Through The Looking-Glass: A Data Sharing Reflection for Slate.org
’Tis the application and decision season for admissions. Your undergraduate admission office may be prepping for the first round of decision release while simultaneously completing applications for the next regular decision round. This is the moment that culminates in learning more about the students you met on the road—their stories, ambitions and desire to invest their future on your campus. It takes a community to lift a student up and unlock their potential. At the core, access to information can have a profound impact on access to education—all reason to pause, reflect and bring the following into focus in your Slate database:
- Transparency: How transparent are your admissions and financial aid requirements?
- Consistency: Do you consistently communicate these requirements?
- Delivery: How do you deliver this information and to whom?
If you’re thinking those are loaded questions—you’re not wrong! As I reflect on the incredible work that we do at RHB to help colleges and universities tell their stories and engage students, I’m reminded of the discovery and conversations that need to take place beyond technology and outside of Slate. The answers may not come overnight, but let’s focus on some steps you can take to improve transparency, consistency and the delivery of information to students and their counselors–starting with Slate.org.
If you’re an undergraduate admission office that uses Slate, you have access to sharing application requirements, statuses and decisions with counselors and students through Slate.org. Don’t know where to begin? Here are four things you can do today:
- Share application rounds and statuses. It’s simple, it’s free and doesn’t take much time. Navigate to the Slate.org data sharing settings in Slate and update the current application rounds and statuses to be shared. By doing so, you will make current applicants eligible to be shared with their respective school counselors in Slate.org. If sharing data with counselors for the first time is met with reluctance, drop a filter on your application rounds to isolate specific schools. Connect with those counselors, test and get feedback before sharing all eligible applications.
- Share checklists and materials. This will keep counselors and their students on the same page, which ultimately leads to more transparency in the process and timely completion of applications for review. Consider including financial-aid and scholarship-related requirements that you may be tracking in Slate as well. Postsecondary education becomes a reality for more students when they have access to information that helps them to complete requirements, such as the FAFSA. According to data from the National College Attainment Network, the number one reason low-income students did not complete their FAFSA was that they did not know how or that they could. You can help change that by keeping both the student and their counselor informed.
- Share decisions. Due to its unique integration with Slate, Slate.org is the only platform that will allow you to securely share decision data with counselors. When counselors have access to applicant decisions, the time that used to be spent chasing down this information can be shifted to having conversations with students and their families.
- Share an update. Once you’ve updated your data sharing settings, send an email to your school counselor contacts. Explain how you intend to use Slate.org to foster stronger communication through the application and decision release process, including the types of information they can expect to see from your office.
Lastly, sharing data doesn’t begin or end with Slate.org. Don’t forget how the applicant status portal can be used to communicate with students from point of application to enrollment. Are you leveraging the applicant status portal in Slate to clearly communicate the admissions process, application requirements, costs and aid?
It’s not an easy exercise to reflect and go down the rabbit hole of what could have or should have been done differently, but as Alice learned by peeking through the looking-glass, “You can’t change the past, but you might learn something from it.” See the opportunity in the reflection.
If you need help along the way, contact us.