India’s education system is known to be the third-largest in the world after the United States of America and China. What brings life and hustle to this space is the startling number of about 8 million students who look forward to pursuing their higher education in one among the thousand universities in the country.
However, these numbers have not catalysed or forced any change with the structure and practice of admissions in the country that’s tedious for students and institutions alike. It’s offline, manual, and traditional that involves managing the entire admissions on the most primitive means for everything: Papers for forms, DD/Cheques for Fee Payments, Spray and Pray for Marketing, and spreadsheets to manage hundreds of student data and applications.
So, it did not take long for the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic to bring Admission teams across institutions to a complete halt while leaving aspiring students in dilemma. There was chaos and confusion before every College’s Admission and Marketing Team, as their entire action-plan for the year had just become null. It forced them to think upon alternative and innovative ways to keep things going even as they were working remotely to communicate, engage, and equip their prospective students to pursue their interests, application, counselling, and fee payments right from the comfort-and-safety of their homes.
But, amidst this paramount effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Admissions, there were many Higher-ed Institutions from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, who were equipped with the infrastructure and solution to not just consider but actually enable a contactless, competitive, and successful transformation to pivot to the new world order in no time. Leading this change was NoPaperForms, the country’s largest Enrolment Automation Platform that was founded on the principle to transform admissions across the globe.
Getting the control back on ground with Marketing 2.0
“With all our prospective students at home, we had to find a way to take our college to them with our communication and engagement experiences,” says Dr Sourabh Rungta, Director of Rungta Group of Institutions, talking about how they have been able to thrive “with minimal impact in the new world order today.”
“Our admission teams spread all across Bhilai, Chhattisgarh during the lockdown, worked remotely to shape our path in this new normal. What was once planned for the entire year, was no longer relevant. Instead, it became more important than ever to add value and support to our student engagements while equipping all our admission marketing and counselling teams alike for the chaos that had just begun outside,” he added.
Talking about how NoPaperForms enabled them to lead a competitive and a successful transformation overnight, Dr Rungta shared that their counselors were all readily equipped to counsel students right from their phones using the Mobile App while their Marketing and outreach efforts were streamlined more than ever. “We pivoted all our engagement and admission plans to the new world order and kept tracking it closely with our everyday progress on our dashboards. We leveraged Marketing Automation and other innovative means to its best to engage our prospective students: not just on email or SMS but comprehensively with our strategic remarketing campaigns for Google and Facebook but that’s not all. We ensured that we were there for our prospective students when and where they need it; whether it’s our website, landing page or even WhatsApp! With NoPaperForms’ chatbot Niaa, we were able to drive conversations at lightning speeds round the clock and over weekends,” he said.
Down south in Hubli, in the state of Karnataka, Vinaychandra Mahendrakar, Founder & Chairman at Vidyabharati Foundation’s IBMR Group of Institutions shares that he knew that the upcoming session would be “fairly short” as compared to previous sessions. He shares that he realized that it was time for them to “showcase what institutions can do to stay on top of this change.”
He further talks about his experience with NoPaperForms and how they were able to bridge the distance with their prospective students by keeping them engaged throughout.
Rethinking Student Counselling and Admissions
“Any college admission team is familiar with facing uncertainties,” says Sakshi Agrawal, Executive Director at The Sage Group, “but the COVID-19 pandemic brought unfathomable challenges not just to Institutions but the world outside too. I think it was, it is a test of our ability to continually reinvent things. College Admissions as we all have known has been based too much on physical processes whether it’s Applications or Exams but I feel pride in sharing that we at SAGE have been able to make it completely contactless and accessible.”
Ajay Bhasin, Head of Admissions at Sir Padampat Singhania University shares how their campus in Bhatewar, Udaipur was always full of life, bustling with students and aspirants who would come for their counselling rounds and tour the campus to their satisfaction. However, with restrictions in the “new normal” continuing to deliver the same student experience virtually now was a challenge that was to be addressed immediately.
“Our team at SPSU worked relentlessly to rethink our counselling sessions, student application and engagement process to be more efficient and proactive rather than be slowed down by the challenges. Thanks to our collaboration with our Admissions Management Partner, NoPaperForms, we were able to equip our admission teams to do more and beyond; no matter where they are or what device they are using… So, we as a team spent less time connecting the dots and more with connecting students and equipping all our admission teams to spearhead transition to the new normal. The results have simply been amazing!” he said.
A few hundred kilometres away, somewhere in the Sitapura Extension of Jaipur, JECRC University has a similar story. Dheemant Agrawal, Head of Digital Strategies at JECRC shares how manually managing the database gets difficult while hosting hundreds of admissions at their Educational Institution and how they have now been able to channelize things in an efficient way with their admission counsellors and the administrative bodies. “Even in the recent times when uncertainty has become a norm, NoPaperForms keeps on making sure that the admission work process isn’t hindered at all” he further adds.
The Beneficial Shift
Advocate Ramanjeet Singh, the Dean at OM Sterling Global University shares how they never stopped deep-diving into data to capitalize on what’s providing them value and results.
“I think all that is crucial during these times is to understand what the students want to hear about and give them that while ensuring that they don’t have to step out of their homes amidst this pandemic. Applications, Enquiries, Counselling we ensured that everything was accessible and NoPaperForms has been a great force enabling us,” he said while further adding that this transition had enabled them to ensure that their admission teams working round the clock from and around Hisar did more and better than ever.
Whereas Bhasin of SPSU is glad about the collaboration with their Admissions Partner, NoPaperForms because of whom they were able to successfully enable their admission teams. He further shares how the entire team worked closely together to build and strengthen the student experience across touchpoints.
“NoPaperForms has been the catalyst of our Admission’s Story and I think that the collaboration that we have been able to foster with technology and solutions to drive change during this time, would make us resilient to future challenges as we continuously work to strive and realize our goals at our institution here,” he says.
Meanwhile, Sakshi Agrawal reveals how their amazing team at The Sage Group in collaboration with NoPaperForms have been able to overcome all hurdles that could come in the way of a prospective student’s journey to their college. She further also shares how they were able to integrate their exam partners with the platform to seamlessly manage examinations and communicate with students who had made it through in a click. “It is vital to ensure that critical processes continue uninterrupted. It’s a time where we have to support and equip our teams and students more than ever and we have been able to achieve great results throughout,” she concludes.
Founder and CEO at NoPaperForms, Naveen Goyal said “It is encouraging to see how over 300 of our partner institutions across the country are on their path to success even amidst challenges the recent times have brought,” on the proliferation of Ed-Tech at Tier and Tier 3 cities in the country, where this major transition epicentres.
While the disruption might continue for long, it is quite likely that its impact on Institutions as these at Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities might be insignificant. Institutions have discovered ways they could foster cohesion and productivity amidst admission teams of all sorts and kind to scale their efforts like never before. It’s a story that is now common among many more such Institutions spearheading this challenge with a meaningful change.