Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

College Admissions

Our Counselors Answered:

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Amberley WolfCollege ConsultantWolf College Consulting

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Many colleges do accept both online and paper applications. It is recommended that you fill the application online (if possible). By filling out a paper application, the process may be a bit delayed due to the application being entered into their database manually. Filling out a paper application should not affect your likeliness of being accepted, but colleges do prefer the online application.

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

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!

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

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!

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

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!

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

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!

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

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!

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

The simple answer is yes. If there is any difference–and there is no evidence to indicate that so long as both are offered one is favored over the other—it would seem that on line would be the preferred, an inference that can be made by the fact that many schools waive the fee if you apply on line. Ultimately, if both application options are offered then there is no difference and a student does their own chances no harm by whichever choice they make.

Chuck SlatePresidentCollege Advisors,LLC

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Nowadays, many colleges PREFER the online application. Check to see if the college offers a “free” application (fee waived) if done online versus an application fee if submitting a pdf or or other download version.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Short Answer: Basically, yes. Detailed Answer: They prefer that you apply online, because it’s less paper handling and fewer mistakes on the inputting of your data. And often colleges will charge less (or zero) for an online application and charge more for one submitted on paper. Sometimes you get your decision faster, too, if you apply online.

Benjamin CaldarelliPartnerPrinceton College Consulting, LLC

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Yes.

Reena Gold KaminsFounderCollege, Career & Life, LLC.

Online applications are preferred.

Not all students have regular access to the internet. Therefore, no student will be penalized for submitting a paper application. However, many schools no longer print them as they want as many of their applicants as possible to apply on-line.

Megan DorseySAT Prep & College AdvisorCollege Prep LLC

Paper applications? Do we still have those?

College will evaluate applications equally whether you apply using a paper application, an online common application, or a school specific online application. However, from an administrative perspective, colleges favor online applications because they require less time and effort to process. This is why you may receive offers from some schools willing to waive application fees if you apply online-only before a given date. Your choice of application format will not influence the admissions decision, but I think we will see fewer and fewer paper applications over the next few years.

Mollie ReznickAssociate DirectorThe College Connection

They are preferred.

At this point in time, since MOST colleges are accepting applications online that is now the preferred method. Many schools will no longer even accept paper applications. With the rise of the common application (where you can apply to about 500 schools using a single application (www.commmonapp.org), it is simply easier for students to apply online. This also cuts down on a great deal of paper work as more and more schools are even reviewing applications online.

Lora LewisEducational ConsultantLora Lewis Consulting

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Yes. In this green and technological age, many colleges no longer even accept paper applications. Your application will be viewed in exactly the same way, whether it’s composed in pen and ink or on a computer screen.

Lora LewisEducational ConsultantLora Lewis Consulting

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Yes. In this green and technological age, many colleges no longer even accept paper applications. Your application will be viewed in exactly the same way, whether it’s composed in pen and ink or on a computer screen.

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Most colleges prefer online applications.

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

paper? who uses paper?

Apply online. Every high school in the country has a computer. Colleges will read a paper application, but they are virtually non-existent.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Online vs. Paper Applications

I think that they actually prefer paperless applications for the greater ease in handling the immense amount of information ending up at the Admissions Office. However, you will not be penalized for completing paper applications.

Susan Weber

Absolutely!

If anything, online applications are more convenient.

Suzan ReznickIndependent Educational ConsultantThe College Connection

Colleges prefer online applications

Having students apply online saves admissions offices both time and money. A paper application needs to either be scanned into their system or have the data uploaded. If a student does not have access to a computer, they would not be faulted and online and paper application will be considered exactly the same way. In other words, it will not disadvantage a student to submit a paper application.

Suzan ReznickIndependent Educational ConsultantThe College Connection

Colleges prefer online applications

Having students apply online saves admissions offices both time and money. A paper application needs to either be scanned into their system or have the data uploaded. If a student does not have access to a computer, they would not be faulted and online and paper application will be considered exactly the same way. In other words, it will not disadvantage a student to submit a paper application.

