How SAIC Uses SlideRoom to Streamline IT Infrastructure for Admissions

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers nationally accredited undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate programs to more than 3,500 students from around the globe. In 2007, they were one of the earliest schools to adopt SlideRoom for portfolio review. Since that time, they have grown into using all of SlideRoom’s evaluation features for admissions review. Most recently, they have used SlideRoom's integration with the Common App's Scheduled Delivery Service (SDS) to receive applications and corresponding materials directly within SlideRoom.

This article is about how they use these tools together to create a low-cost, streamlined IT infrastructure for admissions processing.

Prior to the Common Application/Slideroom integration in 2013, getting all of our application documents into one location was a laborious venture. Slideroom has revolutionized SAIC’s admission process by consolidating review materials onto a single platform, reducing handling of physical documents by 88%, and allowing us to accommodate a 38% increase in applications in the past three years.

-Michael Langhoff, Associate Director of Enrollment Communications & Operations, SAIC

The Complexity Challenge

As background, many schools juggle multiple systems and struggle with getting data everywhere it needs to go. For instance, they may send admissions data directly to their Student Information System (database) and related document imaging systems. However, these types of systems were not designed for easy viewing and evaluation. More importantly, they were not designed to be a data-quarterback between various systems. They were only designed to protect data. This conflict has resulted in a proliferation of cost, complexity, and frustration familiar to every school.

The Simple Solution

The willingness of SAIC to change their process, in regard to data flow, has enabled them to dramatically reform their IT infrastructure. Rather than have data go directly into a heavy and rigid database, they are sending all data and documents from Common App directly into SlideRoom for review. The Common App first ensures all relevant materials are consolidated and then SlideRoom provides a modern interface for reviewing all of these materials. And SlideRoom’s robust APIs and export options ensures all data and documents automatically flow through to their Oracle database so they are always in sync.

The power of this flow is that it keeps everything in one place for every stakeholder each step of the way. Applicants can submit everything in one place (Application, test scores, references, etc…). Then administrators can review everything in one place, without having to move around data or jump between systems. Finally, the database gets everything it needs in a clean data format on a continuous basis. Everybody wins.

SlideRoom's Common App SDS Integration

Utilizing Common App’s Scheduled Delivery Service (SDS), all application materials are loaded into SlideRoom where they can be assigned to reviewers based on rules, evaluated, and searched based on criteria capable of using any data in the system. The picture above shows 4 conditions that SAIC has chosen to show a particular group of applicants, combining Common App data and SlideRoom evaluation data. The resulting list provides a summary of those applications and corresponding evaluation data. Of course, this grid can be customized to show other key pieces of information.

When reading an application in SlideRoom, all of the documents from Common App are displayed within a reader that can be immediately viewed online, on any device, without having to download or open them. This includes academic evaluations, transcripts, essays, and the application itself. Because everything has been converted to html, text can be copy/pasted and links can be clicked.

Further, because of SlideRoom’s exclusive partnership with the Common App, portfolios are automatically merged to the correct application, so SAIC doesn’t have to worry about matching records later - it just happens automatically.

Finally, SAIC has used SlideRoom’s export template builder to ensure the easy flow of information out of the system. All of the data in the system is represented in the grey sidebar, and they simply drag over the fields they want. The white area represents the column headers for the resulting report. These can be renamed and arranged to ensure the data comes out exactly as needed for manual exports and/or for the API to deliver straight into their Database.

Next Steps

If your school is a Common App member and would like to use SlideRoom for reviewing those applications, visit our Common App Guide to learn more. Common App member schools receive a SlideRoom Standard plan at no cost (a $2,600 value), you only pay for submissions. Simply request a consultation with an account manager to get started.

If you're a Common App member and a current SlideRoom customer, it's easy to turn on the Common App SDS integration.

If you need any help along the way, one of our support staff will be happy to do this with you. It only takes a few minutes and setup is free!