Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

As part our College Q & A guide, we decided to ask your questions to the the experts. Here are their answers.

Carita Del Valle, Founder, Academic Decisions

Absolutely! It actually is the preferred method (cost, timeliness, communications with high school counselors, etc.) at many campuses across the country (but not all) and it provides an admissions office more flexibility in allowing various personnel to review it. And of course lets not forget, it reduces paper waste which is a notorious problem at universities and helps them go green!

Helen H.Choi, Owner, Admissions Mavens

While the vast majority of students apply to college online, there are a few here and there who apply using paper applications. If you do decide to use paper applications, you should remember to give yourself a bit more time to gather your teacher recommendations and school reports — as your recommenders and counselors will have to use snail mail for their components as well. Whatever mode you choose, remember that it’s what on the INSIDE of the application that matters rather than how the information is presented!

Nina Berler, Founder, unCommon Apps

Colleges have said for the last few years that they prefer online applications to paper. This allows them a consistent way to organize and format information for processing and review. However, there are cases where students lack Internet access or for whatever reason need to mail in a copy. That’s why most, but not all, colleges allow students to download a copy if they prefer. Students should check on a school-by-school basis and if there are extraordinary circumstances contact the college directly or through a counselor. We’ve come a long way from the days of handwritten applications!

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