When the Occupational Therapy Doctorate (O.T.D.) program at the University of Vermont (UVM) launched in 2022, becoming the first occupational therapy degree program in the state of Vermont, it set a new standard of innovative and accessible education for Occupational Therapy (OT) students.
Well-situated in the University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, UVM OT received a $5.75 million grant from the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to build state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories to put the school at the forefront of OT education.
“The funding provides us with an incredible opportunity to incorporate some of the latest technology in rehabilitation to build innovative labs that will benefit UVM students and the greater community,” shared the University of Vermont Occupational Therapy Program Director, Victoria Prignac.
What they needed now was an equally innovative and accessible method of attracting and enrolling top applicants. That’s when they turned to Kira Talent.
Building a future-proofed admissions process
“We are a brand-new program, so we needed an admissions process that could not only assess skills and suitability, but one that would help us market ourselves to a wide pool of applicants,” explained Prignac.
“I’ve done the traditional in-person interview process in previous roles and know how hard it is to get applicants to travel to campus, especially if you’re a new or small program, or your campus, like UVM, is outside of a major city or transit hub,” she continued.
“If we were to require that applicants come to campus, we’d be blocking out a lot of candidates who aren’t able to make the trip.”
With Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment, UVM OT is able to engage a wider pool of applicants, offering them a convenient and accessible way of not only applying, but also learning more about the brand-new program in the process.
“The timed-video responses give us a really authentic snapshot of our applicants, and likewise, the recorded video questions give us the opportunity to show off our program as applicants go through the assessment,” Prignac shared. “Kira really helps us get a better sense of our candidates, and gives our candidates a better sense of what we have to offer, so we can determine if it’s a good fit on both sides.”
“Being a brand-new program, we needed to make sure we were enrolling students who are flexible thinkers and highly adaptable in the classroom,” she continued. “For the same reasons, we needed an admissions platform that would allow us to make changes as we refine our process.”
“Kira is amazing in the level of flexibility and hands-on support that they offer,” Prignac explained. “The Kira team gave us a lot of expert guidance and ideas on what questions to ask in order to identify the competencies we’re looking for in our ideal applicant. They also gave us recommendations as to which questions would elicit a better response on video versus which would be better as written.”
“We decided on three video responses and one written response, and have seen great results within our first cohort,” Prignac shared. “As our program grows and evolves, we’ll be able to adjust the assessment to evolve and scale with us.”
Learn how other OT programs are attracting and enrolling new audiences with Kira
Gaining deeper insights on more applicants
UVM OT uses the Kira assessment to gain deeper insight into applicants after an initial file review. The convenience of an on-demand process enables UVM’s small admissions team to manage a greater number of applicants than if they were to conduct live interviews, allowing them to be more flexible with the GPA cutoffs.
“All of our applicants submit their initial application and admissions essay through OTCAS and anyone who meets the minimum GPA threshold is automatically invited to complete a Kira assessment,” Prignac explained. “For those whose scores might be a little low but their application shows a lot of potential in other areas, we invite them to complete a Kira as well to give us some additional insight.”
“There’s a lot of information that you can glean from the Kira assessment that you just don’t get from a GPA or admissions essay,” she continued. “Essays tend to be heavily edited and proof-read so they’re generally not a reliable example of an applicant’s written communication skills. With the timed-written response in Kira, applicants have a limited time to respond, so it gives us a much more authentic glimpse of their writing ability.”
“In just one cycle, we had several cases where an applicant who was just shy of the GPA threshold submitted their Kira Talent assessment and we knew right away that they were exactly the right person for our program.”
“There were also cases where applicants with a really high GPA submitted their Kira assessment and we could see that they were actually not the best fit for our program,” Prignac added. “During our short time with Kira Talent, we’ve already seen value from being able to identify those differences in applicants.”
Making holistic admissions accessible for small programs
“Kira Talent brings together the best of both worlds for me in terms of an admissions process,” Prignac shared. “Relying on the essay as a component of our holistic process never felt right to me, because there is so much about an applicant that doesn’t come across on paper. However, bringing applicants on to campus limits your applicant pool while conducting interviews online via a tool like Zoom takes a lot of organization and manpower.”
“Kira gives us more touchpoints with our applicants, creating better engagement throughout the admissions process, and allowing us to get deeper insights into our applicant pool.”
NYU Grossman School of Medicine is known throughout medical education as an innovator and a thought leader. Ranked No. 2 in the United States for research and development, the school, which counts several Nobel laureates amongst its alumni and staff, has recently garnered significant attention for its innovative approach to medical education. With a tuition-free initiative, cutting-edge three-year MD degree program, and a ‘Curriculum for the 21st Century’, NYU Grossman School of Medicine is ushering in a new era of medical education designed around the needs and values of today’s students.
These initiatives are part of the Grossman School of Medicine’s larger mission to address the scientific, social, and economic aspects of the healthcare system by using the latest technology to enrich medical education.
Re-imagining their MMI online during the Covid-19 pandemic, NYU Grossman School of Medicine saw the benefits of a virtual interview, but their process in Zoom fell far short of the ideal. For the 2022 admissions year, with pandemic restrictions lifting, some schools opted to simply switch back to their tried and true in-person methods. NYU Grossman school of medicine, however, found a better solution.
Transitioning their MMI into Kira Talent’s Live Interviewing platform, the school of medicine aims to eliminate the technical hassle of the Zoom process while still leveraging the accessibility and cost benefits of an online experience.
“Each of the two formats, virtual and in-person, has its pros and cons,” shared NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Associate Dean for Admission and Financial Aid, Rafael Rivera.
“For us, the positives of virtual interviews outweigh the negatives.”
The evolution of admissions interviewing at NYU Grossman School of Medicine
“We started utilizing the MMI process in 2013, operating it in-person until 2020 when we shifted it online via Zoom,” shared Anne Holtzman, the Program Manager of Admissions and Financial Aid at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. “We grant around one thousand interviews per admissions cycle, so that process would have us seeing an average of 16 to 20 applicants per day, four days a week, from September to December.”
“We hosted the in-person process on our campus, booking upwards of nine rooms for the MMI, a presentation from the Dean, and a coffee hour with current students,” explained Holtzman. “While one group of applicants was completing their MMI, another group would be moving through the other events.”
“With Zoom we faced a significant challenge trying to replicate this experience,” she continued. “The platform isn’t meant for a large-scale interview format. We couldn’t run circuits concurrently, and we didn't have a timing system that would give the applicant and interviewer enough notice that their station was ending. It was a lot of time and effort for a process that didn’t provide a top-notch experience.”
“With Kira, we're able to interview more applicants than we ever have before in less time.”
Scaling the MMI with Kira
“One of the benefits to the Kira platform is its ability to allow us to scale more effectively,” shared Dean Rivera. “When we were doing in-person interviews, physical constraints — such as the size of our conference room or the number of interview stations that we had — limited the number of applicants we could interview per day. Our process in Zoom was still negatively impacted by those constraints because we couldn’t run more than one circuit concurrently.”
