If your institution has already invested in Slate as a CRM tool for managing your prospective student applications at the undergraduate level, it is vital for your team to take advantage of Slate’s free platform, Slate.org, to engage with high school counselors and encourage application completion. Below we will tell you more about why this tool is so useful to high school counselors, information on setting up Slate.org, and how this tool will help your admission team in a short period of time.
Slate.org from a High School Counselor’s Perspective
Let us spin you a tale of two different Mondays as a college counselor.
Imagine a Monday morning in a college counseling office. The pennants are hung cheerfully around the room and dozens of college-branded pens are tucked neatly in a cup. It’s a lovely place to start a work week.
However at 8 am, the quiet is interrupted when the phone rings. An angry parent asks you, the college counselor, why you haven’t sent Benjamin’s transcript to Kennedy University yet. Benjamin received an email from Kennedy that his file is not complete and he’s in danger of missing the early application deadline! Your mind quickly races to Benjamin’s applications. You are pretty sure that you sent the document, but did you miss something? You pull up his file and see that you did, in fact, send the document 2 months ago. Putting aside any of your other plans for the morning, you guarantee Benjamin’s parent that you will call the college straightaway to clear up the document issue. You’ve been a college counselor for some time now, so you feel pretty sure that they simply need to reclassify the document on their end. That turns out to be the case after 20 minutes of being forwarded through the chain of friendly admission professionals.
Now imagine a different Monday morning where the office stays silent. A handful of your students applied to Slate College this year. Unfortunately, Slate College seems to have lost all of your students’ transcripts. However, in this case, when you logged into Slate.org last week, as you do on a semi-regular basis to check on all your students, you noticed their transcripts were still showing as not received. Right then and there, you uploaded each of their transcripts through the Slate.org upload tool. Parents and students never needed to stress because they never got the email about an incomplete application. Your Monday continues to be nice and quiet.
High school college counselors across the country have some iteration of this tale every week, especially with schools closed due to Covid-19. They are not able to engage with students as regularly as before and tools like Slate.org are crucial to providing timely and accurate documentation and information about student admission decisions.
Slate.org from an Institution Set-Up Perspective
What does the narrative above mean for your Slate team? We think that the second scenario probably sounds a lot better for you as admission professionals and for your high school counselor contacts! But you might be asking yourself: Is it an onerous task to set up and share all this information with high school counselors? Is it customizable or are you truly sharing everything you know about a student with the counselors?
The answer as usual with Slate is that it is both flexible and customizable! Typically the set-up takes less than an hour. Our suggestion is to gather individuals in the room (Zoom or in-person) who have the authority to make decisions on what can and should be shared to high school counselors, as well as what wording should be used. Examples would include a Director and/or Assistant Director of Admissions and potentially a Communications individual. You will also have to have this conversation with an operations individual who has security permissions in Slate as he or she is the person with the power to turn Slate.org settings on and off.
Your institution can choose to show the following things with counselors based on specific application rounds that you have enabled to be shared:
- Application Status
- Material Upload Options
- Released Decisions
All four of these objects that can be shared with high school counselors can be customized by your institution. For example, you may not want to share the application status of “Awaiting Confirmation”, but you do want to share “Awaiting Decision”. This is possible. Or let’s say you want to share when someone is “Awaiting Decision,” but you don’t like that status wording. You can change it to be shared as “Decision Pending” or “Under Review!” The same idea applies to the Decisions module of Slate.org. Your decision names might be too revealing or might not reveal enough. You can edit the Shared Name that the high school counselor will see when they log into Slate.org so that it is very clear what has occurred and been released onto the students’ records.
Checklists have a few different options. You can choose to keep the checklist hidden from the counselors, or you could share it openly. You can also decide to share the checklist, but then hide it if you have released an “unshared” decision.
When you are thinking about what objects to share via the Slate.org tool, the more you share with counselors, the more useful it will be to them!
The Case for Slate.org and Counselor Portals
Of course, not every college admission office has invested in Slate so the question of turning on Slate.org is moot.
However, when a high school counselor logs in, they see the over 400 schools who have invested in Slate but have not enabled Slate.org.
When your team is brainstorming how to better engage your high school counselors, this is the way!
Here are our four reasons to consider turning this tool on:
- Decrease your admission professionals’ call times with high school counselors who are checking on documents.
- Give high school counselors visibility to admission decisions to better support their students.
- Increase completed files by giving counselors visibility into what is missing for their students and allowing them to upload those documents through Slate.org.
- Help high school counselors free up their time to help your prospective students find the right fit.
BONUS: Your high school counselor contacts will be very happy!