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Discover How Salesforce Supports Recruitment and Admissions

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit you'll be able to:

  • Identify the elements of EDA that support recruitment and admissions.
  • Explain the pros and cons of building or buying custom EDA solutions.

Change is a constant, and that's certainly true in the field of education. Advances in technology and societal shifts are driving change and innovation. Alongside the exciting innovations this change is producing comes a set of challenges institutions are being forced to address: the need to adapt to greater expectations and needs of prospective and incoming students; greater competition for a declining student population; funding challenges; and struggles with outdated, siloed systems. All of these challenges affect the work you do in recruitment and admissions.

The face of the new student features a student that voices the following needs: "Engage with me on the channels I prefer", "Make it relevant to who I am", "Make it easy to find resources", "Prepare me for the connected workforce", "Understand me, no matter who I'm talking to", Connect me quickly to the support I need". 77% of students say schools should use more of their personal information to enhance their college experience.
A proactive approach is the best way to solve big issues. When you’re focused on recruiting students, proactively identifying students’ needs, concerns, and interests will lead to more efficient strategies and solutions. This task can feel daunting but Salesforce.org’s Education Cloud will help you tackle it.

In this module we pick up where the Salesforce.org Education Cloud Basics module leaves off (so start there if you haven't already earned the badge for the Basics module). Here we’ll explore how Education Cloud supports recruitment and admissions teams both in the office and on the road. We follow the journey of a recruitment and admissions team at Cloudy College to see how Education Cloud has transformed the way they connect with and support their prospective and new students.

Here’s a quick introduction to the (fictional) institution of Cloudy College and a few recruitment and admissions team members.

  • Cloudy College is a private, coed liberal arts college in the Northwest. Founded in 1964, Cloudy College recently enrolled more than 3,800 students for their fall semester.

  • Marquis Bryant is a recruiter for Cloudy College. He’s responsible for representing Cloudy at college fairs, on-campus events, conferences, and recruitment events both locally and nationally. He supports prospective students with information about the admissions process, including application requirements and deadlines. Marquis assists with the scheduling, planning, and execution on all admission special events, including Student Visit Days, Open Houses, Accepted Student Days, and information sessions.
Note

Note

From large public universities and private colleges to business and engineering schools and online schools, institutions around the world function differently and have their own specific goals. Cloudy College is just one example of an institution using Education Cloud to engage with its students. While your school's needs, structure, and processes may not be identical to Cloudy's, remember that Education Cloud can be customized to fit all institutions and student engagement models. 

An Introduction to EDA

At the heart of Education Cloud is the Education Data Architecture (EDA). EDA standardizes the starting point for educational institutions building out a CRM. It provides a core and common data model that supports the entire student journey. Solutions built on EDA share the same open, flexible and extendable framework that accommodates a range of recruitment and admissions use cases and end-user customization.

With EDA, you don’t just get an architecture. You also get pre-configured objects, logic and functionality, and automation tailored for education right out of the box. In this unit we highlight some objects and functionality that are especially useful for recruitment and admissions teams. However, there’s a lot of exploration to be done when it comes to EDA so check out the Resources section at the end of the unit for links to additional Trailhead modules that dig into the details.

Without further ado, here are a few key EDA objects to get you started.

Application and Test Objects  

With the Application object, EDA makes it possible to track information about a prospective student's application to your institution, from submission through decision. You can also generate reports to see the characteristics of your applicant pool. Let's look at some possible uses for the Application object.

Cloudy College uses the Application object in a few different ways. Admission counselors use it to identify the academic program and the plan of study (for example, graduate or undergraduate) an applicant has applied to. The Cloudy recruitment team uses the object to determine an application's status (for example, Incomplete, In Review, Waitlist, and more) so they can track important milestones in the application process.

Before you create an application, you must have an account set up to associate with it (for example, an account that represents the entire school or a program within a school).

Follow these steps to create an application (Optional).

  1. If the Contact record has an Applications related list, click New from the actions menu. If it does not, from App Launcher ( App Launcher icon), find and click Application and click New.
  2. In the Contact field, select an existing Contact or click New Contact.
  3. Enter all relevant details for your new Contact, but leave the Account Name field blank to ensure that the required Administrative or Household Account is created. Click Save.
  4. Enter all relevant Application details and specify the academic program or major the applicant is applying to. For example, you might choose an Account that has an Educational Institution, Academic Program, or custom record type. Fill in optional fields as needed.
  5. Click Save. Or, if you're creating multiple Application records, click Save & New.

The Test object can associate a test with an application to track a prospective student's completion of required tests. For example, Cloudy has associated the SAT and ACT to the undergraduate application, and the GMAT is associated to the application for Cloudy’s graduate Business program.

Depending on your requirements, you might want to ask your Salesforce admin to add the Tests related list to the Contact page layout. If your institution tracks different types of tests than the ones provided by default, your admin can also update the picklist values for the Test Type field.

Program Enrollments

EDA makes it easy to track a student’s educational journey by keeping a complete record of a student’s program enrollments and course connections. There’s a key distinction to know about in EDA: program enrollments versus course connections.

