. However, when our system is in place, it leaves universities with a very flexible and configurable system. That is highly future proof as a bonus. Universities choose what they need, and can use the system without it disturbing their regular way of working. Are you inspired by a feature or release note from another country or project? Then you can easily utilize that function. All in all, this solution allows our customers to keep doing what they do, until they decide otherwise.

Description The Netherlands The United Kingdom
Admission process After applying, the university lets applicants know if they are admitted on the condition they achieve the qualification. After applying, the university makes a detailed offer to the applicant that needs to be accepted. When the results are in, the university can confirm the offer. When the offer is not confirmed, the applicant can try to obtain a place through clearing. A day where all students without an offer start calling universities.
Is applicant admissible? Based on achieving qualification. Based on achieving one or more grades for particular subjects. The applicant needs to achieve a certain tariff score based on the subjects and grades for those subjects.
Identity verification Automated by DUO or based on a digital upload and spread over time. Manually, based on showing the actual ID documentation. This occurs all in one day for all applicants.
Photo verification On a 1 by 1 basis. Using an app that displays a list of the photos that needs to be approved. Photos can be approved in bulk by the university.

Student Photo Verification: a Great Example

A great example of features that can be exchanged between countries, is photo verification. In The Netherlands, students upload a photo and a staff worker checks if each individual photo is correct. Believe me, aspiring students upload all kinds of pictures that are really not suitable for a student card. You can only imagine how much time the approval process takes. The UK however, approves photos in batches through an app. A trained staff worker can easily spot non-compliant pictures and give students notice that they need to upload a new one. Dutch universities would benefit from this time-saving solution, so they are looking into this feature as we speak. Once they decide upon utilizing it, it is just a matter of a few steps to embrace a new way of photo verification.

Simplifying Your Student Lifecycle Processes by Learning from Other Countries

Despite the differences, there is one major similarity between every university or school. What we see during our projects is that higher education is keen on simplifying processes to deliver a better experience to students that are applying or already studying at their institutions. My advice? Look beyond the border to get inspired by new functionalities or the way other countries deal with educational challenges. And, get yourself a digital partner that not only knows its way around technology, but has also gained a lot of international field expertise in different educational systems.

Curious how we can help to optimize your student admission process? Don’t hesitate to contact me.

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