Baylor Launches New Online System for Undergraduate Applications

May 13, 2005
Admission Services and ITS Internet Services today launched a new online application for undergraduate admissions as well as a series of improvements to the Baylor admissions website, www.baylor.edu/admissions.

"Our current system has been adequate, but really lacked flexibility," said Jennifer Carron, associate director for information systems in admissions. "As the number of applicants has increased and length of the recruiting process has increased the current system has struggled to keep up with our needs."

In the Spring of 2002 Baylor deployed it's first major online facility for undergraduate admissions through a system purchased from a third party. Staff in admissions and ITS have been working for several months to develop and deploy the new system.

Brennon Arnold, web programmer/analyst in ITS Internet services, developed the majority of the new system. Arnold rewrote the Graduate School online application in 2004, and that system served as the basis for the new undergraduate application.

"The underlying system is very similar to the graduate application, but the specific needs of the two systems required quite a few changes," Arnold said. "The sheer number of applications puts a demand on the system that required different solutions. I would imagine that we'll port some of the enhancements back to the graduate application at some point."

"Because recruitment of students for 2006 and beyond is already underway, the new and old online applications will be used together for a short period of time," said Randy Woodruff, director of Internet services. "We'll complete the fall 2005 incoming class of freshmen and transfers using the old system, but everyone planning come to Baylor after this fall will be using the new application."

Jill Buckingham and John Hoffman, programmers in ITS Information Systems and Services, developed the interface between the new system and Baylor's implementation of Banner. "Closer ties between the online application and Banner really simplifies our environment," said Buckingham.

Along with the new application, several areas of the admissions website were updated with new graphics and navigation, including the home page and top-level pages.

"The new front page and a number of other pages are much more appealing," said Mary Herridge, admissions counselor. "They now reflect the themes of exploring Baylor, discovering academics, and experiencing student life in ways that are more fun and interesting."

In the next few weeks additional features of the new system will be released including upgraded capabilities for prospective students to check their application status and enhanced capabilities for high school counselors to check on students who are applying from their schools.

For more information, contact Woodruff at Randy_Woodruff@baylor.edu or Carron at Jennifer_Carron@baylor.edu.
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