How Uversity is optimizing the college admissions process through data

Uversity and Dropbox for Business

College admissions can be an intimidating and confusing process for even the most well-prepared students. But both universities and prospective students have the same goal: to find the best fit.

This process has looked more or less the same for decades, with students physically visiting handfuls of colleges and universities reviewing thousands of applications. But one startup set out to improve this outdated and impersonal exercise, with the help of predictive data.

That startup, San Francisco-based Uversity, knew that applicants who have a chance to see what campus life will really be like typically enroll at higher rates to universities that are a better fit for them. That’s why Uversity uses real-time data to help colleges and universities improve enrollment and retention rates — while giving prospective students the comfort they need to make the most informed choice.

Using algorithms to crunch large volumes of demographic and behavioral data, Uversity predicts which prospective students are most likely to enroll in (and stay at) their partner schools, so those schools can identify the right candidates. And with five million students across 140 partner schools (like Washington State University and Columbia College Chicago), Uversity has built an online community where students can interact with future classmates and admissions officers, to learn more about the university and campus life.

But performing these predictive analyses requires the ability to store and share massive volumes of data, and Uversity had no central repository for its information. Staff members initially resorted to storing data on local hard drives and sending files over email, but the team realized they needed tighter control over their information — especially as the startup grew.

“Our data was very fragmented,” recalled Operations Manager Meghan Strauss. “Not everyone had access to the files they needed. There was no visibility into our file-sharing environment and no security over our proprietary information. It was like the Wild West.”

They knew there had to be a better way. After evaluating multiple solutions, Uversity decided on Dropbox for Business — and they quickly saw a difference. “Dropbox for Business has brought our team together,” explained Strauss. “Our employees can access the exact information they need. And from a business perspective, we know our data is secure and always available to us whether we’re working remotely or in the office.”

With Dropbox for Business, the Uversity team no longer has issues accessing and sharing large files, especially because Dropbox’s LAN sync feature reduces the time it takes to update and share files within the same office network. So now the marketing and sales teams can quickly download and share large multimedia presentations and webinars; finance can easily access spreadsheet archives, sales contracts, and partner agreements; and the product team can work with large volumes of data without issue.

“With our large files and everyone working on a wireless network, availability could be a big issue for us,” said Strauss. “But Dropbox for Business does a great job of managing bandwidth and transferring data.”

Plus, the fact that Dropbox for Business is easy to use means the company can save on training costs. “We’ve never had an IT person on staff, and Dropbox for Business lets us maintain our do-it-yourself approach,” says Strauss. “We can keep resources lean and use our capital to invest in product development, sales, and marketing.”

With data storage taken care of, Uversity can spend more time focusing on their mission of helping students find the best college experience. “Dropbox for Business is an indispensable part of our daily lives,” said Strauss. “We don’t ever have to think about it, so we can focus our attention on what we do best: helping students make the right college decisions.”

To see how Dropbox for Business can help your team be more efficient, try it free.