University of Rochester

Rochester's Admissions Office Develops New Web Apps for the Social-Media Savvy Student

November 18, 2011

As the 2011-2012 admissions cycle gets under way, the University of Rochester now offers two website innovations designed to provide high school students with more information about the University and the admissions decision-making process.

"Both websites give social-media savvy students three things: increased online information, immediate response, and transparency," said Jonathan Burdick, dean of admissions and financial aid at Rochester.

ROCRes showcases 3D models of residential halls and 360 views of select dorm rooms with a video game-like feel. While it's not intended to replace the traditional campus tour, the site serves as a tool for those who cannot visit campus or are applying from abroad, said Burdick.

Created in-house by graphic designer James Arnold and Flash developer Dainius Jasinevicius, the site is Flash-based and can be accessed from PC computers and tablets, as well as most mobile platforms. ROCRes goes public on Friday, Nov. 18.

For students who apply to Rochester, application software updates now allow them to track their application at each step of the process. Rochester ran the software as a pilot program during last year's admissions cycle.

Students can log-in to a personalized account to see updates on their application, starting with the information on which sections of the application still need to be completed. When the official review process begins, students will see the name, photo, and email address of the first reader of their application, giving them the opportunity to connect with the counselor, pose additional questions, or talk about the next steps of the process. Students then see their application pass along through a second reviewer on to the admissions committee and, finally, they can see when a decision regarding acceptance has been made. While the site will not tell students the admissions decision, it will notify them that a letter has been sent.

Satyajit Dattagupta, director of enrollment communications and admissions counselor, who spearheaded the creation of the new system, said that unique visits to the application website doubled after the pilot version was introduced. "This is really an example of how small changes to a process can create big effects," Dattagupta explained.

Additionally, Dattagupta reported that counselors have noticed better informed students and parents when they call and email with specific, targeted questions. "The system has helped us erase some of the uncertainty associated with the application review process," he said. "Instead of feeling as if their application has been sent into a black hole, students can feel confident that they've fully completed their application and that it is progressing."

For more information about the Undergraduate Admissions, visit http://enrollment.rochester.edu/admissions/.




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