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Technology and well-being in admissions: Insights from a former Admissions Director

Jun 10, 2024 | EdTech

Marko Delić, Head of Marketing at DreamApply, went from wanting to be a child psychologist to becoming a higher education leader. His story shows how DreamApply’s solution can improve student enrollment and admissions efficiency, benefiting admissions professionals’ well-being.

Marko showed early interest in access to education, students’ and colleagues’ well-being.

We all have our starting points. Much like the students nowadays, Marko’s first industry choice changed overtime. 

“When I filed my first admissions application with Washtenaw Community College, I was dreaming of a career as a child psychologist. I was always fascinated by children’s potential, and wanted to be a part of a team that embraces their well-being and success,” Marko reflected. 

As an international student in the United States, he was bound to work on campus. First, he landed a job at the college’s Subway. Between this job and activities, Marko naturally transferred to a job with the student activities and organizations department. This is where he fell in love with everything related to educational leadership, and his career path began to steer away from counseling to more broad, impactful work in higher education.

How did Marko get into marketing and admissions work?

Marko’s vast experience started in student leadership and activities, while his psychology degree quickly supported his transition into student support where he worked with students on academic probation, students with disabilities, and later transfer students who required additional socio-academic support. 

In his first full-time role as a project coordinator for a transfer student program at Eastern Michigan University, he helped build a grant program from the ground-up, market and recruit for it. This is where his new skills in marketing and recruitment shined, bringing him closer to the world of marketing and admissions. Soon enough, he transitioned into leadership roles for admissions and later marketing functions as well.

“This is where I started to notice a change in my well-being. I spent more time in the office, a lot more time eating unhealthy foods, and certainly less time sleeping overall due to always wanting to reach my targets and do better. I gained 20kg in a short period of time; then I lost those 20kg and some more. It felt rough,” Marko shared. 

Image depicts Marko's well-being reflected in the changes in his physical appearance over time working in admissions. Marko’s experiences are common in the industry, and these are the things that DreamApply hopes to solve besides helping institutions recruit more students. What DreamApply solves besides boosting enrollment data includes improving the well-being of admissions professionals. 

Admissions professionals have become adaptable. Despite evident impact on their well-being, these professionals are still standing.

It is difficult to imagine what a day of admissions staff looks like without working in an admissions office. It is not an industry about which children are taught from a young age, nor does a child answer the infamous “What are you going to be when you grow up?” question with an excited “admissions officer!” answer. 

Admissions professionals have become adaptable to different communication styles, personalities, and approaches to meet the job’s goals which are ever-changing. Prospective students, their colleagues, mundane processes, and leadership that often lack understanding for the work, which makes this a challenging job. But the officers are still standing, while these experiences span across the globe.

With a complete admissions software, their success is inevitable. EU Startup News recently discussed whether innovative SaaS solution such as DreamApply can truly revolutionize university admissions, and we are here to complete the story.

How does a complete admissions management software impact admissions professionals?

There is one thing that can help this resilient and hard-working group of people that inevitably impact the world while enrolling next generations of the future workforce, and that is a complete admissions management software.

“My mom used to knead dough for bread with bare hands for more than 16 years that I spent at home,” Marko reflects. “Today, the technology and resources have grown to the point where kneading and baking is automated, bread is available at every corner, and rarely anyone kneads manually still.”

Much like with house chores, tasks at work have seen tremendous progress, and as of the last decade, even in the world of admissions. Some admissions professionals reflect on the impact of digitalization and whether they are still needed in their roles, but much like with the house chores, admissions professionals now have more time to personalize the experience for the students.

With DreamApply, admissions staff can reduce the manual administrative responsibilities and focus on data, personalization, and high-touch communication that today’s applicants require. Our clients have seen anywhere between 20% to 1000% increases in student numbers over a period between 1-5 years. This demonstrates the power of a robust admissions management platform.

It is great to have such capable technology, but the challenge becomes when the process of implementing the technology is misinformed, and there’s no simple fixes to already-built processes.

What is misinformed development and how does it impact the process of implementing technological solutions in admissions?

You can have the best team of tech experts, most experienced admissions professionals, and yet there can be challenges to implement and maintain software to manage admissions. 

“Misinformed development is the biggest barrier to success in admissions offices. Admissions offices are usually given a software to work with, or they are consulted minimally on its development, and due to their lack of tech experience, they miss to share crucial information for the development team. In the end, you get a software with a lot of functions that don’t support the process, and sometimes take away from it,” Marko noted.

To overcome this phenomenon, DreamApply software configuration team is there from the beginning, while our customer service experts are available to support you even past configuration. With more than 13 years of experience, we know what to ask, and how to ensure success from the get-go. We find that the best software is one that works with you, and not against you, and most importantly that it is intuitive and accessible for all involved parties. 

The Benefits of an Intuitive Online Admissions Platform 

Time and again, some of the basic functions in DreamApply are addressed with a “wow,” especially when it comes to the simplicity of the application builder and everyone’s ability to quickly learn to navigate the platform. The software is meant for the people working in admissions, and they should be able to customize it the way that it fits their needs and the needs of the students. This customization capability is a standout feature of a higher education CRM like DreamApply.

Improving Communication and Reducing Frustration 

More commonly, and per Marko‘s experience, the time it takes to make simple updates to an application form, functions, or looks of the platforms can cost the institution a lot of frustrated students. This time takes away from the personalization of the admissions process, proactive communication with applicants, and it frustrates the staff, which is often demotivating altogether.

Overcoming Challenges to Implement Solutions 

There are easier ways to implement quick solutions to daily or sporadic challenges admissions professionals face rather than seeking support from internal IT. 

“I could always find solutions to challenges that applicants or staff report. However, implementing the solutions often took a few calls or emails, waiting for approvals, or this simple task being put on a long waitlist of other tasks that the admins of the system had. Consequently, we were losing applicants, as well as the battle with the ever-changing targets,” Marko concludes. 

Implementing a solution that helps overcome the challenges, provides the admissions professionals with the ability to customize, ensures on-going support from experts, and delivers results for more than 13 years, could help overcome challenges at your institution as well.

We invite you to learn more about us at www.dreamapply.com and figure out why Marko finds that DreamApply gets more admissions done with less effort. 

About DreamApply 

Founded in 2011 in Estonia, DreamApply is an innovation-driven EdTech organization offering application management software that helps more than 300 educational institutions across 40 countries improve admissions, marketing, recruitment, financial aid management and other internal processes. Institutions that implemented DreamApply software have increased student enrollment by at least 30% and reduced up to 40% in application processing time.   

DreamApply offers an easy-to-use and highly customizable software commended by many university staff and students. Our excellent reviews indicate that DreamApply is the solution to many challenges that universities and students around the globe face, as well as a testament to our founders’ dream to improve student access to education around the globe. 

Book your demo today at https://www.dreamapply.com/request-a-demo. 

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