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Applying Six Sigma Methodology To The Admissions Process In Higher Education

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

ET Leadership, Administration, and Articulation

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.215.1 - 13.215.13

Permanent URL

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Paper Authors

author page

Alok Verma Old Dominion University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Applying Six Sigma Methodology to the Admissions Process in Higher Education


Time and quality are two important metrics for improving a company's production and profit performance. Six Sigma is one of the most powerful continuous improvement tools that have been used to improve the quality of products and business processes. Six Sigma methodology provides the techniques and tools to improve the capability and reduce the number of defects in any process. It was originally developed by Motorola to systematically improve processes by eliminating defects. Although, originally developed for manufacturing processes, the tool has been effectively applied to improve business processes also. Evaluation of applications for admission in higher education is often a long and time consuming process. Long lead times and number of errors can be very frustrating for prospective students and their parents. This paper addresses the issues and concerns related to the admissions process at a University and makes recommendations for implementation. This study was completed as part of a master’s project. The paper first outlines Six Sigma principle and then discusses various tools and techniques that can be applied to the admissions process. The delays in the application evaluation process are caused due to several factors, student not submitting credentials on time, delays at processing stations and delays due to un-necessary routing. A process map was created followed by data collection at various stations along the value stream. Finally DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) principles were applied to identify sources of bottlenecks and to suggest improvements to the process.

I. Introduction

Continuous improvement has been the power phrase for the last 15 years in the world of quality. Many definitions have been given and several philosophies have been developed to account for the introduction, development, implementation, and management of continuous improvement processes. Six-Sigma is a defined methodology and a set of statistical and quality tools used to improve the performance of a process so that the organization can realize financial benefits. Sigma (the lower-case Greek letter ) is used to represent standard deviation of a population. The term "Six Sigma process" comes from the notion that if one has six standard deviations between the Mean of a process and the nearest specification limit, 99.999% of parts will meet design specifications. Sigma refers to the number of standard deviations between the process mean and the nearest specification limit, rather than the standard deviation of the process, which is also measured in "sigma". As process standard deviation goes up, or the mean of the process moves away from the center of the tolerance, the Process Capability sigma number goes down, because fewer standard deviations will then fit between the mean and the nearest specification limit. As sample size increases, the error in the estimate of standard deviation

Verma, A. (2008, June), Applying Six Sigma Methodology To The Admissions Process In Higher Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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