Repost from Medium

The interest in educational services is on a steady growth. Recent nation-wide efforts of publicity in transparency and the availability of raw data brought up different problems; presenting that data in a sensible and effective way.

Backing up a statement with figures enhances its credibility. Add visualizations to that, and you will have the formula to accurate projections and memorable fact presentations. Nevertheless, traditional data presentation methods are limited to static images of simple charts and often fail to serve when you have multivariate data. Simple tables can only do so much in an era, in which time is limited and rows of data interest the audience only for a few minutes.

Custom-made visualizations created by coding can give awe-inspiring results; but these tools require years of training and a dedicated team. Modern tools, however, introduced interactive dashboards and this leverage lead to insightful and comprehensive reports.

Schools put great value in understanding how their student body change over the years and see where they come from and where they go. This way; faculty can adapt to students’ needs and projections can be tracked without effort.

Student selectivity and diversity are major factors when it comes to evaluating colleges. Prospective students can review this data and decide whether they would feel comfortable with the school’s student base. Being familiar with student backgrounds and expectations can be a game changer for administrative decisions. Let’s take a look at a sample data and see what admissions departments could make out of it.

Here we have a simple table of how student base ethnicity changed over the years. Reading every row and calculating the difference takes about a few seconds each and there are 54 of them here. Analyzing this one table will certainly take several minutes. A visualization, however, can speak for thousands of numbers and make the outliers gleam in an instant.

While this bar chart represents the same data visually and gives more information, it still fails to underline the trends in smaller groups like Hispanics and Native Americans. Since there is only one axis, tendencies in such small groups becomes difficult to see. Below is a multiples graph turning the same data into smaller graphs.

Now we can see the trends in all ethnicity groups clearly. The range of every group is given on the axes. Anyone can make a pretty good guess where the average, minimum and maximums are or whether the school is getting more diverse.

Visualization below represents student residency breakdown by years. Pie and donut graphs are a great way of visualizing partition of fewer parameters like residency status. When many of those donuts are presented in a single graph, it tells the story of student trends by residency. Darker blue represents the number of students from out of state.

According to NCES, school enrollment rate in the US is expected to maintain its incline; there currently are over 20 million people in higher education institutions and this number is expected to reach 25 million by 2021. This, of course, means an even bigger database for higher education institutes. As a natural result, each institution will have to deal with a lot more data and fitting everything into a single screen might get challenging.

Visualizing enrollment trends helps the faculty and the administration to adapt and do accurate projections. Students can evaluate the school better, decide accordingly and this can lead to better retention rates too. Thanks to modern tools, better looking fact sheet, donned with interactive visualizations can be created without any coding.