Graduate Admissions System

Graduate admissions systems move to Slate

As part of the larger effort to replace or integrate our current student systems with Workday, the provost and deans have approved a recommendation to unify many of the systems used in the graduate admissions process. The decision aligns with the goals of the Student Sunrise project to simplify, streamline and standardize key academic and student-focused processes, where possible. It also reflects the project’s guiding principles to improve the experience of students, faculty and staff, and reduce administrative burden.  

“We believe that the selection of Slate aligns well with the mission and overall strategy of the Student Sunrise project. Consolidation enables more consistent, accurate and complete student and academic data throughout all of our schools.” 

Beverly Wendland, provost and executive sponsor of the Student Sunrise project

The decision follows months of work to assess the needs of various programs and explore many system consolidation options. The project team also assessed that Workday’s admissions functionality does not yet meet the unique needs of graduate recruitment, making the use of a third-party system the best path to consolidation. The team interviewed seven peer schools, including Vanderbilt and Rochester, to understand their experiences with different admissions systems. 

The Graduate Admissions project team believes that each program’s unique needs can be met through Slate. While some compromises will need to be made, reaching consolidation will be a significant advantage for the university.  

Textbook and Graduation Cap

“While a large undertaking, transitioning to Slate for graduate admissions will simplify our future transition and integrations with Workday’s student product,” says Cathy Freesmeier, associate dean of graduate student services and member of the Academic Foundations & Admissions Campus Team. “During the review process, the committee noted that the capabilities and flexibility of Slate will best meet the needs of our diverse graduate applicant processes. The move will engage schools to discuss best practices and provide common data points across a disparate number of rating agencies and accreditations for institutional analytics.” 

The current plan is to implement Slate in two phases over 18 months. Phase 1, which will occur between January and September 2022 will focus on PhD programs, McKelvey School of Engineering, Brown School, and Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. Phase 2 will take place between November 2022 and Spring 2023 and include the School of Law, Olin Business School, and the remaining programs at the School of Medicine, such as Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. At this time, the MD program and University College are out of scope but could transition to Slate in the future.

Some programs, such as Law and Occupational and Physical Therapy, leverage common application systems that all peers use. To remain competitive, this project will not replace those systems. Instead, these programs will use Slate in addition to existing systems to enhance functionality, increase reporting and enable better data.  

Project pre-planning work has already begun and project funding is secured. The project team is in the process of identifying a working core team and developing a project charter. Project kickoff is scheduled for late January 2022. 

Learn more on the Graduate Admissions Systems Consolidation project page.