“Kira has allowed us to streamline the operations, improve our efficiency, and decrease our faculty, interviewer, and staff utilization.”
“We're able to interview more applicants in less time, which has allowed us to go from four days of interviews per week to two days per week,” Holtzman added.
Reducing time-on-task for their interviewers not only helps NYU reduce reviewer fatigue, it also positively impacts their bottom line.
“There's an opportunity cost for our interviewers,” Dean Rivera explained. “The hours that they spend interviewing are hours that they’re not seeing patients, doing research, or applying for grants. That has a direct bottom-line impact for the institution.”
“Kira has helped us significantly reduce the time required from our faculty by enabling us to conduct multiple circuits in parallel as opposed to just one at a time,” he continued.
“With in-person interviews, we needed faculty in the room for four hours. With Kira, we only need them online for one hour.”
Kira’s Live Interviewing platform has the capacity to host over 1000 participants at a time across multiple concurrent circuits. By automatically moving applicants through to the right stations at the right times while interviewers assess them in real-time using built-in rubrics, the time savings for NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s admissions staff were significant.
“With our old process, we needed two people in the room for 14 to 16 hours a week conducting interviews,” Dean Rivera shared. “Kira has brought that down to one person overseeing the process online for two hours.”
“That’s an almost 16-fold reduction in the number of person-hours taken up by the MMI.”
“The organization, scheduling, and orchestration of the MMI used to be a full-time, two-person job,” shared Dean Rivera. “With Kira, one person can now easily oversee the entire process with far less stress.”
The ease and efficiency of Kira’s AMP integration
Some of the real time-savings for NYU Grossman School of Medicine come from the integration of their live MMI in Kira with their existing process in AMP.
“Kira’s integration with AMP has made everything so much easier,” shared Holtzman. “We schedule our interviews in AMP and that schedule gets transferred to Kira in a single click. We conduct our interviews in Kira, and our interviewers record their scores and notes in Kira. Then, overnight the system automatically transfers all of that data back into AMP so our committee members can see everything just as they always have.”
“Our interviewers love the platform — especially our returning interviewers who have gone through the in-person interviews and the Zoom interviews.”
“When we were using Zoom, they would have to toggle back and forth between Zoom and AMP in order to record their scores, all while maintaining the screen share so applicants could view the station prompt,” Holtzman explained. “Interviewers were constantly worried that they would accidentally show applicants the evaluation page. Kira has completely eliminated that concern by offering a seamless experience for both our interviewers and our applicants.”
The pros and cons of medical school virtual interviews
“Each of the two formats, virtual and in-person, has pros and cons,” Dean Rivera shared. “For us, the positives of virtual interviews simply outweigh the negatives. An in-person admissions process carries a significant cost for both the institution and the applicant. From travel cost to accommodation bookings to the cost of taking time off of work or school, the burden on applicants adds a potential layer of inequality to the interview that is not always top of mind for schools. Add to that the various costs our school incurs in order to host an in-person MMI, and it’s clear that the virtual interview is financially better for both us and our applicants.”
“It offers our interviewers more flexibility as well,” Holtzman added. “When we were interviewing in person, interviewers would sometimes have to cancel last-minute because traffic was bad, surgery ran long, or someone at home was sick."
"Kira has mitigated so many of those factors, as they can now interview with ease from their office, from home, or from wherever they have a computer.”
For many schools, a reason to maintain the traditional in-person MMI, no matter the costs, is the opportunity it presents to bring applicants on campus where it’s easier to engage them in recruitment efforts. But, for NYU Grossman School of Medicine, that status-quo thinking is getting turned on its head. Rather, they’re evolving their recruiting and interviewing processes to align with the highest standards of diversity, equity, and inclusion in admissions.
“There are programs that will feel that the interview day is a vital part of their recruitment activities,” shared Dean Rivera. “It’s true that the structured MMI format limits the ability to have those casual conversations that help form an emotional connection with applicants, and that the virtual setup alters how a school can promote itself in the eyes of the applicants.”
“However, I would argue that we need that structure and those limitations in the interview process” he continued. “Structured assessment improves our ability to accurately predict applicant performance and helps us reduce bias in the admissions process.”
“Recruitment and assessment should not compete for time. You have limited time to assess the applicant’s suitability for your medical program — recruitment can happen separately.”
Get ideas on how to adapt and improve your recruitment events, such as on-campus visits, to attract a new generation of applicants
“In our own admissions process, we’ve taken the recruitment-focused events that we used to conduct during our in-person interview day, and we’ve recreated them online,” Holzman shared. “We conduct interviews on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and invite that week’s applicants back on Thursday when they meet with deans, faculty, and current students via Zoom. Dean Rivera holds regular office hours where applicants can connect with him virtually to ask questions about the school, and we host various informational webinars which are scheduled throughout the admissions season.”
“In the spring, we invite accepted applicants to virtual and in-person sessions which culminate in a campus visit in April,” Dean Rivera added. “This approach helps us concentrate our efforts. The first part — the interview — is about identifying who would be a good fit for our school. The second part — the recruitment events — is about showcasing who we are and forging that connection with applicants.”
Building a better applicant experience
“We sent a survey to our applicants after their interview to ask them how the day went and what they thought about the MMI in Kira,” Holtzman shared. “Several applicants had interviewed with us before so they had a direct comparison to the nerve-wracking Zoom process.”
“With Kira, our applicants were significantly more comfortable,” Holtzman shared. “They felt the platform was simple and intuitive, removing any technical stress and letting them focus on their prompts and the interview itself.”
Discover what 2022's applicants had to say about their experience with Kira Talent
A seemingly small aspect of virtual interviewing – station timing – provides a perfect example for the school.
“It used to be a big problem for us with Zoom because our MMI consists of both single and double-length stations,” Holtzman explained. “We didn't have a timing system that could give the applicant enough notice before they switched stations. As a result, applicants would sometimes get cut off mid-sentence and then would show up in the next station all frazzled and concerned that they hadn’t put their best foot forward.”
“Kira has completely eliminated this concern,” she continued. “The built-in countdown timer provides both an auditory and visual alert before the end of a station, giving applicants time to wrap up or offer any final thoughts.”
“Our faculty, staff, students, the dean, and some of the leadership who interviewed for us, they all loved the convenient and seamless experience in Kira.”
At Kira Talent, we always keep applicants top-of-mind. After all, we wouldn’t be the world’s leading holistic admissions solution designed for higher education without over 1 million applicants giving us an average satisfaction rating of 4.6/5!
Although admissions teams love the efficiency and ease that Kira brings to their process, more often than not, it’s the glowing feedback from their applicants that drives their decision to deliver their interviews and assessments through Kira Talent year after year. Discover what 2022’s applicants had to say about their experience with Kira.
What was new for applicants in 2022?
2022 brought a ton of new features to enhance the applicant experience in Kira Talent. From a revamped Live Interviewing experience to a new quantitative skills diagnostic, applicants interacted with Kira in more ways than ever this year.
