Why use a Database for Enrollment?

While electronic documents are an improvement over paper copies, they are not able to save the school money or make them more effective in parent communications since an electronic document is like a pretty picture hanging on a nail on the wall.

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 Contrary to popular belief, relying solely on electronic documents for data storage is not akin to having a robust electronic database. The limitations of electronic documents in terms of structured data, data analysis, efficient retrieval, data integrity, and security are significant:

1.    There is no Structured Data: Databases organize information into structured formats, such as tables, allowing for easier data management and retrieval than unstructured electronic documents. or even AI to check documents and communicate with parents without human intervention

2.    There is no Data Analysis: Databases are used for data analysis and reporting tools, allowing users to derive insights and make informed decisions based on the stored information. Examples include reports on completed applications, reconfirmed students, applications with no documents, and a summary of communication to each parent.

3.    Imagine the efficiency of using queries in databases to swiftly retrieve specific information based on various criteria. This can be leveraged to create functions based on set parameters. For example, an application received 10 days ago without documents can trigger an email and SMS to the parent, while one with documents can prompt a reminder of missing documents.

4.    There is no Data Integrity: Databases can enforce data integrity constraints, such as unique keys, foreign keys, and data types, ensuring that the data remains accurate and consistent. No more color-coding applications, sorting Excel databases, or organizing large paper files that take most of the day.

5.    There is no Security: Databases offer built-in security features, such as user authentication, access control, and encryption, which help protect sensitive data from unauthorized access or tampering. Electronic documents offer none of the above and are subject to hackers who can siphon the data from a school computer without anyone noticing it.

6.    There is no concurrency Control: Databases support concurrent access by multiple users or applications while ensuring data consistency through transactions and locking, essential in collaborative environments. While the registrar can use the database to do enrollment the front desk can use it to check parent information,  the child’s medical history, attendance or absence records.

7.    There are no Audit Trails: Databases offer features for maintaining audit trails, allowing users to track changes to the data over time and keep a history of modifications for compliance or auditing purposes. This is important when a student claims to have been discriminated against in the lottery or that another student was admitted instead of him because of his qualifications and grades vs. timing and document submissions.

8.    There is no Backup and Recovery: Databases typically provide mechanisms for automated backups and recovery, reducing the risk of data loss due to hardware failure, human error, or other unforeseen events. While electronic documents also may have this feature, they can only track when the upload was done but have no records of what was uploaded and what it contained.

While electronic documents are an improvement over paper copies, they are not able to save the school money or make them more effective in parent communications since an electronic document is like a pretty picture hanging on a nail on the wall. It is pretty to look at, but not much else.

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