Columbia University

Teachers College

Columbia University’s Teachers College was having difficulty dealing with their prospective student requests. Their current system of data harvesting was leading to a lot of redundant and unnecessary information inundating the admissions department. Prospective students were having a great deal of difficulty in choosing the appropriate programs for their particular course of study, and the immense cost of traditional print media was causing them great difficulty.

The solution was to create a VDP (variable data publishing) system to handle the production of customized high-quality print media, customized to the needs of each individual prospective student. The system begins with a series of forms that connect to the VDP engine. Once a prospective student submits their information, a series of functions sorts that user based on their browsing selections within the website and choices made within the form. This allows Teachers College to specifically target each student by addressing their personal interests and needs on a one-on-one level. From localized information for out-of-state prospectives, to specialized combinations of course catalogs, these dynamic brochures became far more hand-tailored and effective than any the university had used previously.

The system runs entirely within a 4.x LAMP environment, with AJAX and PHP’s built in PDF generation components. Over 12,000 unique visitors used the system within its first year, gaining 365 new prospective student inquiries with 5.60% conversion rate.