Baylor University switches to Kira Talent to create a more effective and fair admissions process

The Doctorate of Physical Therapy program at Baylor is innovative and streamlined. With Kira, it now has a holistic admissions process to match.

The Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) program at Baylor University is the first of its kind. A unique hybrid program, Baylor’s DPT offers students the opportunity to get their doctorate in two years instead of the traditional three.

The hybrid form allows for students and faculty to live anywhere in the world while participating in the program. Students complete rotations consisting of 8 weeks of online courses followed by a trip to Baylor’s campus in Waco, Texas for hands-on labs. This innovative program structure has become the model for programs across the country that are looking to add the flexibility offered by digital courses. 

But while innovation is an essential part of the Baylor DPT program, their admissions process wasn’t living up to that standard.

Several years ago, Baylor introduced pre-recorded video interviewing into their admissions process. These videos were meant to give the admissions team an authentic snapshot of their applicants in a remote-friendly way. But little room for customization and a clunky experience only made for more work. 

That’s when Baylor turned to Kira.

Innovative program seeks equally progressive admissions process

By streamlining their process with Kira’s all-in-one platform, Baylor has been able to enhance its interview process from start to finish.

“The last thing I wanted to do was build something from scratch,” shared Baylor’s Director of Admissions Casey Unverzagt. “Kira gave us templates and recommendations for building the assessments, but we weren’t stuck with those, we could modify them and add to them. It was a great balance between ‘let me give you some ideas’ and ‘it’s your assessment, you can build it how you want’.”

Leveraging Kira’s timed-video and timed-written responses helped the admissions team at Baylor elicit candid responses from applicants, giving them a more authentic view of the verbal and written communication skills of each applicant. Drawing from a randomized question bucket, Baylor was able to ensure that the responses were truly un-scripted. “In our old platform, we had one question for each competency,” explained Unverzagt. “There was always that fear that a question would find its way online. By randomizing the questions, Kira makes sure that everything stays fair.”

Redefining fairness in admissions

With fairness top-of-mind, Baylor needed a tool that would help them find new ways of eliminating bias. 

“We all have biases, we recognize this,” said Unverzagt. “Kira has helped us minimize the impact of those biases”.

Baylor decided to review horizontally in Kira, assigning each reviewer to evaluate specific competencies across all applicants. This method of reviewing has not only been proven to minimize the effects of the Halo Bias, it also helps reviewers develop expertise in their assigned competencies, making the evaluation of applicants more accurate and consistent.

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And the admissions team didn’t stop there. Creating a “blind evaluation procedure”, Baylor has further reduced the potential for bias in their process.

Once an applicant is invited to complete a Kira assessment our admissions committee doesn’t look at their academic profile until after they’ve reviewed the applicant’s responses,” explained Unverzagt. “It makes it much less biased. Otherwise, if you see someone who comes in who’s barely over the hurdle academically, it might affect the way they review that applicant.” 

“After we review their Kira assessment, then the admissions committee goes back and looks at how they did academically. We then marry those two scores – cognitive and academic – to make one final recommendation.” 

Getting the best out of applicants – in less time

And it’s not only Baylor’s reviewers who are enjoying the new approach. Applicants now have new tools to help them shine. 

Unlimited practice questions enable applicants to familiarize themselves with the software and get into the zone before their actual interview. And having that level of comfort and confidence has empowered them to truly put their best foot forward.

“With Kira, we’re getting a better representation of who this applicant actually is,” said Unverzagt. “With our old process, we never had practice questions. It would take the applicant two questions to really get into a groove, and that’s half of our assessment!”

“With Kira’s platform, when we see them, they’re prepped and ready to go. So I feel like we get a much more accurate picture of that applicant.”

Embracing technology to improve admissions

With Kira Talent, Baylor now has a holistic admissions process to match its innovative program. Accessible, efficient, and fair, the platform’s suite of features empowers Baylor’s admissions team to make more informed decisions and allows its applicants to shine.

“Before, we had a phenomenal program and an average admissions process,” shared Unverzagt. “Now, we have a phenomenal program and a phenomenal admissions process. Kira not only builds an expectation for the program, but it gives us functionality that makes our jobs 10x easier.”


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