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NIU upgrades communication system to help recruit new students

September 30, 2020

Application process now part of new, improved platform

A brand new communication system will allow NIU to better tailor messages to hundreds of thousands of potential students based on their interests.

Provided through Slate, NIU’s new Student Recruitment Communication (CRM) system replaces an antiquated system used for the past 10 years.

“The old CRM reached the end of its useful life. Slate really is a much better platform,” said John Kearsing, project manager for the Division of Information Technology. “Used by top institutions, Slate was chosen because of all the features it had to offer.”

The culmination of a year-long project, the system not only coordinates outbound communication to prospective students through multiple channels, including emails,  text messages and phone calls, it incorporates the undergraduate application process.

When future Huskies apply directly to NIU, they now apply through the new Slate-hosted application. As part of another new initiative, NIU also receives applications through Common App, a shared application platform which collects standard information on behalf of 900 member institutions in all 50 states.

Since NIU’s Common App and the new Slate-hosted application went live about two weeks ago, NIU already has received more than 2,500 applications.

The transition has been smooth, a tribute to the team involved in implementing the new platform.

“It has taken months of building and testing to make the implementation of these two new applications in Slate a success. But all of that work has really paid off, in the form of a smooth and relatively seamless transition,” said Crystal Garvey, senior associate director of Admissions Systems and Processing.

Along with processing applications, Slate will help NIU communicate with prospective students on behalf of Undergraduate Admissions, academic departments and offices at NIU and more.

Unlike the previous communication system, Slate also will be used to reach and communicate with prospects for the Graduate School.

“We’ve already had thousands of students coming in we weren’t really capturing before,” Kearsing said.

Along with creating prospective student lists by interests, the new platform provides a means for reaching out to future Huskies as they transition to NIU, event registration for campus visit programs, maintaining and collecting student contact information, analyzing recruitment initiatives and more.

“Slate is an excellent tool for NIU faculty and staff to use in the recruitment of prospective students,” said Ted Campbell, associate director of CRM Operations. “It allows us to simultaneously work smarter by streamlining communications while also providing visibility to all of the interactions a prospective student has during their college search.”

College and program advisors have access to the platform to reach out and track communications to students who show interest in their various areas of study and programs.

To request communications be sent to prospective students, please fill out the CRM Request form. Academic programs should check with their colleges regarding Slate messaging requests.