Banner speeds up grad admissions

Stacy Rhea

Online records make it easier for potential graduate students to track application process

With the advent of Banner, potential graduate students can monitor and track the progress of their applications online.

“Students have 24/7 access to review their records and monitor materials as Research and Graduate Studies receives them,” Assistant Provost Evelyn Goldsmith said.

In previous years, graduate students had to wait for hard copies to be mailed, signed and returned to Research and Graduate Studies before they knew if the paperwork had been filed.

The process was much slower, and according to Goldsmith, the lag time was approximately one month.

“Banner offers a huge advantage,” Goldsmith said. “Information is live within 24 to 48 hours.”

This includes letters of reference, standardized test scores, transcripts, goal statements and writing samples.

“Everything, including documenting the decision to admit or reject an applicant, can be completed online,” Goldsmith said.

According to Joel Hughes, coordinator of graduate admissions and assistant professor of psychology, Banner has been a “real lifesaver” for the department.

“This year was very difficult, probably twice as much work as previous years,” Hughes said.

Research and Graduate Studies received more than 300 graduate applications for the psychology department alone.

“Goldsmith and her staff put fourth heroic efforts to cope with the volume of applications the psychology department received,” Hughes said.

With a Jan. 1 deadline for graduate admissions into the psychology graduate program, RAGS had to put in long hours, working weekends and through the holidays.

“We can all note a great improvement in the system,” biological sciences Chairman James Blank said.

With Banner, graduate coordinators benefit greatly because they too can go online and see the credentials and status of an application (i.e. what materials may be missing, such as a letter of reference).

“Previously, graduate coordinators may not be aware of applicants with incomplete applications,” Hughes said. “For example, one missing letter of recommendation would mean that you would not be notified that they had applied.”

According to Blank, when competing for the best applicants, you need to know as early as possible who has applied. If an excellent application is sitting elsewhere, Kent loses more than a student. The university loses money and additional funds for research.

Although Banner has made the graduate application process much quicker, there is room for improvement.

Research and Graduate Studies will continue to work on the details, but in the meantime, Hughes said, “Dr. Goldsmith is my hero. Without her and her staff, the admissions process would have come to a grinding halt for our department.”

Contact graduate offices reporter Stacy Rhea at [email protected].