It’s Time to Prep for Admission Season: Here’s What You May Have Missed

August 3, 2020 Sarah Bienvenue

A school admission officer talking to a family on the phone and looking up their account on a computer.

Yes, it may seem like you just put a bow on what could go down in history as one of the most difficult and unique admissions seasons ever, but it’s time to start reviewing your admissions processes for next year. Blackbaud Enrollment Management SystemTM had several releases this past year that you may have missed during these unprecedented times. We understand. So, take a deep breath and check out the system’s new features that will help you and your team hit the ground running for the next admissions cycle.


Let’s start with contracts. We added several new features and capabilities to our contracts including:

  • When a contract is processed, a pdf version is automatically created in the system to "lock" the contract and prevent changes; the contract is also now archived and deleted after seven years.
  • New column options were added to the Contract lists, including Date of Birth, Current sending school, Processed Date, and Race; Race and Middle Name column options were added to the Candidate lists. 
  • Parents can now view and print contracts that were manually submitted
  • When parents view or print their files, they will now see a message saying that the contract has been manually accepted by an administrator
  • A Not Returning block has been added to all contract form types; this is an optional field, but admissions staff can change it to a required field on their contracts; families who are not returning to your school for the next academic year can indicate this here and submit the contract without paying the deposit; once a family indicates their child is not re-enrolling, their contract is flagged so that it stands out from the others.
  • New filters to help you better sort through candidate data such as: School program, Interests, Inquiry form name, Sending school name, Community connections, Contract status, Candidate decision, School decision, and Checklist name.
  • We have overhauled the Assign Contract Types list to offer a better user experience

Inquiry Forms and Applications

The number of custom options available to admissions offices increased this past year. Enrollment managers can now add customized questions anywhere on an inquiry and application form layout with a new Custom Candidate Fields block. If you add the block more than once on the same form layout, it will keep the fields that have already been enabled on the other custom candidate field to prevent dupes.

Admissions staff can now also add conditional logic to custom fields questions, and choose whether questions will appear or go away based on a yes or no answer, allowing for a more streamlined application and better parent experience.

Some other new capabilities that will make managing inquiry forms and applications easier include:

  • The ability to collapse the Interests block by category and by default for a more streamlined application.
  • The option to hide future checklist steps based on whether or not a single checklist step has been completed.
  • A new setting that allows you to turn on printing only answered fields.

  • The new Candidate list fly-out feature makes it unnecessary for you to go back and load a new page to tab through multiple candidate records with the new Candidate list fly-out feature; when you select a user from the Candidate list, a panel will appear with their details and the functionality to move to the next or previous candidate record.

  • Applicants can now upload files when they begin the application process through the new File Upload block available on Application forms.

  • And last but certainly not least, Online Candidate Recommendations are now available for a fully paperless process; candidates begin the recommendation process by sending a request to their teacher who receives a form; the teacher can then answer questions and fill out a matrix that allows for a rating of the student; the form will show in the processing center and in the candidate record; the same rating matrix can also be used in Committee Review.


Candidate Checklists

A huge improvement for our schools is the new functionality to customize the Candidate Checklists step reminders and follow-up notifications that are sent via email or text. These features enable admissions teams to stay in front of candidate families, heading off questions and creating a better overall experience with timely communications—all without any additional workload after the initial setup.

A screenshot showing how to customize follow-up notifications in Blackbaud Enrollment Management System.

Student Checklists

Blackbaud Enrollment Management System schools now have the ability to assign checklists to current and incoming students and parents, providing a list of items for them to complete before the start of school.

Committee Review

A bunch of updates were made to Committee Review:

  • Admissions managers now have the ability to choose which tiles show to committee reviewers
  • Reviewers can now choose to share their narrative review in real-time without submitting their review
  • School forms can now be added to the files and forms that show to the reviewer
  • Reviewers can fill out a ratings matrix


If your admissions office also works closely with financial aid and tuition, you will notice a few important changes.

  • Tuition can now be assigned based on School Program, International/Domestic, and Boarding or Day instead of just the grade level
  • Parents now only see the remaining months left to pay tuition instead of the entire year if they are paying through a Blackbaud Tuition ManagementTM payment plan

  • Candidates and their families are now able to view their financial aid award under the Decisions tab


Enrollment managers can now see which Official notes have been unread with a new filter, and unread parent responses are now coded green. You will also notice a new column called CC email for the Candidate list.

Candidate Record

Candidate Records weren't left out of the improvements! These enhancements include:

  • Admission managers can now have more than one attachment for a single sending school
  • The Assign Contract Types list was overhauled to provide a better user experience
  • A financial aid award placeholder was added to the parent decision tab
  • A notification history tile now shows on the candidate record
  • Configurable gender and race options are now available on the inquiry and application forms
  • Email was added as a username formula to the username generator

Please let us know what you think about these updates in our Blackbaud community.

About the Author

Sarah Bienvenue

The product manager for Blackbaud Enrollment Management System, Sarah has been a member of the Blackbaud K-12 team for seven years, serving a variety of roles in support, services, and product development. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, three beautiful children, and three crazy cats.

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