International School of London, Qatar

Doha, Qatar

Chris Charleson

Head Of School

OpenApply is one of those rare ICT tools that really has made a very positive difference to the way we work! It has revolutionised our admissions office and allows us to focus on the main thing — giving time to individual parents to find the best solution for their children. OpenApply does this by providing a platform that allows us to efficiently and effectively gather information, present it in a user-friendly manner, and then allows us to make the best decisions for children.

Founded in 2008, the International School of London, Qatar serves a diverse population of over 900 students of over 65 nationalities and over 12 languages.

In Qatar, where over 85% of the population is expatriate, the demand for international education is very high and growing. As one of the few schools in Doha to offer the full IB curriculum of Primary Years, Middle Years, and the Diploma, ISL Qatar saw its number of applicants increase from 60 applications in March 2012 to over 800 applications in March 2013.

Why OpenApply?

“Drowning in paper” was how Head of Admissions Nivin El Aawar described the process in 2013. She used a complex color-coding system on her files to track applicants, and the workflow for her team was further complicated as the data had to be entered manually into three separate databases.

Anticipating an even higher volume of applicants in spring 2014, Nivin and her colleagues made the decision in May 2013 to take their admissions office paperless and switch to OpenApply. After initial testing in August 2013, ISL Qatar went live with OpenApply in September 2013. The school no longer accepted paper applications.

Implementing OpenApply

By March 2014, Nivin had over 1,400 applications but had significantly reduced the amount of paper in her office. (All forms were printed only after a student enrolled.) With OpenApply, she and her team had an easier, more streamlined workflow for collecting required documents, communicating with parents, and managing a large volume of applications. The risk of mistakes had decreased. Data was now accurate, centralised in one system, and easily exported.

In April 2014, Nivin also used OpenApply to manage the re-enrolment process, which was significantly smoother because ISL Qatar uses ManageBac to manage their curriculum planning, assessment and reporting. All applicant and student information was now housed in one place, and updates applied consistently so data were always accurate.

Benefits of OpenApply for ISL Qatar:

  • Enhanced communication between the admissions team and parents.
  • More convenient method of collecting reports and documents to complete applications.
  • Easier to collect application fees.
  • Low risk of mistakes.
  • Better appreciation from parents!

International School of London Group of Schools

International School of London Group of Schools was founded in 1972 and currently comprises three schools in London, Surrey and Qatar. Shortly after the Qatar campus implemented OpenApply, the Surrey and London campuses also moved forward.

Despite having smaller campuses and significantly different concerns — for example the Surrey campus tracks enquiries vs conversions very closely — OpenApply has similarly provided a smoother workflow for the admissions teams.

For example, both the London and Surrey campuses have setup Stripe as their payments processor to collect application fees by credit cards only, and are now able to see application payment statuses in real time, eliminating guesswork on fee payments.