The Importance of Student Information Systems
Every higher education institute deals with a significant student population with varying needs. This compounds with the needs of staff and administrators. They are uniquely difficult organizations to run and must be run efficiently. According to US News, the average private university has a yearly tuition cost of $38,185 in the United States, and the average public out-of-state school costs $22,968.
Students are paying handsomely for their educational experience and providing them a seamless, efficient one is essential to higher education institutes. There are nearly 6,000 universities and colleges in the United States alone; students have options. Educational institutions must focus on giving their students and staff the tools they need to succeed or risk losing ground to competitors.
That is where a Student Information System, or SIS, comes in. An SIS is an edtech software solution that allows education institutions and students to digitally monitor and manage their academics. It is useful in an array of core aspects of the academic process, and students and staff will likely be using their SIS daily. It is an effective student management system with access permissions and controls, making it a safe and reliable solution.
There are many different SIS options available to higher education institutions. One of the top solutions for school administrators is the QLess SIS and Student Management System. QLess is a queue management, appointment scheduling, and Student Information System that has an array of features that work in conjunction to help schools provide high-value academic software to their students.
Let’s explore why an SIS can be a massive asset to a higher education institute and the key areas where it makes a significant impact.
What Does a Student Information System Offer
A Student Information System is a major software solution that helps with everything from admissions to student success. It facilitates and manages key administrative processes, maintains order and organization within a school’s records, and can make universities and colleges more efficient. There is a lot to oversee in a school with thousands of students. Each needs to be on a specific academic track and pay certain fees, and an SIS helps schools manage those and many other processes.
In a relatively short time, SIS have become a major player in the edtech market. The global market size of the SIS industry was valued at $7.41 billion in 2021, according to Grand View Research. However, as more and more universities and colleges adopt this software solution, the industry is set to have consistent growth. The SIS market is expected to have a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 19% from 2022-30 as higher education institutes embrace the benefits of digitization.
The value an SIS brings a school depends on how a school decides to use it. There are a lot of different areas that an SIS can help, including hosting the student enrollment process, making it easy to access academic records, and having different permission to dictate who can see what. But if schools want to keep certain aspects of their legacy systems, they still can.
An SIS is a multi-purpose tool that becomes the primary system for a school’s administration. It makes key academic processes drastically more efficient. They are effective tools designed to make the lives of staff and students easier.
A Centralized Administrative Platform
We’ve mentioned how complex running a higher education institute is. It is a complicated task with so many students, staff, and individual needs. However, it is made all the more complicated when schools use multiple different software solutions to run different aspects of their administrative processes. A single centralized platform has endless benefits that allow institutions to shorten their tech stack and have a single efficient solution that ties together everything from enrollment and admission offices to individual staff and students.
Some of the core features of the average SIS option include attendance, student and program management, gradebook administration, admissions, and more. Many also offer a guardian, teacher, and student portal. This is a single point of access where people with access can make key changes, monitor progress, and more.
For example, the typical student portal has options for checking student records, monitoring academic progress, and editing schedules. It is a central hub that allows students to handle all the administrative tasks they need in one easily accessed place. The same goes for teacher and guardian portals. With different access permissions, each can do different things. Professors can input grades and schedule coursework. Guardians can monitor progress, pay fees, and more.
A single central hub that can handle all these important tasks goes a long way for a school. It makes it easier for staff, students, and parents to find information. It reduces organizational bloat by limiting the necessary software to a central administration hub. This means there is less back and forth and less navigating repetitive tasks and logging in to multiple portals. With role-based access, the right people get the right information, and critical data is protected. It is a secure and fast way for administrations to empower their students and staff to digitally edit and control academic tracks.
Simplified Appointment Scheduling
While SIS makes it easy to handle many core aspects of administration for undergraduate students, some aspects require more face-to-face interaction. Whether this is through in-person advisement meetings or Zoom conferences, not everything can be handled independently. That is why having a high-quality appointment management system is a pivotal part of what an SIS brings to the table.
The QLess SIS utilizes appointment scheduling software that reduces the difficulty of creating and managing appointments. This dramatically improves the ease of access. Easier appointment scheduling gives students a more personalized experience that better accommodates their schedule and helps staff have a more streamlined workflow. This will lead to more efficient academic offices and decrease student dissatisfaction.
Student dissatisfaction has risen in higher education in recent years, especially as tuition prices have continued to climb. A study in the UK showed that students were dissatisfied with the value of their higher education at a rate of 33.8% in 2014. This was a drastic increase from the rate of 18.3% in 2012. The survey was given following the country’s large higher education price hike.
