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Transforming the admissions process for creative students at University of the Arts London

Last updated: 24/06/2019

Made up of six equally renowned colleges, University of the Arts London (UAL) is a world-class provider of over 200 courses in art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts. Over half of all Turner Prize winners and nominees are UAL alumni.

With graduates going on to work in and shape the creative industries worldwide, UAL understands the value of attracting talented students. Having recently transformed its admissions process using Tribal’s SITS:Vision technology, the university now offers staff and students a seamless experience. But this wasn’t always so…

In 2016, UAL embarked on an ambitious project to replace their outdated student records system. The system was approaching the end of its useful life and senior managers at the University recognised an opportunity to significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall student journey.

The first work strand to be replaced was Admissions. With differing application processes in operation across their six colleges, staff wanted the new system to standardise ways of working. The fragmented data set made it difficult to see ‘at-a-glance’ how many applications at a particular stage in the process the university was handling at any time. This exposed UAL to the risk that applicants would be given incorrect advice and information without knowing exactly which admissions process their application was destined to follow. Ultimately, they knew that this was likely to be impacting the quality of applications from potential students.

Hence, the invitation to tender for ‘Next Generation Student Systems’ (NGSS) programme outlined the need to offer admissions staff a seamless working practices that would transform the experience for students by:

  • Streamlining all processes,
  • Integrating the fragmented data sets, and
  • Enabling more accurate reporting from admissions through to graduation and alumni relations.
  • Using SITS to make the admissions process completely paperless


Trusting in Tribal’s wealth of experience in the HE sector, UAL chose SITS:Vision as its NGSS. Working closely with the UAL to meet the institutions exact requirements, Tribal helped the team:

  • Review processes - drawing on perceived good practice used elsewhere in the education industry
  • Maintain flexibility to retain process as required – e.g. some courses require applicants to upload portfolios to support their application via the integrated interface to PebblePad
  • Tailor template solutions – to implement a best-fit solution in the fastest timeframe possible
  • Transition to new and proven ways of working – ensuring admissions staff were equipped to use the solution and confident in its ability to transform student experience.

University of the Arts London now has a single, configured solution that is used by all the colleges to receive and process all applications.

Tribal’s approach was felt to be particularly successful as it offered the institution the opportunity to benefit from a readily available solution, which was verifiably operating successfully elsewhere, whilst ensuring that faculty and departmental staff did not feel that the system was dictating how processes must operate.

Daniel Barrass, Marketing Business Partner explains:

“We were thrilled to work with UAL on this transformative project. UAL is a world-renowned university and a truly world-class place of learning. We’re proud to be able to support them in nurturing some of the world’s most creative professionals.”

Discover more about SITS:Vision