Discover what new features and enhancements Kira Talent has in store for 2023’s applicants
With all these updates, one thing remained constant. Applicants loved their experience in Kira Talent.
For the third year in a row, applicants gave Kira an average rating of 4.6/5 stars.
The consistency of this rating above 4.5 year after year further validates the work we do with our partner schools to ensure that applicants have an accessible and engaging admissions experience, despite the many disruptions to higher education admissions over the last few years.
In fact, only 4% of applicants said they would have preferred an in-person interview experience.
As schools decide what the future of their admissions process is going to look like, it’s this kind of feedback that makes us confident that more than ever applicants want an admissions experience that is accessible and engaging.
By the numbers
90.7% of applicants rated their Kira experience either “Great” (4/5) or “Exceptional” (5/5)
A small but mighty 0.4% increase from last year, we are so proud that as we reach more and more applicants year after year — in fact, in 2022 we surpassed 1 million applicants having completed an interview or assessment in Kira — the Kira experience continues to engage and delight them.
The average rating was “Exceptional” (4.6/5)
Another year, another “Exceptional” rating from our applicants. As we continue to evolve the platform and expand our product offerings, this vote of confidence from applicants shows us that we’re on the right track.
1.8% of applicants rated their experience as “Poor” (1/5)
This small percentage often represents our best source of inspiration for future platform enhancements and feature additions.
From enhanced privacy options to new information-sharing abilities, we’ve already added some new features to address the aspects of Kira that these applicants weren’t loving.
Learn more about the new features in Kira Talent
96.5% of inquiries were solved instantly by Charlie
What’s one of our clients’ favourite features in Kira? Our 24/7 applicant and reviewer support!
From answering general process questions to solving network snafus, our beloved Charlie the chatbot is always available to instantly answer applicants’ most commonly asked questions. And in the rare case where Charlie doesn’t have the answer? Kira’s applicant support team is waiting in the wings to ensure applicants get the help they need without taking valuable time away from your team.
Over 92% of applicants who left feedback on support rated their experience as "Great", given the options of "Great", "Okay", and "Not Good".
Another 1% increase over last year’s score, we’re thrilled that our ongoing commitment to providing top-tier applicant support is being felt by applicants.
By the comments
As always, we know that numbers on paper only offer a glimpse of the full picture. So just like we do in the admissions process, we’re giving applicants the opportunity to tell you about their experience in their own words...
Applicants loved the simplicity and accessibility of the Kira platform
Goodbye jam-packed interview travel schedule! So long, confusing list of Zoom links! With so many tasks and tribulations for them to handle during the admissions season, applicants loved that Kira made it so easy for them to share their experiences with their prospective programs.
“This platform is so well organized! I could find all the information and materials quickly and easily.”
“I also took the CASPer for some applications and felt that it was very rushed and stressful. Kira was much more relaxed, with adequate time to think and respond.”
“I liked that the platform wasn't too busy. The simplicity made it easy to use, and removed stress from the assessment.”
The suite of practice questions was especially appreciated…
“I thought I would be very nervous but the practice videos and writing part really helped me. Thank you Kira team!”
“I really liked the practice questions. They lightened the mood and made me more relaxed for the big thing.”
“This platform is amazing! I especially appreciated the practice questions.”
We know that interview day will always come with a little stress, but we believe that none of it should ever be process related. Year after year, applicants rave about our built-in practice module and how much it helped them minimize stress and put their best foot forward on interview day.
So was Kira’s on-hand applicant support
“I'm a student who requires extra time on this assessment, the Kira team did a great job getting that set up for me.”
“A very supportive and hands-on platform to perform interviews on.”
When your applicants are happy, we’re happy! That’s why a member of the Kira team is always on hand to help applicants with any questions or concerns they may have during their assessment process.
We even got a few cool suggestions for new features!
“I think the program should auto-capitalize after periods. Overall, the setup was really nice and easy to use, so great job!”
“The interview was great! One thing you could add is a spot for us to take quick notes during the interview while preparing the answers.”
Noted! We’re always adding new features and enhancements to the Kira platform. Comments like these help guide us toward an even better applicant experience.
Overall, applicants really loved the virtual experience
“A very good platform. No need to do it in person when you have Kira!”
“I really enjoyed doing an interview in this format. I felt calmer than in other interview settings and I loved having time to think about my responses.”
“This platform was probably one of the best interview experiences I have ever had. I hope to come across more places that use this platform.”
Comments like these are a big part of why we do what we do. In addition to making the admissions process more efficient and effective for admissions teams, we’re on a mission to improve the admissions experience for applicants by making it simplified and more accessible.
Click here to learn more about why we publish this data and how we collect and use applicant feedback
Reports from other years
Kira Applicant Experience Report 2021
Kira Applicant Experience Report 2020
Kira Applicant Experience Report 2019
Kira Applicant Experience Report 2018
Kira Applicant Experience Report 2017
If there’s one thing Kira knows best it’s how to make admissions more fair for higher education institutions. Since day one, Kira Talent has built products designed specifically to help admissions teams like yours increase process efficiency, identify the applicants that are most likely to succeed in their program, and gather the insights to help them make more defensible decisions.
So it’s hardly a surprise that that’s what we continued to do in 2022. Pulling inspiration from our 900+ global clients and each of their unique processes, we’ve added new features, from a quantitative skills diagnostic to an AMP integration, to help make your admissions processes that much more efficient, effective, and fair.
Here are a few updates and upgrades we made to the Kira platform last year which will give your admissions process a mega boost of efficiency and ease.
Discover what’s new in Kira
- Checkpoint quantitative skills diagnostic
- Kira en español
- AMP-up your admissions efficiency
- Full control over applicant naming
- Pre-populate registration fields
- Anonymization of applicant names
- Bias-mitigating review made easy
- Powerful enhancements to simplify your process
- Universal search
- Manage applicants & reviewers directly in platform
- Download and upload supplemental docs in Kira
- A more robust Live Interviewing tool
- Multi-applicant stations
- Schedule builder
- Broadcast messaging
Measure the quantitative readiness of your applicants more effectively with Checkpoint
Discover a new way to measure your applicants’ quantitative skills.
Checkpoint in Kira Talent is the quantitative skills diagnostic for the new era of admissions. Developed by ETS, creator of the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments, Checkpoint provides a snapshot of a candidate's quantitative readiness in four key areas — Probability & Statistics, Algebra & Functions, Graphics Interpretation, and Quantitative Application.
Delivered completely online and at one-third the cost of a traditional standardized test, Checkpoint is accessible to more applicants than ever. With accurate results available within minutes, applicants can share their report with schools directly from the platform, helping you identify how well applicants will meet program expectations.
Learn more about Checkpoint in Kira Talent
Kira en español
Hola! In addition to English and French, an assessment or interview in Kira can now be delivered entirely in Spanish.
From your dedicated Client Success Manager to the platform itself, the Kira experience is accessible to your staff, applicants, and reviewers entirely in Spanish.
