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NYU Tisch: Performing Arts Custom Admissions Application

The New York University Tisch School of the Arts prides itself on the select group of students it admits to its prestigious institution to earn degrees in dance, design, film, photography, etc. The admissions process involves an intense review of each applicant's academic accomplishments, essays, portfolios and recorded performances, among other things. The faculty is responsible for adequately assessing each applicant's submissions and inviting just the right students into their programs.

Tisch turned to technology, specifically the FileMaker Platform, to help them manage their elaborate admissions process. For years, they had been using a mobile system that had been designed internally on FileMaker Go. Eventually, their system began to struggle to keep up with the ever-changing nature and growing complexity of their work. They approached The Support Group to help them efficiently redesign their admissions system.

Streamline scheduling and evaluation processes

The TSG developers were tasked with alleviating two major pain points. The first issue was scheduling the evaluations, which is a very involved process. The difficulty starts with assigning the right evaluator for the respective artistic discipline to do the assessment. It becomes more challenging when the staff has to match all the evaluators with the different evaluation sessions. It can be a real juggling act, particularly around deadlines for submissions, which is naturally their busy season. This part doesn't even include the work to be done during the evaluation session itself. The faculty is not only responsible for reviewing the applicant's performance but also effectively documenting every minute aspect of it. Capturing the relevant evaluation details was the second problem that the system needed to address.

After reviewing all the ins and outs of their complicated scheduling process, we created a way for the administrators to view an entire week of appointments at a time. Previously, they could only view one day at a time and therefore, would have to toggle back and forth between different days. The simple function of a broad calendar view allows schedulers to get a clear sense of commitments, ultimately giving them the insight they need to balance all the competing interests for time and resources efficiently. Scheduling evaluations moved from being distressing and time-consuming to empowering and productive with the new admissions system.

After we streamlined the scheduling process, it was time to tackle their application evaluation workflow. The goal of the new system was to focus on the user experience and user interface in order to make the application appealing and practical. Using the original system, the staff would spend an excessive amount of time recording preliminary information about the sessions. Several intricate forms had to be completed before they would get to the evaluation details to review the prospective student's artistic abilities. We know  an unfriendly user experience can render recorded data incomplete and inaccurate.

First and foremost, we audited the workflow and removed redundant and unnecessary steps. We decided to add some transparency to the interface by incorporating timers along the way so that users can budget their time and pace themselves accordingly. We also applied validation rules where appropriate to minimize errors. The new features allow the faculty to concentrate on the prospective student and their hard-won talents as opposed to getting caught in an administrative web of forms.

Mobile Bonus Feature

As far as we were concerned, the improved scheduling and evaluation solutions were just the cake for this project. Since this is a mobile system that runs on Apple iPads, we added a complementary mobile component as a little icing on the cake. Evaluators, armed with their iPads, are empowered to help any anxious applicants find their way to their scheduled appointments with a few taps of the finger. Because the database is centralized, users can quickly access information by the applicant's name across the school's varied disciplines and locations.

One critical need was for the solution to be compatible with several new tools deployed as part of NYU Tisch's admissions process. The Support Group's team responded with developing smart features that bridged this gap, allowing Tisch Drama's admissions team to automate certain procedures which ultimately enhanced the overall productivity.

— Greg Chan, Computer Systems Manager

We were thrilled to help this distinguished university create a vision for the admissions team to plan more effectively and implement a mechanism of transparency to thoroughly review artistic talents. We've helped other educational institutions and general organizations improve their workflows with custom solutions.  We've worked on all types of projects, from custom billing systems to inventory management solutions. Learn more about our services and how we develop software applications for all types of unique business needs.

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