From Application to Offer

Frustrated student waiting for an offer

From Application to Offer: How long is your university’s conversion time?


According to a study carried out by Net Natives,  the second highest priority right now for HE’s in the UK is conversion between potential applicant and student. Did you know what 76% of applicants expect to receive an offer within 4 weeks of submitting their application and that 28% expect to hear the result of their application within 1 week? Compare this with the average turnaround time of 3 moths reported by universities. It’s important to remember that admissions is a competitive business. 83% of students have chosen their subjects before they consider the location or culture of the university. A postgrad student, particularly an international student, is likely applying to a number of universities and time to offer is an important consideration for them. A student is more likely to accept the first place offered to them.

So why this discrepancy between student expectation and reality? There are lots of reasons: missing documents, missing information, students not responding to emails, applications getting lost in the mix, assessors not knowing when they should be assessing to name a few.

There can be no denying that admissions teams are overworked as postgraduate application rates continue to rise across Ireland and the UK. The solution offered by PAC Apply is automation. Our system of checks and triggers ensures that work is carried out at the correct step by the correct assessor. By automating your workflow your admissions team can have confidence that PAC is working behind the scenes to ensure that all work is being carried out and that your applications are being processed efficiently and in a timely manner, ensuring shorter conversion times and increasing student retention.

For more information or to book a demo with us email

Managing Your Assessment Needs

Allow PAC to plan and manage the implementation of your assessment system.

Introducing a new admissions system, or realigning your current one is a daunting task. At PAC Apply we work with you from day one to ensure that your student applications platform is streamlined to meet your institution’s unique needs, procedures and objectives. We understand that different departments and courses have different requirements; PAC Apply simplifies even the most complex processes to ensure optimum efficacy. PAC provides you with a dedicated project manager to oversee the design and implementation of your new workflow and assessment process. Your dedicated project manager will support you throughout, from the initial needs assessment through to implementation and support.

Our aim is to improve your operations while making life easier for both the assessor and the applicant. The timeframe of the project can be sketched out in five steps.

  1. Needs Assessment: A needs assessment is crucial to identifying what your exact aim is and how PAC can meet that aim.
  2. Workflow design: Once we have ascertained your needs, your project manager will carefully design your assessment workflow.
  3. Training: You teams will receive full training on the PAC Apply platform along with custom made training videos and a fully comprehensible user guide.
  4. When you are happy with the design of your workflow, our expert team will open your user portal for applications.
  5. PAC Apply offers access to our JIRA helpdesk for all our clients so the relationship between you and your project manager will continue after implementation.

Whatever your application and assessment needs, PAC Apply offers the solutions. Book a demo with us today.

Data Reporting with PAC Apply

The third level education market is extremely completive and driven by many factors – course choice, reputation and accessibility to name a few. Admissions to Irish universities have risen by 12% since 2014/15 ( In June 2018, the Journal of Retaining and Consumer Studies published a study which stated that students should be considered as consumers by their university’s marketing strategy. (

At the end of the day, your college is a business and the endpoint should be attracting the highest number of applications you can and translating them into the possible best student population.

Data analysis provides a snapshot of how your University is performing in its admissions processing. You need a robust data reporting system to collate your statistics – for financial reporting, to see what kind of students your HEI is attracting, how long the process is taking, what is your applicant retention rate? By analysing this data, educators can make more informed decisions, increasing student populations.

PAC Apply offers a robust reporting tool that allows your users to extrapolate and examine the data gathered. PAC Apply also lets you create customised reports.

Book a demo with us to find out more.

Greening the Admissions Process

We are all trying to reduce our carbon footprint and it is an important issue for your students. Did you know that switching to the cloud has a huge impact on your company’s carbon footprint? In fact, it is calculated that cloud computing is 93% more energy efficient and has 98% lower carbon emissions than on-site data centres (

Let us consider the paper trail a university application can create. A form that is 4-5 pages long, documents that the applicant needs to provide – transcripts, language competency forms etc; it can be approximated that one single application to a university can run to twenty pages. All this paper will, more than likely end up in your shredder. Moving to a cloud based system eliminates this paper trail, making your college greener and more efficient. PAC apply provides upload fields for all file types within our automated, customisable application form builder.

