CRM Could Have Saved 500 Apologies

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Higher Education admission errors in the news


There is no room for “oops” in higher education. A Toronto university learned this recently when it sent acceptance letters to 500 students by mistake.  “Congratulations!” read the letters, “you are being offered admission...” The next day came the retraction:  “You recently received an offer of admission email... Please accept our apologies—we made a mistake…”

Social media wasted no time excoriating the school. Students tweeted their shock and displeasure immediately, complete with photos of the acceptance and apology letters, garnering thousands of retweets. Some made reference to Steve Harvey, who is still smarting from having announced the wrong winner at the Miss Universe pageant. Oops.

A mistake like this is an immediate stain on an institution’s reputation. It’s unprofessional, embarrassing, and worst of all, puts students on a cruel emotional roller coaster.

Unfortunately, incidents like this aren’t uncommon and many schools have made similar errors. Texas State University, Carnegie Mellon, Vassar, John Hopkins, and UCLA are among the unwitting members of this dubious club.  And the way many admissions departments currently run, blunders like this may be inevitable. Huge influxes of applications, tired staff, and a combination of manual and automated procedures conspire to create the perfect storm. One wrong button and hundreds or thousands of mistakes can occur in an instant.

So what can a school do to avoid this? The solution is a new and highly specialized adaptation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM called CRM Education (watch the video here).

Configured to work with an institution’s student information system, CRM Education reduces the need for human intervention, automates tasks, and positively shuts down any possibility of large-scale error. At the heart of CRM education is a powerful decision engine that creates and deploys custom PDF’s based on predefined criteria. A false acceptance simply can’t happen when CRM Education is in place, because the system automatically evaluates hundreds of criteria for each applicant. And its utility goes far beyond mere error prevention. It will greatly increase an admission department’s efficiency: costs go down, admissions staff are freed from manual labour so they can focus on making decisions, applicants are recruited faster, and the student experience is greatly improved. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive, and integrates with Microsoft Dynamics, Click Dimensions, and the school’s current SIS.

Say no to oops. Say yes to CRM.

Greg Kligman is Business Development Manager at CRM Dynamics, a company that specializes in implementing constituency relationship management systems (CRM) to help higher education institutions optimize their recruitment and admissions processes. He can be reached at

by CRM Dynamics Ltd.


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