  • Program enrollments track a student’s connection to an academic program. In EDA, a program is a type of account with an Academic Program record type. A student (contact) is connected to a program through a program enrollment.

  • Course connections track a student’s connection to a particular course.

The New Program Enrollment record for Aiko Lee.
For example, Aiko Lee is a new student at Cloudy College. She wants to declare Biology as her major. For Aiko, the academic program is B.S. Biology, and she’s connected to that academic program through the program enrollment on her contact record. To learn more about program enrollments and to follow along with a step-by-step for enrolling a student in an academic program, check out the EDA Data Management module linked in the Resource section.

Relationships and Affiliations

Relationships and affiliations are two EDA objects that contribute to the 360-degree view of prospective and enrolled students at your institution. When your recruitment and admissions team can track prospective students’ interests, extra curricular activities, and personal relationships in a unified view, they can focus their time recruiting students that are the best fit for their institution. Let’s see how Marquis uses relationships and affiliations in EDA to support student recruitment. But first, here's the rundown on these two objects. 

  • Relationships in EDA represent contact-to-contact connections. When you create these connections, you can also define the type of relationship (friend, family, mother, daughter, and so on), and the relationship status (current, former).

  • Affiliations, on the other hand, connect contacts with other accounts. Organizations like high schools, community colleges, academic departments, administrative departments, and sports teams are represented as accounts, and you connect accounts to contacts through affiliations.

Prospective student Pablo Flores’ contact record with Pablo’s high school (Valley Ridge High School) via Affiliated Accounts and his connections to other contacts via Relationships.
Marquis is doing some follow-up phone calls with prospective students he’s met while hosting info sessions over the past two weeks. Before he calls prospective student Pablo Flores, he pulls up his EDA contact record. Via relationships, Marquis can see that Pablo’s brother graduated from Cloudy College three years ago. And thanks to affiliations, he can easily see that Pablo is a junior at Valley Ridge High School.

To Build or to Buy?

A question facing many institutions starting a Salesforce project for Recruitment and Admissions is deciding on an approach to take. Should your team buy a pre-configured product (we call this a managed package) or work with an implementation partner to build a customized solution? Rest assured, there’s no right or wrong answer here and both options can lead to a successful outcome. What you do want to consider is how well each approach aligns with your school’s needs. This chart offers a quick overview of the advantages of each method.

Build or Buy?
Buy: AppExchange (ISV Solutions)
Build: Implementation Partner (SI Partner)
  • Provides baseline set of embedded processes

  • Independent Software Vendor (ISV) responsible for maintenance, support, and roadmap planning

  • Reduces governance and administrative demands
  • Mix baseline and proprietary processes seamlessly

  • You decide on future innovation and roadmaps

  • More control over governance and administration


While the info above is a great place to start the conversation, a summary chart can’t capture everything you want to consider in making the important decisions around build versus buy. We’ve listed a few helpful resources at the end of this unit to help you dive deeper. Be on the lookout for these in the Resource section: Salesforce for Higher Ed- Find a Partner webpage, AppExchange Basics on Trailhead, and the Salesforce AppExchange.

Another resource for deciding whether to build or buy is the Power of Us Hub community (see the Resources section below for a link to the Hub) where you can ask other trailblazers for recommendations based on their experience. So let’s introduce you to the Hub.

Know Where to Go to Find Help

Since you’re here blazing your trail in Trailhead, you’ve already found one valuable resource available to the Salesforce community. But did you know Trailhead is just one of many ways you can get support and connect with other trailblazers? It’s true!

If you’re not yet familiar with the Power of Us Hub, today’s the day to change that. The Power of Us Hub is an online community for Salesforce.org customers, certified partners, and staff. The Hub is a place for you to get answers, build your Salesforce skills, share your expertise and connect with other members of the Ohana who serve the education sector.

The Home page of the Power of Us Hub features support resources like the Chatter feed and the Ask a Question button.
One way to get answers in the Hub is to consult product documentation. You can find documentation for EDA by searching the Knowledge base (see the Resources section below for a link to the Knowledge base). Documentation answers frequently asked questions and provides step-by-step directions for completing processes for a variety of EDA functionality. Some of the documentation is geared towards Salesforce administrators and can be a great resource for starting conversations with your institution’s admin about settings and customizations that would work best for your team.

The Power of Us Hub Knowledge tab and the table of contents of EDA Product Documentation.
Another must-know resource is the Salesforce AppExchange. (Where can you find a link? You guessed it -- the Resources section below!) The AppExchange is essentially the Salesforce app store, and it empowers educational institutions to extend the functionality of Salesforce. When you search the AppExchange you’ll find a variety of solutions including apps, components, Lightning Data, Bolt Solutions, and Flows. You can filter your search to return results directly related to recruitment and admissions work.
The Salesforce AppExchange search page filtered for Education solutions.
Now that you know how EDA acts as the foundation of Education Cloud, you’re ready to keep learning how Salesforce supports your institution’s recruitment and admissions efforts. 

Resources