Universities, among other institutions, promise us a paperless future – so why should your admissions process involve reams of photocopied transcripts, ID and personal statements when all these documents can be stored on the cloud? If you need a hard copy, PAC Apply converts all the documents provided by your applicant into one Pdf file so there is no extraneous paper.

Book a demo with us today to discuss greening your admissions process.

How to Craft a Successful Postgraduate Application

5 Tips for Crafting a Successful Postgraduate Application

A course in postgraduate study is a big commitment, but it is a worthwhile undertaking. A postgraduate qualification increases your employability and can be essential for career progression in many fields. The first step to embarking on postgraduate study is writing a great application. Making any kind of application is a time consuming and stress inducing business. At PAC Apply, we have been supporting graduates with the application process for over twenty years and we have picked up some tips along the way.

  1. Prepare in advance of starting the application process. A large amount of applicants leave everything to the last minute, and while you won’t be penalised for applying on the day of the deadline, scrambling to get everything submitted on time will only increase your stress levels! Check the requirements before you begin your application and have your documents ready. You can assume there are certain documents that will be required – undergraduate transcripts, a form of ID and a  personal statement. All the information you need is available to you online. Remember colleges and ITs want you to apply and they want you to be successful, so always reach out if you need help or advice.
  2. A common query we hear from applicants is why the application form asks for certain information. You may want to list all of your previous work experience but the form only has space for three examples. You may have several references that you wish to include, but the form only asks for one. Keep in mind that the admissions office knows what they are looking for. The college does not need to know about every job you have had, they only want to know information that is relevant to your application. Tailor the information you are providing to show your interest, experience and motivations for undertaking further study in your particular field.
  3. If you are applying to a research masters or PhD, make contact with a potential supervisor before submitting your application. You may not be able to submit your application without having secured a supervisor in advance. Do not just pick from the staff list on the department page of the colleges website! Look into the potential options and make sure you areas of research align. It is going to be an important relationship so put in the work in advance.
  4. Write a great personal statement! Think about what you want to say, what your motivations are for further study and keep it professional. A personal statement should outline your academic achievements to date. It should not be an autobiographical letter full of anecdotes. Outline how your proposed course of study will improve the university and what you hope to achieve from the undertaking. Check the website of the college or IT you are applying to, they may have published guidelines to help you construct your statement.
  5. Proof read everything – this may sound like basic advice but we often get panicked emails from students who realise they have made an error in their application after submitting it. Have someone else look over your application as fresh eyes can often spot something you miss. Simple grammar or spelling errors really can make the difference between acceptance or rejection.

A confident and clear application is the first step to embarking on a successful course of postgraduate study. It it worth your time and attention.

Good Luck!

Returning to In-Person Learning and Teaching


After a long 18 months, Irish colleges are set to re-open for in-person learning from September next month. Tens of thousands of students will arrive on campuses, some for the first time even though they are in their second year of study. What will it look like for these students? How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect student life this coming academic year?

Studying and academic activity are deemed as essential and as such lectures are set to resume without vaccination checks. It is, however, being reported that lecture sizes will be reduced – NUIG is putting an eighty per cent limit capacity on classes larger than 100 students. Mask wearing will be mandatory for lectures and trips to the student bar will be subject to the current hospitality guidlines.

While remote learning has been hailed as the future – the soft skills students learn by remote learning will certainly stand to them in the workplace, surely there is no replacement for the social on campus experience.

It will be an interesting experience for all those returning to in-person teaching and learning in colleges across Ireland and we wish them all good luck.

What Makes a Great Online Application Form?

Your application portal is often the first point of contact a student has with your college. To that end a clear, concise and well laid out process is integral to attracting applicants and that starts with your application form. You may be using a paper form or requesting applicants to apply via email. This will feel outdated to your potential students and it is much more convenient for them, and your administration team, to move your form online. This also ensures you can request all documentation you need and not have to chase your applicant for more information at a later date. 

