Two distinct strategies were developed to minimize delays in responding to prospective studentes.
The first was to minimize the amount of information which was to be captured on the first contact. The prospect card would capture specific information to permit basic entry into the Integrated Student Inforamtion System (SIS) and to generate an accurate mailing label. A second step in the strategy to minimize inefficiency in data entry of the prospect card was to ensure that the redesigned prospect card meshed with the prospect data entry screen - itself redesigned- to allow easier data entry of information. The collective effect of this first strategy was to increase the rate at which prospect cards can be entered into the system from f20 per hour to 40 per hour. We are now able to respond to prospective students' inquiries within the two week timeframe which was identified as optimal.
The second strategy in this process is found in our response to the prospective student. Upon entry of a prospect inquiry card, a label is automatically generated for the mailing of an information request card. This card, which also serves as our acknowledgement to the prospect, allows the student to identify the type of information which is desired. By allowing the prospect to complete this card in the home rather than in the potentially more chaotic environment of the college fair or high school visit, we believe that prospects are more likely to accurately identify their interests. This prevents them from being deluged with too much information at once and minimizes the cost of printing and mailing exhaustive sets of Penn State information to prospects.
The benefits of this improvoement include more efficient communication with prospective students both in responding to their initial inquiry and in allowing them to specify more precisely their information needs. While a second mailing is added to the process, we believe that this cost is offset by savings associated with more efficient and effective selection of information by the students. Among the questions still to be investigated are whether there are any detriments associated with providing students with an information request card rather than with more substantive information as a followup to the initial contact.
- Anna Griswold, Sponsor
- Geoffrey Harford, Leader
- Mark Rubinstein, Facilitator