The Altus 2021: An annual recap of our research and other initiatives

A message from Dr. Kelly Dore, Editor, Co-founder and VP Growth at Altus Assessments

To say this past year turned the world on its head would be quite an understatement. This pandemic not only created a once-in-a-century public health crisis; it ushered in a “new normal,” one that redefined individual priorities, the way we work, and how we interact with others. I know for me personally this meant shifting to remote work, balancing online meetings with helping my kids with virtual learning, and not seeing many family and friends. But we also learned about resilience and saw important societal changes such as  the renewed passion for addressing  systemic racism, equity, and fairness. 

Changes in admissions

The admissions community was impacted in so many different ways. From delayed program start dates to virtual campus tours, video interviews, and cancelled in-person standardized tests; applicant recruitment and admissions look vastly different. Various health science programs also saw a dramatic rise in applications, while the economic repercussions of the pandemic have caused  programs to reconsider the financial costs of the application process and tuition for potential students. In short, equitable access to education and applicant motivation are top of mind for this community.

How Altus adapted

We knew that supporting this community during such challenging times meant expanding our offerings beyond Casper to support a more data-driven and holistic approach to admissions. We also had to acknowledge our own shortcomings in addressing systemic racism and commit ourselves to improving the equity of our own assessments and becoming a better employer. I am truly proud of the progress we’ve made so far:

  • We introduced Altus Suite, a set of standardized non-cognitive assessments that help paint a more complete picture of applicants. 
  • We launched Altus Academy, a free online resource hub and gathering spot for admissions professionals to connect and learn best practices.
  • We continued to fund important research studies — 17 in total — through the Alo Grant.
  • We also expanded our own research team, launched new studies, and we’re currently building 8 different research consortiums and networks to address outcomes and demographic differences across multiple program specialties.
  • We continued efforts to expand the diversity of our Casper rater pool, boost rater quality assurance, and improve existing rater training.
  • Internally we engaged in Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives to offer our team resources, opportunities, and support.

The Altus will dive deep into some of these efforts and reveal some exciting work we have planned for the year ahead. I am so thrilled to be part of this team that lives our values of being curious, caring, and driven, and I look forward with excitement to everything that lies ahead.

cover of The Altus annual report and magazine

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