I almost decided on the wrong degree!
My friend Edurne wants to grow professionally. She has a sales role in an edTech startup. She is happy but wants to grow like all her colleagues who have business-related degrees. However, her undergraduate degree in Pharmacy is becoming an obstacle to her promotion. She liked her studies but not the jobs after graduation. So, she decided to switch very early in her career. Now, she decided to study for another BA Degree in Digital Business. Edurne can’t afford to leave her job. She decided to study for her degree online, for 3 years.
At an industry networking event last week she met somebody who has been working in University Admissions and he advised her to study for a Master in Digital Business instead. Her confusion is total and she needs to decide on her start in August in the coming weeks.
Deciding on further education is an important decision. It is one of life’s milestones that can’t be turned back. You might get divorced or change your partner, but your education will stay with you for the rest of your life. The university and you are creating a never-ending connection. For this very reason, this comes with a responsibility.
A university should help every prospective student to take the right decision on the program to undertake. Learning about their backgrounds, motivations, and goals should be embedded in the admissions process. Clearly, there should be an alignment between these 3 factors and the intended program. As an educator, there is a moral obligation to assure that their students make the right choices. It might even backfire when they ignore it. Non-advised graduates might end up with a reasonable amount of tuition debt. Because they made the wrong study choice, their career progression is limited. Those students might be vocal about their failed experiences and become a headache for the university.
To prevent this and comply with the moral standards, you can add straightforward elements to the admissions process. These elements will enable a better understanding of the drivers of every prospective student. If the student decides otherwise after the advice, at least the university has done the utmost to provide an orientation to the student.
A resume can easily be shared with the Admissions Team. It can be uploaded to the online application if available, or shared by e-mail with other required documents. The resume provides insights into previous academic experiences and their professional development. It might not state the motivation or the goals. If the intended program is totally off the current trajectory, a quick call or e-mail might help to provide a deeper understanding. It’s not about judging but getting the entire picture.
Interview / Pre-recorded Interview
A brief interview of 15 minutes or less is probably the fastest way to capture all the drivers in one conversation. In case there might be resource constraints, a pre-recorded video requesting an answer to the 3 drivers can be an even faster solution.
You can request the applicant to formulate the 3 factors (and other topics) in a short essay. As it might require some more dedication, it can delay the process, but it adds to the perception of the rigor of the admissions process. As an easier alternative, you might ask these questions directly in the application form.
These elements can definitely boost your understanding of the applicant. You can combine them as you see them fit into your admissions process.
Coming back to Edurne, here is our advice: As she likes what she is doing and is keen to get a promotion, a Master in Digital Business will speed up this process. Graduated with a BA Degree, she qualifies for a Master's Degree. Some Master's Degrees might require work experience but Edurne complies with this requirement as well. A Masters Degree has typically a lower tuition fee and is shorter so that Edurne can save money and time on the way. Edurne can follow the content of a Master in Digital Business. She has personally experienced many of the concepts explained and can connect to them immediately. A BA Degree would start with very basic theories that might seem too trivial for working professionals.
If you wish us to review your admissions process or book our related Admissions Process Optimization workshop for your team, check out our GROWTHshops.