So what makes a good online application form?

In a world where most of us use our smartphones or devices to fill out online forms, consider simplifying your application form. Asking for too much information can frustrate the applicant, especially if the information seems unnecessary.

Your college knows the profile of the students you hope to attract so build your application form to suit this profile. Why ask for details of past work experience if the work is not relevant to the course? Providing too many fields on your form can also result in the applicant providing superfluous information that you do not need and then have to sift through.

Applicants will use different kinds of file formats to upload their documents. It is vital then that your online application form is robust enough to allow for uploads of all file types. PAC Apply converts all files uploaded to Pdf for the convenience of your administrators. 

You may allow applicants to apply to more than one course at a time. The applicant does not want to answer the same basic questions twice over. PAC Apply’s custom drag and drop form builder allows answers to questions such as address and phone number to be carried over to multiple applications. 

A clear and concise application form ensures that your admissions offices gets all the information they require and nothing extraneous. 

The Benefits of Automated Workflows


What can an automated workflow do for your business?

Every project your team complete has a workflow, whether you have officially created one or not. A good workflow is a great tool for any business when it comes to cutting down on extraneous work, by identifying and eliminating “busy” work, and ensuring that all pending work ends up on the right desk. While it may seem to be a positive for employees to appear busy, often looking busy requires more energy than actual work! According to a research study, companies can lose up to between 20 and 30 per cent efficiency due to inefficient work practises. A strong workflow can remedy this by streamlining your workload and assigning the right task to the right person at the right time.

At PAC Apply we create customisable, automated workflows, developed to fit your existing process. This helps your business cut down on waste – energy, time and your paper chain. By streamlining your business process, you improve your business performance. The PAC Apply platform can be used for higher education admissions, recruitment, LEAN business models, and works seamlessly alongside any existing software or CRMs your business might already have in place.

A workflow is simply the series of steps your work process goes through and can be defined in four points.

  • What needs to be done?
  • Who is responsible for the task?
  •  How long should it take?
  •  How should the task be carried out?

Our workflows help you identify your workload and prioritise tasks. We set up trigger notifications for your team so they can reduce extraneous work, producing the results you want to see.

1. Identify: A good workflow highlights the most important aspects of your process and identifies the most efficient way of completing the task. By clearly defining the role/task and assigning it to the correct staff member, your automated workflow ensures task always end up on the correct desk.

2. Prioritise: Although it may seem like multi-tasking is a good thing, the truth can be quite different. Studies have found that it can take time for employees to mentally shift gears between tasks and that it is more efficient to complete one task before moving on to the next. Having a workflow in place prevent extraneous work being carried out, as the priority task is clearly defined.

3. Trigger: The PAC Apply platform is set up to assign the right person to the right task on your workflow. This means that when your employee has work to do, they receive a notification. They simply complete their task and check the box to progress the task along the workflow, cutting down on the danger of micromanagement and uncertainty among your team.

4. Reduce: By identifying and prioritising our essential tasks we can reduce our workload. An automated workflow removes the need to organise your workload daily/weekly. It can be estimated for example, that your average paper college application can run to over twenty pages between emails letters back and forth. An automated process takes out the need for this chain of contact and streamlines the process, making it easier for both your team and your customer. Automating your workflow cuts down on human error as every task is mapped out in in order.

5. Results: An automated workflow creates results – they reduce time and energy spent, help your team prioritise tasks and ultimately improve performance and productivity. You will find by establishing an automated workflow, your teams’ efficiency will improve and you will yield better results.

If you would like to see a demo of how PAC Apply’s bespoke, automated workflows can improve your business performance click here or email

What to Consider Before Choosing Your Admissions Platform

What are the key factors that Higher Educational Institutions should look for, what’s optional, and what’s a must have for your HEI?