The more students pay for university, the more accessible they feel the resources should be. QLess’ appointment scheduling software makes resources like appointments drastically easier to reach. The features that simplify appointment scheduling include a 24/7 appointment portal that students can access anytime. They can browse available appointment slots and types and choose the time that works best for them.
For staff, having complete control over appointments has never been easier. The appointments are automatically integrated with walk-ins, and staff receives dashboards with clear schedules that ensure they have a complete understanding of their daily tasks. There are also bi-directional communication features that allow staff and students to inform each other of delays, cancellations, and more. With different methods like an appointment booking app, on-site kiosks, a website, and more, appointments have never been more convenient for staff and students.
Improve the Enrollment Process
One of the big determiners of a student’s satisfaction is the enrollment process. This directly impacts student outcomes and can become a major stressor if schools don’t invest the proper resources. Enrollment is an intense time for administrators and students. Many requirements need to be met for each student, like prerequisite courses, major requirements, and time constraints. This can become a logistical nightmare, and for many students, the entire enrollment process is not a fun one.
Having a system in place that factors in the necessary logistical restraints, like the availability of teachers, academic requirements, and time constraints of students will make this process less of a stressful experience for students. Enrollment can often feel like a race against time. It is an administrative process that contributes to anxiety, particularly when the higher education bureaucracy makes enrollment overcomplicated.
61% of university students seeking counseling say they are experiencing anxiety symptoms, according to the American Psychological Association. Stress levels run high at higher education institutions, and administrators must find ways to reduce the anxiety of important processes wherever possible. An SIS can take enrollment from a bureaucratic mess to a smooth, easygoing experience.
An SIS can be the central hub for enrollment. With a student portal enrollment page, administrators can set out the list of classes based on staff availability and create different access permissions dependent on prerequisites and major requirements. From there, students can build their calendars and enroll in classes. If they need academic advisement, which is a consistent part of the enrollment process, the appointment scheduling features make advisors only a few taps away.
A More Accessible Academic Institution
One of the great benefits of digitization is that it has made resources more accessible. Before software solutions managed student information, there was a significant burden placed on students and staff. Overseeing schedules, attendance records, and critical student information required various techniques. Offices would often manage this information separately from one another, and for students to find all their information, it would require contacting offices individually.
This is no longer the case with the increasing popularity of Student Information Systems. Accessing university resources has never been easier. For starters, the centralized student portal allows students to manage their schedules, oversee payments, and submit assignments in one place. But not only are the digital aspects of a university easily accessible but so are the physical. With the QLess queuing system and school scheduling system, in-person meetings are made available with ease.
QLess is equipped with virtual queue software that allows students to enter a line remotely. They can monitor wait times, communicate back and forth with staff, and arrive at their appointment minutes before it is set to begin. This gives students much more freedom to dictate how their interactions with academic offices play out. Rather than waiting in long in-person lines, students can skip lines altogether with smart queue technology.
Access to resources is an incredibly important aspect that partially defines the performance of students. If academic offices and digital information are difficult to reach, many students won’t bother. But if it is easy to schedule appointments, if all necessary academic information is in one place, and if there are no long physical waits, students are much more likely to use the resources schools offer. This will have a likely impact on their school outcomes.
Cut Back on Wait Times and Missed Student Appointments
Wait times and missed appointments are two problematic bottlenecks that are endemic in the higher education experience. They are both challenging for different reasons.
Wait times are a burdensome issue that students find themselves dealing with on a relatively consistent basis. Whether they are standing outside of the office of a school doctor, waiting to have their new student ID printed, or waiting for their advisement appointment, it is an annoyance and a waste of student time. On the other hand, missed appointments are a problem for the staff. They are missed opportunities and disruption to workflows.
These problems are significant for universities and drain staff and students’ resolve. A long wait is a deeply impersonal experience, and when appointments are missed, it is a loss of critical time for staff. A Student Information System like QLess can go a long way toward solving these long-standing problems.
QLess provides academic institutions with multiple tools that solve these problems. Virtual queuing software reduces the need for long in-person waits. Rather than sit in the academic office waiting their turn for an appointment, students can check in remotely and wait where they please. They can still enjoy a productive day and go about their lives instead of devoting a large segment of their day to an extended wait.
For missed student appointments, QLess provides a flexible calendar that allows staff to better organize their day-to-day. If a student misses an appointment, staff can message them on the platform for updates or simply move one of the walk-ins or someone else in the smart queue to the front of the line. With an easy-to-edit dashboard, staff can better manage the flow of students. A smart SIS that helps staff quickly move on from missed appointments can reduce this problem’s impact.
