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K-State Today

January 21, 2015

New course equivalency Web tool for transfer students now live

Submitted by Amy Perry

The Office of Admissions at Kansas State University unveiled a new transfer equivalency Web tool on Jan. 20 that will allow prospective students to enter courses they have taken or plan to take at other schools and view K-State's evaluation of each course. Students then have the option of emailing a PDF version of their report to an advisor, a K-State transfer representative or even to themselves.

"The new site has some unique features that allow us to better serve not only transfer students, but anyone who has questions about transfer credit," says William Disberger, assistant director and transfer coordinator at K-State, who served as a lead subject matter expert for the transfer equivalency project. "For a transfer student to have access to self-service is a big plus for both students and advisors because it answers the question, 'What should I take?'"

Using an automated algorithm based on course data collected from hundreds of colleges and universities across the country, the tool removes the guesswork for students deciding what courses to take at another institution for transfer to K-State. According to Disberger, what once took students and advisors hours or even days to accomplish is now completed within a matter of minutes, thanks to the new streamlined process.

"About 70 to 80 percent of our new students, including freshmen, have some form of credit prior to arriving on our campus," Disberger says. "Using the new site, they can quickly go through and make a personalized transfer equivalency report."

The Web tool also is designed to integrate with Talisma, the university's customer relationship management software and main recruiting tool for the admissions office. Each student who uses the transfer equivalency tool and chooses to have their report emailed is then added as a new contact within Talisma, broadening and diversifying K-State's recruitment pool.

"Before the new Web tool, the transfer equivalency site was a static experience," says Deana Core, assistant director and transfer coordinator. "While 55 percent of our transfer students come from Kansas community colleges, roughly 45 percent of our students do not. Now we can enhance our marketing campaign for the students we know are coming to our website for transfer information."

Designed entirely in-house, the new equivalency tool is the result of several months of development and a collaborative effort among many campus departments including Office of Admissions, Information Technology Services and the Office of Student Life.

"I am very appreciative of all of the help we received with this project on campus," says project manager Nick Austin, associate director for technology and enrollment management at K-State. "Two years ago, when Jan Elsasser, of the Office of Student Life, and I started the concept, we were facing a lot of hurdles. The turning point was when we brought on board programmer Matthew Watts, who developed a whole new method of formatting both the K-State course data and external course data using a system of numbers, instead of course names."

University staff, students and their families are encouraged to try out the new equivalency tool.

A series of "Show and Tell" sessions will be at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Jan. 23 and Jan. 27 in the K-State Student Union's Big 12 Room. The sessions will last approximately 30 minutes. For more information, please contact Disberger, assistant director, at 785-532-2052 or billd@k-state.edu.