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Admissions office scraps paper apps with viewbooks

The Office of Admission has stopped including paper applications with the viewbooks sent to prospective students after about 75 percent of more than 18,000 applicants chose to apply online last year.

"Given the increasing number of students applying online, as well as those who apply using downloaded forms, it didn't seem cost-effective or efficient," said Dean of Admission Jim Miller '73.

The move follows three to four years of increased use of online applications. By logging on to a secure component of the Office of Admission's Web site, prospective students can compose, edit and submit digital applications.

"Online applications are easier for us to handle administratively," Miller said, "and students ... seem to prefer online to paper."

For students still interested in using traditional applications, the viewbook sent to prospective students includes a card that students can return to receive a paper application. It is also possible for applicants to download applications off of the admissions Web site.

Of the 25 percent of students who chose to apply using a paper application last year, nearly two-thirds chose to use downloaded forms from the admissions Web site. Miller explained that although the 85,000 viewbooks printed last yearincluded paper applications, only about 1,500 paper applications were sent in.

At least two Ivy League universities, however, will stand by the practice of including paper applications with their viewbooks.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Dartmouth College will continue sending traditional applications with viewbooks for the near future, according to a spokesperson. At Princeton University, paper applications will continue to accompany viewbooks despite statistics indicating that nearly 80 percent of last year's applicants applied online.

"Not all applicants have access to a computer," said a Princeton spokesperson.

Some first-years see the choice to no longer send paper applications with viewbooks as positive for Brown.

"I think that it will cut down on non-serious applicants," said Evan Penn '10.

Mallory Kerner '10 agreed, commenting, "Students that really want to apply will take the initiative." She added, though, the change is "not the most welcoming thing."

Some students worry that access to a computer will became a new hurdle for potential applicants.

"I think that (online applications) are hard for people who don't have a computer," said Herald design staff member Tasha Pelaez '10.

Miller has addressed this concern by explaining that there are still a number of mechanisms for students to apply using the paper application.

"From the applicant's perspective, I'm not sure the change will have much of an impact," Miller said. "Most students aren't using the paper application now and given the trends it seems even fewer will in the future."

Thanks to reduced application printing, the Office of Admission will have more money to spend in other areas. With an expected rise in the number of students looking at Brown, the Office of Admission plans to print more viewbooks than in previous years.

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