To get the best out of your admissions platform, it’s good to consider what your expectations are and what system can best meet them. Admissions is a complex business, and each institution has a variety of needs and requirements. What is important to you might be of less significance to your colleagues in another HEI. A strong admissions platform should provide these various needs to all its clients, no matter how intricate they may be. Between 2000 and 2017, university admissions almost doubled. Ireland has an increasingly highly educated population, and our high standard of education means that more and more international students are looking to study here – 14,142 in 2019 (Irish Examiner). These increasing student numbers mean that you need a robust and dynamic admissions platform. But what should your HEI consider when choosing that platform? What is important to you and your institution and how should your chosen platform reflect this?

Assessment Consistency

In the modern global education market thousands of students apply for universities in Ireland. Assessing and evaluating these applications is time consuming, and when stretched over various departments and administrators, mistakes can be made. It can be hard to maintain consistency across the board. Look for a platform built on a system of checks to help achieve consistency and results.

Green Admissions

We are all trying to reduce our carbon footprint and this an important issue for your students. Did you know that switching to the cloud can have a huge impact on your company’s carbon footprint? According to a report from AgileIT it is calculated that cloud computing is 93% more energy efficient and has 98% lower carbon emissions than on-site data centers. Let’s consider the paper trail a university application can create; it can be approximated that one single application to a university can run to twenty pages. Moving to a cloud based system eliminates this paper trail, making your college greener and more energy efficient.

Applicant Accessibility

HEI applications require a lot of information. Not all your applicants will be tech savvy and so it’s essential that your application forms are clearly laid out and user friendly so as not to deter any potential students. Your platform should also support a variety of document types. PAC Apply can support documents in fields as varied as jpg, excel, word documents– and we convert them all into pdf files for your convenience. You can even view the entire application as one pdf file.

Data Reporting

pac apply dashboardData analysis provides a snapshot of how your University is performing. You will need robust data reporting systems for all kinds of things – for financial reporting, to see what kind of students your HEI is attracting and how long the process is taking. By analyzing this data, educators can make more informed decisions. A good platform should provide options to report the data gathered in various formats – charts, pdf files, and PowerPoint presentations.

Payment Portals

Does your university require a deposit to secure the applicants acceptance? Consider a platform that can facilitate this payment for you through their portal, saving your fees office time and effort.

Multiple Users

Perhaps your HEI runs courses that take place off site or in collaboration with another college. Chose a platform with experience in creating application forms that can be used by multiple colleges. PAC Apply have years of experience overseeing the Professional Master of Education system, wherein students can apply to multiple universities thorough one form.

Support for System Users

When you first install a new platform you will need a strong support team available to your administers AND your applicants. You should chose an admissions platform that looks out for your students and is there to answer any queries about the process they may have. A strong support team for applicants also frees up time for your admissions team to focus on their tasks.


PAC Apply can offer your institutions these options and more; we are a modern, secure and green admissions platform.  At the end of the day, your college wants to attract more students. A modern, accessible and easy to use platform ultimately attracts more applicants, increasing your enrollments.

Why not book a no obligations demo with us today and see how we can improve your admissions platform.





Student Recruitment and Retention Strategies

Covid-19 Student Recruitment and Retention

Strategies to Help Universities Minimise the Impact of Covid-19 on Higher Education Revenue Streams

COVID-19 has caused a paradigm shift in the academic calendar of educational institutions globally. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review states that “more than 1.6 billion students have been affected, representing over 91% of the entire global student population”. An article on RTE News revealed that factors such as the collapse of international student fee income, rental of on-campus accommodation and commercial revenues is expected to cause major financial setbacks for universities between the financial years 2020 and 2021. The biggest question posing third level institutions across the globe is what the current situation means for student recruitment, admissions and retention in a world that will not return to the old “normal”. This is particularly the case for third level institutions in Ireland and the UK that rely heavily on income from international students.

PAC_Infographic-Covid19The current scenario is forcing educational institutions to think differently to find effective ways to attract new applicants and engage current students through effective online learning. The demand for online learning has skyrocketed over the last few months. In April 2020, there were 10.3 million enrolments in courses on Coursera, up 644% from the same period last year.

Many universities have put in place a system of online workshops, classes, talks and Q&As to enhance their support for students during these unprecedented times. As online learning becomes the new norm moving everything to the cloud is now more crucial than ever. Having the right technology partners that can complement and integrate with current and future systems will be key. Below we have summarised different methods and strategies that third-level institutions can follow to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on student recruitment, admissions and retention.


