From initial interest to graduation, Radius allows colleges to manage a student’s academic lifecycle

lifecycleresizedIf you work at a college or university, you probably know the letters LMS pretty well.

Learning management systems, like Blackboard and Canvas, are software applications that allow faculty and administrators to offer course materials, track grades, and help manage student finances all online. But at Spartanburg Methodist College, those letters are starting to stand for something different: lifecycle management solution.

At about 800 people, Spartanburg’s student population is small. Its staff is even smaller.

“We have four recruiting personnel here and we recruit over 500 freshman,” said Mike Queen, director of admissions at the college. “Other admissions offices have large staffs. Many counselors at larger schools are responsible for 50 students. Our counselors are responsible for 100, 150. One works with 250.”

It was becoming apparent, Queen said, that the old systems the college had in place for admissions weren’t going to cut it any longer. They turned to a new platform called Radius for help.

Radius, developed by Hobsons, is a suite of applications that allows administrators to start collecting information from — and interacting with — students from the second they indicate they’re interested in a college.

(Next page: Radius can do far more than just help with admissions)

“From the student perspective, they fill out a form and are immediately dropped into Radius and we start working with that student,” Queen said. “From the administrators’ perspective, it handles everything from initial student interest to managing our daily workflow in the office. It carries us all the way through when that student registers for academic classes at orientation.”

After that, the student becomes a part of the more standard learning management system the college already uses. But in the future, Queen said, Radius will be used to track students all the way through graduation, helping to improve retention.

In fact, while Spartanburg is not using it in that way quite yet, Hobsons’ hope is that colleges will use it to track and manage a students entire academic lifecycle. Hobsons calls the process “student lifecycle management.”

“The first question was ‘how can we help our institutions find the best fit students,'” a Hobsons spokesperson said. “Socially and academically, which students are a good fit for the culture and the environment? But then we were also looking at, once we get students through that first part of the lifecycle, how do we make sure they stay there, all the way through graduation?”

For now, Queen said, even just using Radius for that initial first step in the student lifecycle has led to enormous improvements for college administrators.

“It’s like we added additional team members,” he said. “We’re processing applications and rendering decisions sometimes in less than 48 hours. It’s just changed everything for us.”

Add your opinion to the discussion.