Overview

A technology solution from QLess allows international students at South Seattle College to meet with advising staff in the Center for International Education. Students can access advising services for course enrollment, educational planning, cultural adjustment, visa maintenance, as well as study abroad opportunities for domestic students.

Students are no longer confined to a small waiting area in the Center for International Education; instead, students arrive at their appointment times to complete their business quickly and use the time they save for more productive activities.

“The QLess solution has substantially reduced the congestion in our waiting area, as well as improved the satisfaction of students accessing our services,” said Catherine Creason, Director of International Student Services and Immigration Advisor for South Seattle College. “Instead of spending time standing in line, our students can better allocate their time to preparing for the academic year and engaging with the campus community.”

Business Challenge

As South Seattle College has broadened its curriculum to include more academic subjects and degree options, it has also increased the number of international students attracted to these programs – primarily from Vietnam, China and Saudi Arabia.

“Six years ago, our office was serving the needs of roughly 300 international students,” said Creason. “Today that number has more than doubled to almost 700 students – greater than our waiting area can accommodate, leading to high traffic conditions and sometimes long waits for the services our students need.”

To further complicate matters, student activity at the office predominantly occurs in the first two weeks of the quarter and again at the end of the term. All of the students who access these services would show up at once, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the waiting area and spilling out into the hallway.

Solution

The college implemented QLess in 2014, and Creason said the improvement was instant, with shorter lines and happier students and office staff.

“With QLess we saw an immediate reduction in crowding in our waiting area – students come in for their appointments, we take care of them quickly, and then they’re on their way,” said Creason.

With this functionality, Creason added, employees now devote less time managing the waiting area and more time on attending to the needs of the students.

The QLess solution allows students to schedule appointments in advance via smartphone, PC or tablet, and arrive at their appointed times. Or they can register via kiosks at the office itself, leave to attend class or for other campus activities, and return at their assigned times.

“The system provides updates to students via text or voice messages, notifying them of any changes or delays,” said Creason. “And they can also change their appointment times without losing their places in line.”

Creason said she has been documenting the improvements with the QLess solution and is now sharing that experience with other departments and offices at South Seattle College, and with colleagues running similar programs at colleges around the region.

Results

Through implementation of this solution, the Center for International Education at South Seattle College reported significant reductions in the time students spent standing in line, with a corresponding increase in student satisfaction.

In addition, college faculty and staff were better able to allocate their time to activities that serve the students and enhance education, instead of administering long queues of students. Among the operational benefits were reduced manual reporting and workload, better analytics yielding insights for improvements, and staff productivity increases of up to 49%.

The result: an improvement of the efficiency and economics of campus operations. These improvements from the QLess solution are allowing the Center for International Education to expand its programs and serve more students, ensuring higher student satisfaction and retention.

“The QLess solution has been a fantastic way for our Center for International Education to manage student walk-ins and appointment times,” said Creason. “Using the QLess system gives students control over their wait times and has improved student satisfaction.”

“From the tech savvy to technology newcomers, our international students all love the QLess solution and the ability it gives them to better manage their time and more quickly access the campus services they need.” —Catherine Creason, Director for International Students at South Seattle College

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