Want to use Kira in another language? Let us know!
AMP-up your admissions efficiency
Streamline your admissions process by integrating Live Interviewing in Kira Talent with your AMP enrollment management system. The integration helps you seamlessly schedule and score your interviews on both platforms without doubling your workload.
With the AMP integration, Kira allows the admissions team to schedule their interviews in AMP and have that schedule set up in Kira’s Live Interviewing platform in a single click. Once the interviews are done, all reviewer scores and notes are seamlessly transferred from the Kira platform back to AMP.
Did you know that Kira Talent is integrated with most leading enrollment management systems including Slate and Liaison’s CAS? Find out if we’re integrated with yours!
Full control over applicant naming
Help mitigate bias and protect the integrity of your assessments and interviews with full control over what applicant data shows throughout the Kira Talent platform.
Pre-populate applicant names in registration fields
Ensure data consistency across your admissions process with the ability to pre-populate applicants’ first and last names on the Kira Talent registration page.
When applicants receive their personalized Kira invitation with a unique registration link via email, they’re directed to a registration page. Kira now allows you to autofill and lock the name and email fields, to ensure that those fields match the rest of their application records.
This feature removes the opportunity for error, in particular for applicants who have different legal and preferred names.
Anonymization of applicant names
Further reduce the potential for bias by hiding applicant names in your Kira assessments and interviews.
This new feature replaces the name of the applicant with a Kira ID number, unknown to your reviewers, helping them score applicants as impartially as possible.
Bias-mitigating review made easy
In 2020 we launched Horizontal Review in Kira Talent to help schools facilitate a more equitable reviewing process based around the structure of the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) used by medical schools and other healthcare programs.
Learn how your peers are using Horizontal Review in Kira Talent to enhance their admissions processes
Horizontal Review helps mitigate bias in admissions by assigning reviewers to a specific competency that they assess for across a wide pool of applicants. In doing so, Horizontal Review helps improve the accuracy and reliability of scoring as each applicant is evaluated by more reviewers who are better versed in assessing that specific competency.
Want to know what Horizontal Review in Kira Talent can do for equity in your admissions process? Read the research published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education.
Now, we’ve made it easier for admissions teams to choose a horizontal reviewing process by enabling the ability to assign reviewers in bulk. No need for spreadsheets or file uploads, Kira now offers the ability to set up Horizontal Review assignments directly in the platform with just a few clicks.
Powerful enhancements for greater ease
At Kira, we believe that good technology should make your life easier. That’s why we’re continuously enhancing our platform to make it easier for you to identify and enroll your top applicants.
Find what you’re looking for with ease, using Kira’s universal search functionality.
Universal Search in Kira Talent allows admissions teams to search for an applicant across all assessments in Kira. Whether they’ve applied to one program or five, their applications and assessment scores will be stored separately, but accessible to admin users simply by searching their email, helping you find what you’re looking for without scrolling through multiple assessments.
Manage applicants & reviewers directly in platform
Make changes to your assigned applicants and reviewers with just a few clicks.
You can now add, edit and delete participants directly in the Kira platform. No more spreadsheet uploads or additional steps required!
Download and upload supplemental docs in Kira
Say goodbye to extra emails and added work! Kira now offers the ability for applicants to download a document directly from Kira. In addition to our uploading files feature, this now makes it easier to share key information with your applicants prior to their Kira assessment or interview.
Another step in delivering an “all-in-one” experience, this feature allows you to collect supplemental essays, reference letters, and more through Kira Talent. The uploads are automatically linked to the applicant’s profile and can be pushed directly into the corresponding file in your enrollment management system.
Need to get a confidentiality agreement or additional interview instructions to your applicants? No need to send another round of emails, simply upload it to the Kira platform and applicants will be prompted to download it from their Kira registration page.
The next evolution of Live Interviewing
Tailor-made for higher education admissions teams, the launch of Live Interviewing in Kira Talent changed the game for virtual interviewing in 2021.
As more programs transitioned their in-person interviews online with Kira, we continued to live up to our ‘built for the way you interview’ promise, incorporating their requests and suggestions into development, resulting in some powerful enhancements to Live Interviewing.
From one-on-one and panel interviews to Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs), Live Interviewing offers flexible setups to reflect your traditional processes. Now, we’ve added group interviews to that lineup.
Multi-applicant stations in Live Interviewing allow for more than one applicant to be in an interview room at one time. Whether you want a group of applicants to move through each room together as a unit, or you simply want individual applicants to come together for a station and then continue separately for the remainder of the interview, you can build it in Kira.
Are you a DIY kind of team?
With the new schedule builder, you can take your interview schedule into your own hands and create your own Live Interviewing circuits and change participants. Once your dedicated Client Success Manager has set up an interview in Kira, you and your team can access a visual layout of the interview circuit, make changes to participants, and even create an entirely new interview circuit.
Get info out to all your applicants during your Live Interview or MMI.
Broadcast messaging in Kira Talent enables you to blast out a short message directly to participants in the Kira platform during a Live event. Whether you need to communicate with individual applicants, specific groups, or everyone involved, Kira can help make sure they get the message.
Wondering what you can expect from Kira in 2023?
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Known for its collaborative learning environment and team-centric culture both in and outside of the classroom, Roseman University’s College of Dental Medicine wanted to make sure that their admissions process was able to identify the applicants who would thrive in that environment.
Although in-person interviews had worked for them in the past, a switch to a three-year program model meant increasing applications and not enough capacity to review them all.
“We were already reviewing about 2000 files a year at about 20 to 30 minutes for each file for an experienced reviewer,” shared Dr. William Harman, the Associate Dean at Roseman Dental. “That’s around 1000 hours of faculty time. We’re anticipating our applicant pool increasing to around 3500 candidates. That amount of faculty time simply becomes unsustainable.”
“We needed to find a solution where we could get better insight into our applicants earlier in the admissions process so we could reduce the faculty time on task.”
“Thankfully, Kira Talent has enabled us to accomplish that goal.”
Saving 800+ hours of faculty time
“Kira Talent helped us scale our reviewing process while also reducing faculty time,” explained Dr. Harman.
Roseman College of Dental Medicine uses Kira to screen applicants prior to the file review. By efficiently assessing applicants’ traits and soft skills earlier in the admissions process, Roseman gathers deeper insights in an efficient way and helps reduce the number of file reviews and live interviews conducted by their staff and faculty.
“We’ve gone from 2000 file reviews a year to around 450,” Dr. Harman explained.
“That translates to more than 800 hours of faculty time that we’re saving.”
“We have seen a significant increase in the efficiency of our reviewing process but we haven’t found any reduction in the quality of our students,” shared Duane Winden, the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at Roseman Dental. “Our class of 2022 had a 100% pass rate on the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INDBE) and we’re looking at 99% for this coming year.”
“As our applicant pool grows, those savings will only increase,” Dr. Harman added.
Doing more with the budget you have
Although Roseman Dental’s admissions team was sold on the benefits of Kira and the time savings it would bring, they still had to find room in the budget.
