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Ohio Dominican Maximizes Efficiency with Salesforce for Recruiting Students

The Dominican Sisters of Peace founded Ohio Dominican University (ODU) over a hundred years ago in the heart of Columbus, Ohio. Compared to neighboring schools like Ohio State University, ODU is considered relatively small with its 2,600 undergrad and graduate students. Like many private, independent schools across the country, ODU is highly tuition-dependent. About half of ODU’s undergraduate students are first generation, and Pell grant eligible. Resources, therefore, are limited campus-wide.

With this in mind, Fred Lassiter, Chief Information Officer, posed the question: “How can Information Services be relevant and a strategic contributor?” Staff and faculty frustration with legacy data management systems was no secret. For admissions in particular, no cohesive student recruiting system existed. Declining enrollments due to demographic shifts and increased local competition exacerbated the problem. “We needed improved tools for counselors, better metrics for managers, improved processes for applicants, and more students,” said Lassiter.

After attending Salesforce’s 2013 Higher Ed Summit in Detroit, ODU saw an opportunity to invest in industry-leading technology that could help. Because of Salesforce.org’s Power of Us program, ODU received its first 10 licenses at no cost, which gave ODU the opportunity to test-drive Salesforce with little risk. Starting with graduate admissions, the school began implementing the new tool to streamline admissions processes and create a single approach for recruiting graduate students. The most important upfront need for the graduate admissions team was a new landing page. Using Salesforce, ODU was able to create an online application that feeds data directly into Salesforce and creates a record for recruiters to work out of. This has eliminated manual processes that included Excel and paper forms, significantly saving recruiters time per application. Having a single system of record for tracking contact information, conversation history, and application statuses has also given time back to recruiters, allowing them to focus on more prospects. “Our graduate hours are up 35 percent for next year because of some of the things we’re now doing with Salesforce,” said Lassiter.

The successful Salesforce implementation within graduate admissions has spurred both interest and adoption in other departments at ODU as well. The Adult and Continuing Education program is currently in the process of using Salesforce to create an online application similar to the graduate application. Plans for both undergraduate admissions and athletic recruiting to implement the tool are also underway. “Salesforce has been low-risk, high-reward for us. We’re excited to learn what else we can be doing with it,” said Lassiter.

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