GRIT - Ed.04 - Flipbook - Page 16
THE FUTURE OF
EDUCATION IS BRIGHT
HOW WE LEARN
traditional applications based on grades, test scores and sometimes
personal statements, good candidates often fall through the cracks.
Kira Talent started as a simple video interview platform so
that applicants could complete
timed video assessments early
on in the application process
—hand in hand with their test
scores—to showcase their soft
skills and tell their stories. Over
time though, as we continued
working with higher education,
we realized there was a need for
more than just video. The application process in general needed
to be more holistic for the school
and more engaging for the applicants. We then added new
types of assessments in order to further demonstrate
competencies like leadership, motivation or critical
thinking — things other than how well they can perform
on a standardized test.
Personal statements are easily plagiarized and standardized testing gives an
unfair advantage to those from high-income families, while failing to accommodate candidates who are better suited to other modes of assessment.
How has the fallout from COVID-19 impacted Kira
Talent and what pivots have you made to adapt?
In conversation with Emilie Cushman,
CEO and Co-founder, Kira Talent;
Next 36, 2013
Kira Talent makes the admissions process more human for higher education institutions. How did you identify that there was a need in this area?
There will be a “new
normal” with a hybrid
model of education
that includes both
online and in-person
When COVID-19 first hit it was the middle of interview season for schools. Overnight we had a surge of
demand because schools were no longer able to conduct in-person interviews and therefore, they were going to have to rely on much less information to make
their admission decisions. Grades, test scores and
a quick Zoom interview (if even possible) would not
be enough. While Kira at the time did not offer a synchronous interview platform, the ability to incorporate
video and holistic elements into the process became
very important. Internally, we reallocated resources on
our team so that we could onboard new clients quickly
(in a matter of days, not weeks or months).
Once the dust settled in June, after we helped
clients get through the current admissions season, we
realized there would be a need for further change in
order to support clients through a fully remote interview process. We therefore developed a synchronous
live interviewing platform with horizontal review capabilities. This has meant that schools can now use Kira
for timed assessments and directly schedule their live
interviews with candidates from the platform, with
the ability to conduct several styles of live interviews
suitable for higher education needs.
What are the most exciting data-driven
solutions you’ve seen emerge in 2020
to improve the admissions process?
Huge growth is coming from existing companies, who are giving tools
and guidance to applicants as they
embark on this new and sometimes
frightening higher education journey. If
you are 17 or 18, you aren't just putting
your life on hold because of COVID-19.
You are still searching for the right
school, the right program and the right
post-secondary pathway. The pandemic
has made that impossibly difficult. Applicant-focused companies like ApplyBoard—helping international students find the best fit
school for them—or AdmitHub—using AI to help students connect with schools throughout the recruitment
process—are doing amazing things for what the world
needs right now.
As for Kira Talent, I’m excited about our plans to
expand further into the recruitment, admissions and
enrollment process, making each step more seamless
and engaging for applicants and more holistic and
effective for schools.
What will the higher education landscape look like in
the next decade?
Post-COVID, I believe universities will reopen due
to the enormous value that comes from experiencing education and campus life in-person. With that
being said, I think there will be a “new normal”, with a
hybrid model of education that includes both online
and in-person classes. In terms of the recruitment and
admissions, I'm very excited because the vast majority
of the process can be online and done in a way that
is more fair, more effective and more efficient for all
parties. I envision a world where applicants are recruited, assessed and admitted using technology platforms
like Kira Talent, for a fraction of the cost that they would
have otherwise spent to fly to multiple campuses for
interviews. And most importantly, a more sophisticated admissions process means less bias, more reviewers,
more information, more structure and less fraud.