“Everyone agreed that we wanted to transition our process to Kira, the last step was finding a way that wouldn’t exceed our already stretched-thin budget,” explained Dr. Harman.
With Kira’s Applicant Pay, Roseman Dental was able to cover the costs and get the flexibility they needed.
“With Applicant Pay, our applicants are able to pay for the assessment directly, rather than us incorporating a fee for it into the general application fee,” explained Dr. Harman. “And with that, we’re able to use Kira without having to pull those upfront costs from our limited budget.”
“Part of our criteria for a new admissions solution was one that would not hugely impact our budget. Applicant Pay allows us to accommodate any kind of applicant volume fluctuation without disturbing our budget,” Dr. Harman added. “This was especially top-of-mind for us as we were transitioning to our new three-year model, and didn’t have historic information to help predict application numbers.”
“Kira allows us to scale our admissions process in a way that does not impact our budget, which has made the higher-ups in the university very happy.”
Learn more about Applicant Pay in Kira Talent
Identifying applicants who align with your values
“It’s really important for us that our faculty are face-to-face with our prospective applicants and being involved in an interview process,” shared Dr. Rachel Novak, Assistant Dean at Roseman Dental.
“With Kira, they still get that contact but we’re able to really streamline the entire process and save our faculty members a significant amount of time.”
“We want to make sure that the applicants we’re considering fit with our educational philosophy and our culture,” shared Dr. Harman. “To facilitate that, we wanted to make sure that we were portraying our core values to applicants early in the admissions process.”
Using the pre-recorded marketing videos integrated into the school’s assessment in Kira, Roseman is able to share their culture, values, and team-centric spirit with their applicants.
“We really wanted to narrow our applicant group down to the people who knew about our program and resonated with our approach to education,” Dr. Harman added.
“We created a series of videos that talk about our process,” Dr. Novak shared. “Through the videos, our applicants meet all of our deans, our students, and our faculty. To underscore the fact that we do everything in teams here at Roseman, our video questions were asked by a team of our faculty members and a student. Our applicants really resonated with that.”
“With Kira, applicants were able to learn a tremendous amount about our program just by completing the assessment,” continued Dr. Novak. “They come to the final interview knowing so much more about our program and our values.”
Assessing applicants more holistically
“When we look at the future of admissions, I believe we’re moving towards a more holistic approach,” shared Dr. Harman. “So when we were looking at innovating our admissions process, the logical step was to start getting more holistic information on our candidates.”
Prior to Kira, Roseman’s faculty and admissions team simply didn’t have the capacity to interview each candidate in person.
“When you have thousands of applicants, you can only get to so many,” explained Dr. Novak. “Your class gets filled and some of those applicants who were never seen just get lost in the pile.”
“With Kira, every single applicant that reaches our minimum DAT and GPA metrics is invited to complete an assessment,” she continued. “Instead of seeing only a small fraction of our applicants, this allows our entire applicant pool to be evaluated holistically.”
Maintaining CODA certification
Conducting holistic review across their entire applicant pool helps Roseman Dental support diversity in their program.
“Diversity is very important in dental education,” shared Dr. Novak. “Our next evaluation for the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) is next year, so we wanted to make sure our process could be defended as fair and inclusive while showing that bias is controlled as much as possible.
“Kira has been really helpful with that,” added Winden. “They walked us through the processes that are built into the platform to mitigate bias in the reviewing process and ensure that each applicant receives a fair evaluation.”
“Through its inherent accessibility to applicants, Kira helps ensure that we have a diverse group of reviewers reviewing our applicants.”
“We know that that’s one of the best ways to support the enrollment of diverse students,” Winden continued.
“I believe CODA is going to be very impressed with the nature of this initiative,” shared Dr. Harman. “Because we have such a range of people involved in the development of this Kira project, it's a very broad-based initiative and we think that’s going to be very useful in the accreditation process.”
The future of dental admissions
“We are on the precipice of a transformation in the way that we do admissions,” shared Dr. Harman. “The de-emphasis on standardized tests means that we need to come up with better ways to evaluate applicants that do not rely heavily on DAT and other test scores.”
“At Roseman Dental, we’re excited about that future,” Dr. Harman continued. “With Kira, we have been able to make our admissions process more accessible, reducing costs for our applicants because they won’t be travelling to a school that they don't match with, and providing them with a convenient way to interview. On the admissions side, we’re making better admissions decisions that are based on a holistic view of applicant fit. It’s another step towards the brave new world of admissions.”
The Robert W. Woodruff Scholarship at Emory University is one of the school’s most comprehensive — and most competitive — scholar programs.
The scholarship, named for the renowned businessman and philanthropist, awards full tuition, and room and board to select students from the university’s incoming class for all four years of their degree.
Receiving up to 14,000 submissions each year, the Emory College Woodruff Scholars Program needed an efficient, yet holistic, way to refine their candidate list.
“Our applicants represent the top 1% of the university academically,” shared Associate Director, Janet Gonzales.
“In order to select recipients from that group we need holistic review, and we need to be able to conduct that review efficiently.”
“That’s why we use Kira Talent.”
Distinguishing the cream from the crop
A checkbox in the general application to Emory University gives students the option to enter consideration for merit scholarships. Once the student is accepted to the university, their application is sent to the scholarships team.
“We consider all students who opted in,” explained Gonzales. “The first step is then refining the applicant pool based on the candidates’ academic standings. That gives us a group of around 100 applicants, who are then invited to complete a Kira assessment.”
The group of finalists represents the top-ranked applicants from Emory’s incoming class. In order to differentiate between such strong candidates, Gonzales and her team knew that they needed to see more than what was on paper.
“We want to see who they are beyond what is on paper. We needed that human component.”
“We know that they’re good on paper,” shared Gonzales. “Now we want to see that they’re eager to learn and are intellectually curious.”
That’s where Kira comes in. Using Kira to pre-screen applicants after their academic review, Emory is able to efficiently review applicants to qualify the successful ones for an in-person interview.
“Kira helps us see how applicants think on their feet and does so in a way that’s scalable for our small team.”
Streamlining the selection process
“Before Kira, we had two sets of in-person interviews,” Gonzales explained. “The first was an interactive interview. From there we selected a final group of applicants to invite to a second group interview.”
“Coordinating both rounds of interviews, from scheduling the applicants and reviewers to analyzing the scoring and data, was a lot of work,” Gonzales continued. “When we finished our 2021 cycle we realized we needed to make a change. Then at a conference, a peer suggested we look at Kira Talent.”
By replacing the first interview with a Kira assessment and transitioning rubrics and scoring for both interviews onto the Kira platform, Emory College Woodruff Scholars Program has streamlined their entire selection process.
“We dug into every little detail of the Kira platform to ensure that our process could be executed seamlessly. We ended up finding areas we hadn’t even considered where Kira could enhance what we were already doing.”
Custom welcome videos and pre-recorded video questions integrated into the applicant experience help the program with recruitment efforts, by offering a guaranteed channel to communicate the unique culture of the Emory College Woodruff Scholars Program to their candidates without monopolizing any additional resources.
