Involving Machines in Reviewing College Applications Lets Humans Do What they Do Better

Automation tools give readers and reviewers time for the most important tasks.

Involving Machines in Reviewing College Applications Lets Humans Do What they Do Better

Automation tools give readers and reviewers time for the most important tasks.

New application reading and management software is giving colleges the essential ingredient for a more thoughtful and productive application review process: time. It’s called Decision451, and it’s part of the Element451 marketing and CRM platform. With Decision451, schools can automatically evaluate aspects of application packages as they’re submitted. 

Among other benefits, auto-evaluating applications frees up admissions teams to read essays and recommendation letters more closely. They can also give deeper consideration to how an applicant fits into the class they’re building.

It works by having schools set screening criteria — thresholds for GPA and standardized test results, for example, along with other application data. The program assigns each application a score based on how it matches up with the criteria. That score determines to which step the application will move within the process: for review by a reader or faculty member, for instance, or a message being sent to the applicant informing them that they weren’t accepted to the institution.

Collaboration and Document Management

For admissions teams that choose not to auto-evaluate incoming applications, along with those that do, there are other features to streamline the application review process and boost productivity.

Decision451’s cohort management feature makes it simple to organize applications based on things like term, school, major, and program. Groups of readers and other reviewers can quickly find the applications they’re responsible for evaluating. Applications can also be auto-assigned to readers and reviewers based on things like intended major.

Every document related to an application is also easily accessible. The system serves as a repository for transcripts, recommendations, portfolio materials, and more. This means readers and committee members have everything at their fingertips to properly assess applicants.

Reviewers can also make notes and comments for each application. This helps team members across departments collaborate on the decision-making process. And because it’s a cloud-based system that works on any device, they can work together from any location.


of productivity for information workers is lost due to document challenges


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Reimagining the Decision Package

When decisions are reached, communicating them is seamless. Decision451 centralizes the materials that are typically part of a decision package — acceptance letter, non-acceptance letter, financial aid award — and allows schools to automate how and when they’re sent. This includes by text and printed letters, as well as email and web pages.

Additional Features

Through an easy-to-use dashboard, administrators leading application review efforts control who has access to applications and other functionality. They’re also presented with a rich set of analytics throughout the review. Data on acceptance rates and more are available by program, year-over-year, etc.

And while Decision451 ensures that everyone involved enjoys the ease of contributing to the process online, completed application packages (including notes) can be downloaded as a PDF for printing and sharing.

Want to see Decision451 in action? Get in touch. We have demo days and custom demos to show you how it can help your team.