Project Description

Admissions Committee Review

During admissions season, schools will organize groups of faculty and staff to review candidate information, and decide to whom they will offer admission. This process has typically been paper-based and did not tie into the Blackbaud Enrollment Management System (EMS). We sought to change that.

  • New Feature

  • User Research

  • Low-fidelity mockups

Project Overview

– Candidate summary (high-fidelity mockup)

– Candidate review (high-fidelity mockup)


The committee review process has traditionally involved gathering candidate information in a manilla folder, passing a groups of these to selected committee members, and then meeting once all the reviews are complete to compare thoughts. The admissions manager would then make the final call, and enter the decisions into Blackbaud EMS. This process was difficult to manage, and required committee members to transport and rely upon large stacks of paper.


The goals of this project were to improve the experiences around creating committees, reviewing candidates, and making decisions. We wanted to keep what was working well for schools (communication between committee members, flexibility in who review, etc.), give them more candidate information to work with, and allow it all to be done in Blackbaud EMS.

Research & Design Process

The early research involved meeting with admissions staffs, conducting surveys, and running a discovery session at the 2017 Blackbaud K12 User Conference. To help consolidate our learnings, I created a user flow doc with areas for the discovery participants to record insights.

See User Flow Doc (PDF)

The lo-fidelity prototype I created in Balsamiq Mockups evolved as we learned more through user interviews and usability tests. It also served a the basis for the Axure RP interactive prototype I created later in the process.

See Lo-Fi Mockups (PDF)

To communicate the full experience of admissions committee review, I created storyboards in Sketch. We used these in user interviews and to communicate the design with others at Blackbaud.

See Storyboad (PDF)


– Candidate summary (production build)

– Candidate review (production build)

Launching the Committee Review Feature

We initially released our Admissions Committee Review feature in 2018 through the blackbaud Early Adopter Program (EAP). This allowed us to continue learning from our users and iterate on the design before a general release.

Now fully released, the Admissions Committee Review feature allows admissions staff to create committees, determine how the evaluations will look, assign candidates to specific committees, and track the review process.

The feature gathers candidate information on a single page for reviewers, and allows them enter their reviews, and easily navigate to the next candidate on their list.

The resulting reviews are then presented in a dynamic SKY UX list, which allows the admissions manager to sort, filter, and determine which candidates will be offered admission.

See Release Video (YouTube)