“The customization within the applicant experience makes it feels very personal and engaging,” Gonzales shared. “Candidates see our current students in the welcome video, giving them insight into the program, and then it’s those same students who are asking them the questions during the assessment. These students are representatives of the community that the applicants are going to be a part of, so it’s a great way to introduce them as one of the first touch points they have with us.”
Real-time status updates also help streamline the admissions process by giving Gonzales and her team an overview of their assessment cycle.
“Kira helps us know how we’re doing at certain points in the cycle, without us having to get into Excel and crunch the numbers,” Gonzales added. “There are various reports we can look at which show us everything from how many applicants still need to complete their assessment, to which reviewers are in Kira actively evaluating candidates.”
“It’s just another way that Kira has made it so much easier to manage our selection process.”
Creating a positive reviewer experience
“The reviewer experience was almost as important to us as the applicant experience,” shared Gonzales.
Discover what applicants thought of their experience in Kira Talent
The Emory College Woodruff Scholars Program’s reviewing team is made up of volunteer faculty members, alumni, staff members, and seniors in the college, so it’s critical for Gonzales and her team that the process be intuitive and user-friendly.
“These individuals are consistently reviewing for different programs, so they’re jumping between various rubrics, logins and processes,” she added. “The last thing we wanted was to give them a ten-page user guide on the intricacies of our process.”
“With Kira, we didn’t have to answer a single tech question throughout the entire cycle,” Gonzales continued. “The platform is self-explanatory.”
“This year, we were even able to improve our training process for new reviewers using recordings and scores from the previous cycle,” Gonzales shared. “Our staff could go back and see the students we selected and their responses, so they could feel more confident in identifying what we look for in a successful applicant.”
“Kira makes the experience for our reviewers so straightforward.”
“It’s intuitive from start to finish,” she continued. “Reviewers log in, they have their assignments clearly visible, they score them and then they’re done.”
Accomplishing more with less
“With Kira, we were able to complete a comprehensive selection process even with staffing shortages.”
“Kira was essentially another person on our team,” she added. “Their team is always available and eager to help us, and make it easy for us to use the platform to its full potential.”
With the help of Kira’s hands-on support and guidance, the Emory College Woodruff Scholars Program is continuing to refine and enhance their selection process.
“Our Client Success Manager at Kira had us meet about one month after our first cycle when the experience was still fresh in our minds,” shared Gonzales. “We went through what worked, what could be improved, and what we wanted to change for the following cycle. Based on our feedback, Kira helped us make changes to our timeline and enhancements to our rubric.”
“You can always improve things or make changes to meet new goals you’ve set for the program,” she added. “Kira actively helps us accomplish that.”
Saving time by putting data at your fingertips
“At the end of the day, Kira saves our team a significant amount of time.”
“We’re saving countless hours that we used to spend organizing and conducting the first round of interviews,” shared Gonzales. “And it still gives us better insight into our applicants' skills and motivations than if we just had them writing essays.”
“Once we invite the group of finalists to the Kira assessment, I can focus on other work and loop back once all the assessments are completed,” she continued. “Kira manages the day-to-day work, maintaining deadlines, automatically sending reminders to applicants and reviewers, and assisting them with any technical questions. We laid everything out with Kira at the beginning and then I don’t have to think about that until it’s all done.”
“Within an hour of our last reviewer submitting their scores, our final reports are ready for us,” Gonzales shared. “Because we have weighted scores, calculating the final interview score and creating those reports used to take us a whole morning. Now, we have access to a wealth of analytics, including reviewer scoring averages, all done for us.”
“When it comes to deliberation time, Kira gives us everything we needed to make the final decision.”
“Queen’s University School of Medicine actively invests in providing students with the close-knit campus community that we’ve become known for,” shared Admissions Manager Kelly Moore.
With small class sizes of up to 100 students, teaching hospitals just a block from campus, and an actively involved student community, the School of Medicine has the foundation to create a dynamic, hands-on learning environment. What was missing for them was a way to ensure that the admissions process was helping them admit the applicants who were a good fit for this environment.
“That’s where Kira Talent comes in,” shared Moore.
“We’re not just looking at what we see on paper. We want to interact with these applicants, we want to see how they think and act on their feet.”
The best of both worlds
The School of Medicine at Queen’s University uses a combination of Asynchronous Assessments and Live Interviewing in Kira Talent in order to power a dynamic process that engages their applicants while saving the admissions team hours of scheduling work.
“Based on our file review we invite over 500 applicants to the MMI which we do in Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment platform,” shared Moore. “After reviewing their responses, we then invite around 300 of those applicants to a panel interview using Kira’s Live Interviewing.”
“Applicants selected to partake in the MMI receive an invitation with the date and time of their interview and a personalized link to the Kira platform,” explained Moore. “This allows them to register and access the practice questions ahead of time so they can get comfortable with the platform. At the set time of their interview, the MMI automatically opens and applicants have 1 hr and 45 minutes to complete their interview.”
“It was very important to us that the MMI in Kira looked and felt very much like the traditional in-person experience,” Moore continued. “In Kira, applicants progress automatically through our six stations, with two minutes to read the scenario, five minutes to respond, then ten seconds to read the follow-up question and two minutes to respond to that question."
This asynchronous format allows Queen’s the flexibility to build an interview that fits their process, while ensuring structure and consistency across all applicants.
“Kira provides equity and an even playing field for all of our applicants.”
“Everyone is going through the MMI at the same time, which creates a more fair experience for the applicants,” Moore explained.
The 25-minute panel interview serves as the final component of the admissions process and offers applicants the chance to speak face-to-face with a faculty member and a current student.
“With the combination of the asynchronous MMI and the live panel interview, we’re really getting the best of both worlds in Kira,” Moore shared.
Bringing more applicants to interview
“The traditional in-person experience did have a lot of benefits, but it's also incredibly time-consuming,” Moore shared. “In order to deliver a positive applicant experience in that format you need an admissions team that has the capacity to invest significant time into the preparation, and then you need a huge number of faculty and student volunteers to execute on the day. It takes a lot.”
“With the virtual platform we’re providing applicants with a very similar experience, but it’s much more sustainable for us, and much more accessible for them.”
Learn how OHSU School of Medicine is saving over 75 hours of work per cycle with a live MMI in Kira
With an overall applicant feedback score of 4.6 out of 5, Moore and her team are confident that these benefits are being felt and appreciated by their applicants.
“Getting to Kingston is more difficult than getting to Toronto or Montreal,” Moore explained. “Travelling, possibly across the country, for an interview is already a significant expense. For colleges and universities who aren’t located in major cities, travel is an even bigger barrier.”
“If applicants are invited to multiple in-person interviews they typically have to choose which schools they want to interview at because it’s highly likely they’re not going to be able to make it to all of the interviews,” added Moore. “So why would applicants even consider applying to schools outside of their area if they won’t be able to afford to travel there for the interview? Why spend money on an application when they know ahead of time they won’t be able to make it to the final step?”
