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Computing & Information Services Newsletter
Automated Ms/ Phd Application System
     
  Process Steps
Comparison of Old and New Ms/PhD Application Process
Process Improvement

Before automation, graduate program/doctorate applications at METU were made using application forms. There were difficulties of this system; applicants had to come to university to make application, they could not be aware of the results unless they have contacted to the department or taken the result letters. Moreover, since the application information was not kept in a central place, there were conflicts on the information kept in different places, the same information was entered by different units (student, institute, departments, Registrar's Office etc.) more than once, and there were difficulties in accessing the information. Finally, all these handicaps were inhibiting the continuity of the process.

The new system is a web-based system that starts with preparation of system by institute and filling of the application form by applicants and ends with letters send to the applicants by institute. Figure 1 is the name and order of the process steps, you can find brief explanations of these steps in following section, Figure 2 is Ms/PhD application system before and after automation, and last section explains improvements on the process.


Figure 1: Process Steps of masters/doctorate application system

Process Steps

First of all, Institute enters last application date, and then defines programs that will take application and degree, such as masters, doctorate, and second education masters, of each program. Also the preparation of the web page and the announcement on the web address is in the responsibility of the institute.

Then Applicants fill application form. They notify two basic information; the applicant profile information and the information of the program application. "Applicant Profile" information should be entered once, however being a program specific, information on "Program Application" should be entered for each applied program. In applicant profile information applicants are expected to give information about their "Personal Profile Information", "Academic Information", "Graduate Examinations", "English Examinations", "Employment Information"; while in program application part they give, "Program Information" (program name and degree to be applied), "Recommendations" (the people who recommend the applicant to METU), the "Letter of Intention" of the applicant and the "Support" type which the student demands from the University.

Finally, the applicant "Freeze"s his/her knowledge. Whenever student clicks freeze button, system checks the application for completeness, if all of the information is not completed, system does not let the student to freeze the application. After application(s) freeze, application information cannot be updated or deleted, and the working copy of application form turned to final copy. Then the final copy of application form is printed and signed by the applicant. The form should be brought or sent to the institute with required documents. It is the turn of the institute again.

Institute controls the documents such as English examination result/application, graduate examination result/application, transcript, references and application fee. If all of these documents are checked for completeness, system gives permission to the institute to approve the application, unless application cannot be accepted.

After all application files- application forms and related documents- are taken by institute, and they are send to departments to be evaluated.

Departments make decisions on applicant. The applicant can be ACCEPTED, REJECTED or taken to WAITING status by the department. If department accepts the applicant, it enters accepted semester, accepted year and assigns advisor to applicants. Whenever applicant accepted, METU identification number is given to applicant and registration information created automatically. Moreover, department can make the necessary changes (update) on the grades.

At the end of the evaluation procedure, as a final stage, all the applications are submitted to institute committee. If the institute committee accepts the application, the applicant is a METU student, and an acceptance letter is sent to the applicant. If the application is not accepted, a letter, which tells the applicant the conditions that are not fulfilled, is sent. Letters are prepared by the system for each applicant, including necessary information and addresses, institute prints and sends those letters.

Comparison of Old and New Ms/ PhD Application Process

Figure 2: Ms/PhD application system before and after automation

Process Improvement

The main purpose of this project was to increase productivity, make life easier, overcome the geographical distances, reduce the human related deficiency, decrease the workload of units and decrease the load during form submission. In fact, there is noteworthy decrease in workload and improvement in process after automation of the Ms/ PhD application. Some of these improvements are:

  • Some of the processes are eliminated:
    • Once data entered to the database by applicant, it has used by all parties, so there is no need to enter the same data over and over again.
    • One copy of the application information already exists in the system; so no more need to take and to check second copy of the documents.
    • Registration info is automatically created. So the enter registration info process by register's is also eliminated.
  • Closely monitoring process status:
    Whenever information entered to the database; departments, institute and registrars' office will be able to reach it, and they will be able to follow up decisions of other departments on applicants. Following the information of the applicants will be easier and more secure. Moreover, applicant can follow up all steps and his/her last status.
  • Overcome the geographical distance.
    Being a web-based system, applicants do not have to come to the university for application.
  • Some of the processes are transformed from sequential to parallel.
  • Reduced process time.
  • Decreased human work.
  • Reduced paper consumption.
  • Speeded processes.
  • Decreased queue during form submission.

The project will continue with thesis protocol entrance and thesis advisor assignment, thesis jury assignment, thesis committee assignment, and integration of this new system to the "Student Affairs Information System".

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