The student journey at the digital campus

Laughing at work

Want to know what a student’s journey looks like as they traverse your institution’s admissions, financial aid and advising departments?

In this post, we’ll follow along with our fictional friend, Andrew, as he starts applying to college and continues all the way through graduation. Join us as we learn how higher education institutions can use technology to make their students’ lives easier.

Phase 1: Admissions and enrollment management

Andrew is a high school senior in his first semester, focused on keeping his grades up and filling out college applications. He’s targeting five to eight institutions as the websites he is consulting have recommended.

He’s nervous. And he has a lot of questions:

It’s a lot to consider. He has tons of marketing material, T-shirts and pennants — and dreams about what college will be like. Now he has to get accepted. He submits his application to your institution … and waits.

Do more with less in admissions

Common App experienced a 22% surge in total applications submitted in 2022, meaning there were more applications this year and applicants are applying to more schools than ever. Many institutions are evaluating a higher quantity and complexity of applications than ever before. Yet not many admission offices are getting the OK to add staffing to process this uptick.

So as an admissions office leader, how will your team handle more applicants with the same staffing and still select the right students?

No matter how you look at it, you have to be efficient and do more with less and accelerate the admissions review process.


For Hyland customers, it’s simple: By leveraging and extending the technology platforms you already have.

Hyland’s CRM and SIS likely know the checklist of items you want to receive from every applicant. By connecting these systems to a modern content services platform (CSP), you can shift to a 100% paperless admissions process that’s faster and more accurate, so Andrew can find out if he’s accepted, then relax and enjoy the rest of his senior year.

> Read the case study | Admissions office eliminates printing 2 million pieces of paper a year

Connect systems and share information

With content services, the process is simple:

  1. Capture and index the documents you receive, and the CRM/SIS checklist automatically updates the documents as available.
  2. Leverage your current technology stack to display the checklist to your student portal, so applicants can check to see if the documents have been received.
  3. Sit back and let your content services system monitor for when that checklist is complete and automatically route completed applications for review to your committee.

This means you can be the first to send a decision letter to Andrew, informing him that he is accepted. That will increase the chances that you are the school he selects.

Phase 2: Financial Aid

So Andrew has decided on which schools would be good matches for his goals and interests and applied to them. He completed all the applications on time — including his FAFSA form — and waited for decisions to arrive.

After a few months, Andrew receives an acceptance letter from one of his preferred institutions. Even better, the acceptance letter includes information about the financial aid award the school can offer him!

But there’s a problem.

When Andrew and his parents were filling out the FAFSA, they didn’t know about the prior-prior year rules and filled out some information incorrectly. Andrew had moved within the past year. Now the “number in household” on his FAFSA doesn’t match what the IRS has on record.

Balance aid, recruitment and enrollment

Today, it’s extremely important to your school’s mission to serve your community and not limit a qualified applicant’s chances of matriculating because of tuition costs.

One of the most challenging puzzles in higher ed is correctly anticipating the best mix of financial aid to attract the best students while ensuring that your institution meets enrollment goals and helps students control loan debt. On top of this, every school must comply with the constant change of government regulations related to financial aid verification.

So what can higher education do to get better?

Get rid of paper

Each student applicant brings a considerable amount of data to your institution, often in a mix of paper and digital documents. Content services can help manage all that data.

The right document management solution will help you decrease your dependency on paper for more visibility into — and the ability to optimize — automated processes that attract and retain students.

With this technology, Andrew’s FA advisor was quickly notified of the discrepancy between what was provided on the FAFSA and what was reported by the IRS. Andrew and his FA counselor updated this information to the IRS, completed his verification and secured the best-possible FA package.

> Read the case study | UT Dallas automates scholarship applications

Connect systems, share information and notify students quicker

By replacing time-intensive, paper-based processes with a content management platform, you can send out financial aid packages sooner, resulting in higher student acceptance rates and more progress toward your enrollment goals. And with a robust content services and SIS integration, you easily connect these systems with your financial aid software system, speeding financial aid verification and award notification.

Institutional verification happens prior to award, so relying on paper puts your school at a disadvantage to others that have embraced electronic documents and processes. With the right content services solution, your institution is empowered to:

Electronically and securely capture specific data like tax transcripts

Create and automate checklists to identify missing required documentation

Easily gather additional information depending on the type of verificationWith paper out of the way, you’re free to find the best students, quickly.

Your institution determined Andrew would be a great addition to your incoming fall class. In carefully evaluating Andrew’s application, you determined his academic record and personal traits would help him likely graduate on time and later become a loyal alum.

With his acceptance letter in hand and a financial aid award on offer, Andrew has chosen to attend your school!

Phase 3: First-year student orientation

Now Andrew starts thinking about and planning for all the amazing classes, activities, clubs, programs and more he will experience in college. As you can imagine, he’s excited about beginning his new life as a first-year student!

It’s no surprise that your institution has the full attention of Andrew and his parents at their first-year orientation on campus during the summer.

Gather critical data for retention and graduation

It’s easy to understand Andrew’s mix of excitement and stress as he starts his first year at your school.

One of your primary concerns, though, is making sure you start things off on the right foot with Andrew by digitally tracking and collecting accurate data for his first-year student profile.

The more you know about Andrew as a first-year student — such as whether he’s a veteran, an athlete, a disabled person, an international student or even the first in his family to attend college — the better his advisor can help Andrew get a good start at your institution.

If students like Andrew and his first-year peers become well-grounded early in their academic and extracurricular programs, you’re more likely to retain these students for their second year and then on to completion of their degrees and graduation.

> Read the case study | Notre Dame improves student retention and completion rates

Manage each student profile

In education, the bottom line is student success. Yet with the amount of important information you need to track and collect on students like Andrew throughout their college careers, paper-based systems and spreadsheets only bog down your team’s ability to optimize the student experience.

Rather than a fragmented view of Andrew’s profile as a first-year student, you need a holistic picture that is accessible and secure across your college or university. By leveraging a single, centralized document repository with case management capabilities, your institution can provide staff with a complete view into the information that deans, department heads, faculty, advisors, coaches and others need to help Andrew succeed at each stage of his college career.

By providing a full view of all student-related information — including data records, documents, notes, conversations, emails and history — the right content management solution can increase productivity and empower your staff to work more efficiently, giving them more time to devote to student service.

Deliver an exceptional student experience

With increased efficiencies across the student lifecycle, Andrew can take comfort he has his institution and its staff behind him every step of the way. That’s what you call student service — and it’s what will help Andrew be the best student he can be as he progresses toward completing his degree at your school.

Find out more about all of Hyland’s solutions for higher education.

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Jasin Kessler serves as an Account Executive for Higher Education for Hyland, the Westlake, Ohio-based developer of OnBase. Jasin is responsible for working with colleges and universities to help them realize the full potential OnBase can provide in areas like: Enrollment Management, Student Services, Academic Planning, Development, and Finance. A member of the Hyland family for more than nine years, Jasin brings a blend of technical expertise along with functional knowledge, consulting with customers to realize the best blend of automation and value.
Jasin Kessler

Jasin Kessler

Jasin Kessler serves as an Account Executive for Higher Education for Hyland, the Westlake, Ohio-based developer of OnBase. Jasin is responsible for working with colleges and universities to help them... read more about: Jasin Kessler