“Having the interviews online opens doors to a lot of applicants who may not have seen your school as an option.”
“With virtual interviews, they have the opportunity to sit down and engage with the school. That helps them discover which program is the best fit for them, and it opens doors to a lot of applicants who didn’t see it as an option,” Moore continued.
“There are pros and cons to both methods, but the benefits of virtual outweigh the benefits of in-person.”
Creating an interactive experience online
“Included in all our interview invitations are links to videos about our campus, the community, and the Queen’s experience,” shared Moore. “On our website homepage, we have a virtual tour of our School of Medicine building and then beside that we have a virtual tour of the Queen’s campus.”
Discover how other schools are leveraging virtual tours and videos to recruit more applicants
“Applicants who are able to come to campus can also book in-person tours and in the future, we’re looking at having an open house specifically for School of Medicine applicants,” Moore explained.
“If they want to, and are able to, come see us in person we’re always more than happy to welcome them,” she added. “But the way we have our process set up now with Kira, there’s absolutely no disadvantage to the applicants who don’t have the means to do that.”
Boasting several globally top-ranked programs, Imperial College Business School credits their continuing success to their focus on driving transformation through the fusion of business and technology. Aligning with Imperial College London’s international reputation as a renowned STEM institution, Imperial College Business School uses the same science-based approach to graduate management education.
“There’s a strong emphasis on innovation and technology in all areas within Imperial College Business School,” shared the Director of Admissions, Amy Duckworth.
“That’s why the Kira Talent platform is a good fit for us — it aligns so strongly with our school’s values.”
By replacing time-consuming Skype interviews for some programs and adding a net-new assessment to programs who hadn’t previously had the capacity to interview, Imperial College Business School is getting the applicant insights they need to more efficiently identify their top candidates.
Finding efficiency in admissions
“I first heard of Kira through my peers at other business schools as well as at GMAC and other industry events,” shared Duckworth. “All the people who I spoke with had very positive things to say about their experience with the platform.”
Imperial College Business School brought Kira in to replace Skype interviews for seven of their programs and has since expanded their use of Kira to over fifteen programs.
“Interviewing was a very time-consuming process for our Admissions officers,” shared Sarah Stubbings, the Admissions Manager at Imperial College Business School. “Arranging Skype interviews with each candidate required a significant amount of manual work. Hours and hours of back and forth with candidates to organize a time, and then you’d inevitably have last-minute cancellations and rescheduling.”
“It wasn’t efficient, it wasn’t streamlined, it was really a full-time job within itself,” Stubbings added. “As applications increased over the years and we added new programs, it became unsustainable for us to run those interviews.”
“We needed a more efficient and streamlined solution, which is why we turned to Kira Talent.”
Building a bigger applicant pool and a better applicant experience
With Kira’s virtual Asynchronous Assessment, Imperial College Business School’s applicants are able to complete their assessment whenever is convenient for them within the given one-week window.
“A lot of our candidates are either working or studying full-time while they’re applying to our programs, so they appreciate the fact that we're conscientious of their time.”
“With Kira, our interviewing process is far more streamlined,” Stubbings continued. “Without the back and forth of scheduling, we’re able to interview candidates much more quickly, oftentimes issuing an invitation to interview within three days of assessing their application.”
“This is obviously great for the candidate’s experience with Imperial. They’re not waiting weeks for us to get in touch with them.”
“It has benefited everyone,” Stubbings shared. “For us in terms of our process efficiency, but most importantly for the candidates and their experience with Imperial College Business School.”
“Even if they aren’t successful in joining the program, they still walk away with a really positive experience having applied to Imperial College Business School,” she added. “That’s a sentiment they’ll share with other people.”
Gaining deeper insight with greater efficiency
Seeing the success of the initial programs they used the Kira assessment in, other programs at Imperial College Business School realized how the platform could enhance their own admissions processes.
“Having that extra dimension when you’re assessing a candidate is incredibly useful in the decision-making process.”
“We’ve seen the benefits of using Kira and having that additional step in the process,” Stubbings continued. “That’s why we’ve been keen to roll it out to programs that historically didn’t interview candidates.”
“We’ve now brought Kira into the admissions processes for all of our MSc programs,” Duckworth added. “These were programs that didn’t previously have an interview, which was why we didn’t initially bring Kira into their processes.”
“Now that we’ve seen the benefits of Kira and the efficiency with which programs are able to complete the assessment evaluations, we’re able to confidently add that extra step in the admissions process.”
An authentic assessment of applicant competencies
“Before joining Imperial College Business School I was at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School where I was involved in bringing Kira Talent into the application process for our scholarship programs,” shared Duckworth. “As with Imperial College Business School, who at that time was already using Kira, we wanted to increase efficiency, but we were also looking to gain a better understanding of our applicants.”
Compared to the traditional essay submission, Kira’s Asynchronous Assessment offers admissions teams a more reliable gauge of their candidates with timed video and timed-written responses.
“With an essay, it can be difficult to get a true sense of the candidate because it’s impossible to determine how much help they may have received,” Duckworth added. “With Kira, candidates can prepare as one might prepare for any interview, but you know that what you’re seeing and evaluating is an authentic snapshot of the applicant because it’s captured in real-time.”
“Kira offers us a more authentic view of our applicants.”
And Kira’s integrity metrics help admissions teams ensure that authenticity.
“It’s easy to distinguish applicants who are candid with their video responses and applicants who are just reading something off the screen,” Stubbings explained. “We encourage candidates to be authentic. With most of the questions, it’s not a matter of answering correctly, we want to see and understand their thought process or motivations.”
“For the timed-written responses, Kira’s Turnitin integration is brilliant,” Stubbings continued. “By flagging any suspicious behaviour, it prompts our reviewers to take a closer look at that response and helps us identify candidates who might not have been as authentic as we want them to be.”
Structured review for repeatable results
“The feedback from our reviewers about their experience in Kira has been really positive,” shared Duckworth. “They’ve specifically commented on how intuitive and user-friendly the platform is.”
“They like the functionality of it as well,” Stubbings added. “Kira allows us to easily see how reviewers have scored across candidates so they’re able to benchmark themselves. It gives them the reinsurance that they are being consistent and fair across our candidate pool.”
Learn how other schools are using inter-rater reliability metrics in Kira Talent
“We gather several data points on candidates, so if there was any uncertainty, or if the reviewer indicated that the candidate might benefit from a second review then we’d have the ability to ask for someone else to review it.”
In cases where there’s a significant variance in scores, Kira makes it easy for Imperial College Business School to get a second opinion.
“Traditionally, if we needed a second opinion on a candidate post-interview it was a very timely process. One which made the candidate very aware of what was happening.”
“If we want a second review on a candidate in Kira, you can just assign the video to another reviewer and get another opinion,” added Duckworth. “It’s not something that happens too much but it’s nice to have that ability.”
Assessing for employability
With Kira, Imperial College Business School has been able to create consistency while giving individual programs the flexibility to create an admissions process that suits their unique needs.
