We're excited to introduce our new blog for discussing education, technology and design. SlideRoom is part of Learning Machine's enrollment management toolset, so topical posts will be presented there from time to time. Meanwhile, product updates will continue to be placed here. We're interested in contributing to the larger conversation about the importance learning through making and helping institutions achieve change through better data and technology choices.
Adding SlideRoom to your Google Analytics account is a recent feature that launched with SlideRoom's Standard Plan last year. It allows you to see how applicants are finding your application portal and when they are visiting most often. Do they arrive from your email campaigns, tweets, facebook posts, ads, or somewhere else? Tracking referral sources is the best way to discover which of your promotional initiatives are paying off.
Augustana University is a liberal arts college with a significant focus on ensuring applicants attain the professional skills needed to succeed in the job market. Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Augustana serves more than 1,800 students from 30 states and 38 countries.
We're spotlighting them here because they represent a segment of smaller schools that don't get enough attention. The majority of schools in the United States are small and they find the legacy choices for enterprise software are neither affordable enought nor nimble enough to meet their needs.
Last year, Augustana University chose SlideRoom to replace their homegrown network of systems for both Undergraduate and Graduate admissions. This involves streamlining the process for applicants, reviewers, administrators, and integrating with a range of campus systems. We sat down with Augustana’s Pete Roberts to discuss their challenges and their use of SlideRoom to address past challenges.
Many schools are beginning to ask for portfolios from across a spectrum of disciplines, not just the visual arts. These can include music, theater, architecture, science, engineering, film and many other departments. Because of this, larger schools with different departments and teams sometimes choose to have data integration with multiple SlideRoom accounts. This allows each team to function independently during portfolio review.
So how do we also keep the process simple for applicants? While our guide shows a step-by-step process for schools that only have one SlideRoom account, the following is an example showing how USC connects all seven SlideRoom accounts under a single Common App member identity.
For over a century, gatekeepers to elite universities have relied on the same tools to ascertain merit and to shape incoming classes. These have included numerical metrics (SAT, ACT, GPA), detailed application forms, and often an interview to gauge personal qualities. Over this time, “merit” has been defined in various ways. In The Chosen — a seminal history of admissions to the Big 3 (Harvard, Princeton, Yale) —Jerome Karabel outlines how shifting definitions of merit were largely a mirror reflection of those in power — a soft way to keep out certain groups deemed undesirable.
Many schools are beginning to accept STEM portfolios during the admissions process. Yale, MIT, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, and others have made a place for projects demonstrating technical creativity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. About 60% of of those applicants submit designs and videos of apps they've made, so one of the most requested features has been to review corresponding code from Github.
Making is the core of how we learn, solve problems, and arrive at new ideas. It is the cornerstone of innovation and any country’s most precious resource.
In 2014, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recommended more universities and colleges consider implementing a Maker Portfolio in their admissions process as part of a larger effort to expand opportunities for “making” within school campuses. Over 150 schools issued a joint letter to the President committing to this initiative in various ways.
When Sabrina Pasterski was applying for undergraduate admissions, she was rejected by Harvard and waitlisted by MIT … until they saw a video of her building an airplane. Due to Sabrina’s persistence, this video was eventually seen by Professors Allen Haggerty and Earll Murman who strongly advocated for her. “Our mouths were hanging open after we looked at it,” Haggerty said. “Her potential is off the charts.” She was ultimately accepted by MIT, and later graduated with a perfect GPA of 5.0.
Introducing portfolios into the STEM culture of admissions can be challenging, particularly when those departments place such strong emphasis on test-taking. Of course, stories like Sabrina Pasterski’s and the White House's Nation of Makers initiative remind us that identifying a minimum entrance threshold is very different from looking at what applicants have made and finding out what’s truly special about them.
Located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA. They operate the science program for the Hubble Space Telescope and will conduct the science and mission operations for the James Webb Space Telescope. In addition to conducting world-class scientific research, they also support other astronomy, outreach, educational programs.