Shortfall in the number of international student enrolments

Due to travel and hygiene restrictions that are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future there have been rising concerns that international students will be unable to travel to the countries they would prefer to study in. Universities will need to work extremely hard to appeal to international applicants given the severe competition in the overseas segment of the student market, known for its potential to generate high revenue.

However, the decline in international student enrolment could lead to more opportunities in the domestic student segment. A greater proportion of domestic school-leavers than ever before may try to enrol in higher education. Additionally, those who find themselves unemployed often seek to upgrade their skills or learn a new discipline – a factor that will increase demand for Postgraduate courses. Institutions can focus on tailoring their admissions efforts to target and appeal to domestic applicants which may help recoup some of the loses from international student revenue.

Focus on online/virtual recruitment drives

As students spend many of their waking hours online, universities should consider investing in targeted PPC adverts on search engines, advertise in student/education specific websites and social media platforms. Embracing virtual technologies to host virtual open days, campus tours & Q&A sessions will allow prospective students to visit your campus using virtual reality software and will greatly add to your online recruitment efforts.


Universities can consider altering their business model to include new and expanded course offerings that can be of value to international and domestic students alike. Increased options for online certifications courses, summer courses, short courses for the local community with flexible learning options on a pay-as-you-go model can result in increased enrolment.


Automate your admissions process

Investing in a solid student applications portal that is hosted in the cloud, that is easy to use for both administrators and students alike can help your institution save time and money automating the admissions process. PAC Apply’s fast, effective and easy-to-use interface can speed up and simplify the application process by improving prospect data capture, streamline enquiry management and provide seamless applicant support.


Adding a “personal touch” when communicating with both current and prospective students could go a long way when it comes to student engagement. A video message from the institution’s Dean/President outlining the rationale behind decisions that are made along with the measures taken by the university to maintain its academic standards and mental well-being of students would be well received. Such personalised marketing content can be branded and promoted across multiple channels (email, web chat, and social media) to generate more awareness and visibility, and help build trust with students and their families.


There is no doubt that maintaining student engagement is of utmost importance right now. During these unprecedented times, it is important that third-level institutions remain committed to their values and mission to offer high quality education (no matter the platform) while focusing on the health and well-being of its staff and students.

Focusing on Online engagement

Having a robust IT support system along with a multi-purpose student portal equipped with all the necessary tools and academic resources is essential to support their online learning experience. A strong IT system enables students and staff to readily access academic materials, online lectures, make/view submissions, view timetables and fosters effective communication between fellow students and teachers, all through a centralised repository.

Leveraging the power of video

Covid-19 has seen the boom of Zoom and other video conferencing software which are widely being used for conducting live classes, faculty meetings, student clubs & society meetings and also to interview prospective applicants. Leveraging video and remote meeting tools to deliver trainings, career and academic success workshops can help strengthen engagement and build a strong link between students, the faculty and the institution.

Personalised communications & student support

During these tough times priority needs to be given to making a personal connection with students. As learning moves online, students have less contact with the physical institution which makes it harder for them to access the support and resources they once used and require. As such, it will be important that the faculty provides adequate attention to all their students through constant communication via email, social media and webchat. This will ensure that students feel secure and reassured about their educational journey.

Apart from academic support, institutions will need to provide unrestricted online access to other areas of student support such as counselling services, disability services, virtual support groups and services to promote the mental health and well-being of students. Additional training on leveraging campus technology and software to the maximum can also be given to current and new students. Such services will ensure students are fully supported in a new learning environment.

In conclusion, Covid-19 has had an enormous impact on the global education system almost overnight. Although there are uncertainties and factors that cannot be controlled, it’s not too late for institutions to take the necessary actions to ensure they are best equipped to face the challenges associated with the pandemic. Through forward thinking, a willingness to adopt new technologies and long-term planning; educational institutions can minimise the impact of the pandemic and emerge stronger than before. This is just one step along the journey towards a new educational revolution.

Download infographic here