"We use similar competencies across all of the MSc programs,” explained Stubbings. “But we have questions mixed in there that allow candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their program-specific knowledge of finance, or climate change, for example”
As part of the onboarding process, Kira helped Imperial College Business School identify and define the competencies that they were looking for in their best-fit candidates.
“We started with a list of every question that we were using in our existing interviews,” Stubbings explained. “When we reflected on them, we realized that many of the questions we were asking were not actually addressing the competency we wanted to evaluate candidates for.”
“The experience of working with our Client Success Manager to build out those initial competencies and create question banks for each was incredibly useful,” she continued. “Kira showed us how to create multiple questions that all spoke to the same core structure for each competency, and applicants randomly receive one of those questions during their assessment. In this way, Kira helps us ensure the security of our interviews while also making sure that we’re being fair and consistent across all applicants.”
Discover what our business school clients had to say about their experience with Kira
“Over the years we continued adding questions into these banks and continued to refine and adjust based on the current climate,” Duckworth explained. “We want our competencies to reflect what employers are looking for in their graduating students. Resilience, for example, is a quality that has recently become very important with employers.”
“The ability to easily iterate on our interview process ensures that we’re always enrolling students with the highest potential to succeed in the current business world as it continues to change and evolve.”
Founded in 1941, Eastern Michigan University’s (EMU) Occupational Therapy (OT) program has a long-standing tradition of excellence. With consistently high pass rates on the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) examination — averaging over 99% across the past five years — and a strong history of successful alumni, the program showcases all the right numbers.
But for EMU’s OT program, excellence goes beyond the metrics.
“Our students most often comment on the sense of community within our program,” shared Sharon Holt, Full Time Lecturer III who leads the admissions process for the OT Program at Eastern Michigan OT. “We all work forward together.”
The desire to continue fostering that tight-knit atmosphere drove Holt and the EMU OT faculty to transition to a holistic admission process in 2018. By reducing the focus on metrics and considering applicant experiences and attributes, EMU OT's new process gives them a comprehensive view of their applicants, and their assessment in Kira Talent allows them to dive deeper into applicants' attributes.
Being proactive about diversity
As the first Occupational Therapy program in the United States to partner with Kira, EMU redefined convenience and accessibility for OT admissions.
“Using Kira allowed us to eliminate some barriers for applicants, such as travelling for an in-person interview," Holt shared. "It also fit into our consideration of attributes and helped us gain a better understanding of the different strengths the person might bring to our program.”
After all, having an equitable admissions process is only one part of increasing diversity in your program. By making the admissions process more accessible, Eastern Michigan OT is able to create a more fair application process for all applicants.
“We can do a lot to ensure that we’re levelling the playing field for diverse applicants in the admissions process,” Holt explained. “Kira is part of our efforts to be proactive about how we’re reviewing a diverse field of applicants.”
Eliminating bias without losing insights
Prior to Kira, Eastern Michigan OT conducted on-campus interviews where applicants would sit down with two members of the faculty. Stretching across several weeks, the process was a strain on EMU’s faculty and admissions team. But for Holt and the OT Faculty, the bigger concern was the vulnerability of the interviews to admissions bias.
“It’s extremely difficult to guard against implicit biases within that kind of interview format,” she explained. "From the outfit a candidate chose to wear to how the reviewer posed the question, many factors could have impacted an applicant's response as well as how a question was scored."
In order to reduce the impact on their admissions process, Eastern Michigan OT took the interviewing component out of their admissions process.
“We quickly realized that, while we were mitigating bias, we were losing important insights into our applicants in the process,” Holt shared.
“By moving our interviews to Kira, we found a way that we could regain those insights, mitigate bias, and get our whole faculty involved in the admissions process.”
“With in-person interviews, there was no way to know if something had impacted the scores,” Holt continued. “With Kira, we can easily bring in another reviewer and get a second opinion.”
Learn more about the nine most common forms of bias and how Kira helps mitigate them
Identifying the right applicants for your classroom
“We are a growth mindset program,” shared Holt. “We certainly don’t expect candidates to come in knowing everything. Everybody has the ability to grow and learn. But once in a while, you have an applicant where you know that this just isn’t the right program for them.”
“If we can identify those applicants at the beginning of the process, we save both the applicant and the university a significant amount of time, money, and effort. That alone more than justifies the cost of Kira.”
Link sharing in Kira makes it easy for the admissions team to share a single response or an entire assessment with a new reviewer. EMU’s Occupational Therapy program uses this feature to give applicants a built-in second chance by sending any low-scoring responses for additional review. If there’s a discrepancy in scores, those get sent out for another opinion as well.
“We want to get as many eyes on each applicant as possible, to make sure that no applicants are getting lost if they receive one bad review,” shared Holt.
“Because the reviewing process is so convenient in Kira, we’re able to be very thorough without it overwhelming their workload.”
Small team? Small budget? No problem!
“We’re a small university and a small program with a limited budget and limited IT support to fall back on,” Holt shared. “We not only had to be smart about how we were spending, we also had to make sure that any processes we added weren’t going to overwhelm our program’s faculty and admissions team.”
Joining forces with some of EMU’s other health sciences programs, including dietetics, orthotics and prosthetics, allowed the admissions teams to share the cost of the platform initially. Seeing the effectiveness of using Kira, the Physician Assistant Program has also joined the platform.
Holistic admissions without the hassle
“Kira has changed our perspective on the admissions process,” shared Holt. “It removes the hassle and headache for our team, it allows an applicant to really have a voice in the process, and it opens the decision up to more than just grades.”
With Kira, EMU’s reviewers spend aproximately four hours per cycle reviewing applicants.
“We tell faculty to reserve around four hours to complete their entire review. Our old process would take multiple days out of their schedules,” Holt explained. “And whether it’s at home or in the office, when they choose to schedule in their reviewing time is completely up to them.”
“Kira makes holistic review possible for our small team.”
“When we first started with Kira, I worked with our faculty to create a general outline of holistic elements and practices that we wanted to incorporate and came to Kira with that list,” Holt shared. “Kira gave us a blueprint, and helped us define what we’re looking for, and create questions to identify those competencies.”
Over the following years, Eastern Michigan OT has worked with their dedicated Client Success Manager to continuously tweak, enhance, and strengthen their interview process.
“Every few years we go in and tweak our assessment,” Holt shared. “I’ll reach out to the whole faculty to ask if they feel like we’re getting to the heart of what it is we want to bring into the program. Do we need a change of competency? Do we need to change the rubric definitions? Do we need to change anything else?”
“Having a point person at Kira means that we have a direct line to someone whenever we have questions or issues,” she added. “At the end of the day, nobody wants more work added to their plate, and Kira ensures we don’t ever have to worry about that.”
Discover what other schools thought of their experience with Kira Talent
“I love our process,” she continued. “We’re able to get a full picture of our applicants with more efficiency and more ease than ever before, helping us more confidently build our OT classes.”