For aspiring Otago Polytechnic students, applying to study (either online or on paper) was a relatively complex and slow process, and often required them to submit additional material in electronic or hardcopy format.
The data collected from the application forms was routed as an email to the polytechnic’s registry, and hardcopy documents delivered to a physical in-tray. All data was then manually entered and recorded against each applicant.
Due to the manual processes required to submit applications to the approvals committee for each school, the time between cut-off and acceptance (or otherwise) for the most popular courses could be months. So, to hedge their bets, students would also apply for alternative courses at Otago, as well as other polytechnics and universities, while simultaneously — and anxiously — awaiting NCEA results to see which courses they’d qualify for.
Applications to study aren’t accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, especially for some of the most in-demand courses, and each course has specific requirements. Naturally, schools want to select the best students for each programme, so they review every qualifying application.
To ensure that they only put forward students who meet course requirements, registry staff needed to manually review, validate, and collate applicants’ certificates and evidentiary documentation. As each school has dedicated resources in the registry to manage their course applications, the workload varied from one person to the next.
Once finalised, each student’s information was printed and added to a manilla folder of fellow learners vying for acceptance into the same course. On D-day, the folders were personally delivered to the applications approvals committee for each school, where aspirants were reviewed and sorted into ‘make an offer’, ‘waitlist’ and ‘decline’ piles.
The final decision list was emailed back to the registry office, and staff would contact each candidate to let them know the outcome, and send an offer where appropriate.