Wait times and missed student appointments are irritating aspects of staff and students’ days. A robust SIS like QLess makes these problems more minute and less frequent.
A Communicative Higher Education Experience
Navigating the bureaucracy of higher education institutions can be an isolating experience for students. Being referred to multiple different offices, unable to access key information, and forced to deal with random holds or scheduling difficulties, are all common difficulties students face. Schools risk students growing disenfranchised with this process and having a worsened learning experience. But communication goes a long way here.
Communication can make all the difference between a negative and positive student experience. Most schools don’t look at students as their customers, but that is the reality, and a lack of communication is a customer service nightmare. Students have other options. According to Tech Jury, 96% of customers agree that customer service plays an important role in their choice of loyalty to a brand. Having a more transparent and communicative administrative system can positively affect student loyalty.
One primary advantage of Student Information Systems like QLess is they open the door to better communication between staff and students. QLess, along with an array of SIS features, is equipped with bi-directional communication for all appointments. This means that rather than emailing back and forth, there is an instant chat feature where students and staff can message in real time. Students can provide updates if they’re running late for an appointment or message staff to provide additional information. Staff can respond, update students on delays, and even send mass communications to an entire line segment.
With the addition of portals using an SIS, there is a clearer line of communication with staff, students, and parents. Each can access different portals, where permissions govern what they can and can’t see and do. So while an SIS presents a much more open academic experience, it does so without being invasive. Students can handle communication with teachers in their portals, teachers can create assignments, and parents can pay bills and view important updates.
The more communicative and transparent academic institutions are, the better the experience will be for all parties. An SIS with extensive communication features like QLess opens the door to a more open higher education institute, which benefits all parties.
Built for Post-Pandemic Realities
The past two years have significantly strained academic institutions, staff, and students. COVID-19 was devastating for industries around the world, and higher education institutions had to completely re-adjust. Education had inherently been in-person, with only a few exceptions. The pandemic forced administrative staff to scramble for a solution. Zoom courses were the general outcome, but this wasn’t enough for most schools. More and more moved toward increased digitization.
UNESCO estimated that roughly 1.5 billion students worldwide were forced into remote learning, and while most have returned to the classroom, the impacts of these changes will be felt for a while still. One of the primary changes is that e-learning and the influence of technology in education have expanded. Technology is now deeply embedded in the learning process of higher education institutes worldwide, and Student Information Systems seems poised to be a big part of the industry’s future.
Several aspects of QLess and SIS are perfect for a post-pandemic academic experience. One of the biggest ones is that they help minimize the amount of in-person contact between school staff and students. While professors will still teach in person at most schools, an SIS reduces the need for academic offices to be filled with students. Enrollment, admissions, payments, and results can be shared in one central space. There isn’t any need for any interdepartmental crossover.
QLess also provides queue management and appointment scheduling software that ensures long physical lines are a thing of the past. While people are getting more comfortable with a physical return to campus, why risk overcrowded lineups in important areas if they aren’t necessary?
Student Information Systems also align with the movement towards a blended digital and physical academic experience. Some aspects of higher education should, and likely will, always remain in-person. However, other things like record keeping, payment processing, and simple communication can be improved with digitalization. This is what SIS and QLess offer.
Every academic institution seeks a competitive edge that will make them a smoother-running business with more efficient practices. One of the greatest difficulties they face is mounting bureaucracy when it comes to everything from enrollment, accounting, communication, and admission management. This burden is dealt with by teachers, students, and administrators. However, it isn’t a necessity.
An SIS is an all-in-one solution that can organize management processes, gather important information, and present it in a centralized system. It is an affordable solution that drastically reduces the excess, disorganization, and bureaucracy burdening many higher-education systems. Student Information Systems offer a primary hub where students and staff can handle many of the administrative aspects of higher learning.
This means students can do things like pay their bills or receive due date reminders. They can check their academic records, enroll in classes, and oversee their day-to-day. Staff can coordinate with students, post work, keep track of student attendance details, and plan their schedules. There are also security and accounting features that make them high-quality payment processing resources.
QLess stands out as both an SIS and line management and school scheduling system. QLess has the features you’d expect for a higher education platform but also additional features that combine to make it a high-impact addition to higher-education environments. QLess has a virtual queue that allows students to check into lines from anywhere, simplified appointment software, and tools that allow staff to oversee and control the entire process. It helps eliminate in-person waits and makes school resources drastically more accessible.
An SIS is a high-impact solution transforming how teachers, administrators, and students utilize academic resources. It is a way for schools to provide a better student and staff experience by becoming more accessible and efficient.