Kiersten MurphyExecutive Director and FounderMurphy College Consultants LLC

Follow a College’s Directions

Most colleges today offer an online version of their application, and sometimes it is the only way to apply to that college. Be mindful of each school’s requirements and if they give no preference to online vs. paper, decide which is best for you.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

Not the same a few years ago

colleges perfer the online application for better data base management. paper applications has its advantages and not used very often those days. I believe if you prefer to use paper applications, you can provide more information and add more materials.

Annie ReznikCounselor/CEOCollege Guidance Coach

Equitable Review of Online and Paper Applications Ensures Equal Access

Colleges and universities prefer to receive applications online. Speed and accuracy are improved with online processing. However, universities that still offer paper submission of applications do so to ensure accessibility. Some students may have limited access to high speed internet which is required for online application completion. Admission offices review paper and online applications with exactly the same process to ensure equal access.

Jill KaratkewiczCounselorEast Hampton High School

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

These days, the majority of applications are submitted online. However, unless the college tells you otherwise, there is no difference between an online and paper application. The benefit of an online application is that as soon as you hit “Submit” it is instantaneously received by the college (soon to be joined by your supplemental documents like transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc). The other possible benefit of an online application (to the student) is that some colleges will waive the application fee if it is submitted online versus paper format.

Jill KaratkewiczCounselorEast Hampton High School

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

These days, the majority of applications are submitted online. However, unless the college tells you otherwise, there is no difference between an online and paper application. The benefit of an online application is that as soon as you hit “Submit” it is instantaneously received by the college (soon to be joined by your supplemental documents like transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc). The other possible benefit of an online application (to the student) is that some colleges will waive the application fee if it is submitted online versus paper format.

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

Online vs. Paper

Unless stated otherwise, I believe schools will treat applications the same, whether done online or paper. The colleges realize that it may not always be an option to apply using the internet, thus they can’t penalize someone for turning in a paper application. At the same time, it is not uncommon for the schools to encourage students to apply online by offering to wave the administrative fee, if they do.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

It’s What Inside That Counts!

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!

Michelle GreenAdmissions ConsultantMy College Admissions Coach

Most schools prefer the online applications.

If you don’t have access to a computer, then it is okay to send in a paper copy. It will speed up the processing of your application if you submit it electronically. You don’t have a computer? Perhaps you can use one at the library or in your teacher’s classroom, guidance counseling office, friend’s house. It’s just better to submit this online. Way back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the land, there wasn’t an internet and gasp…no cell phones, I applied to college. Weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything from them, even when my friends who were applying were getting things in the mail. I called them. They never received/lost my application. I had to send in a new copy, which delayed my acceptance – and financial aid. Send it in electronically!

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Absolutely! If a college gives you the option of submitting either and electronic OR a paper application then there will not be any difference in how it is reviewed. However, if a college indicates that you must submit your application online you should NOT print it out and mail it in. Doing this may mean additional work for them and shows that you are unwilling to follow directions…not a great way to begin the application process.

Nina BerlerFounderunCommon Apps

Applications on Paper

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!

Eric FurdaDean of AdmissionsUniversity of Pennsylvania

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Here is my video response to the question.

Rod BugarinFormer Admissions OfficerColumbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Here is my video response to the question.

Shoshana Krieger

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Most colleges no longer accept paper applications and will only accept online applications. However, for colleges that still accept paper applications, there is no difference in how paper and online applications are reviewed.

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Probably, but no one knows for sure, unless it’s stated on the college’s website.

Angela ConleyCollege Admission ExpertVentureForth

Do colleges view online applications the same as paper applications?

Usually, paper applications are only frustrating if the college/university in question explicitly asked for students to use an online portal. Paper or via online internet are regarded equally, as long as you are responsive to the directions provided. Most institutions of merit use an online portal, though all recognize the digital divide which indicates that some 20-40% of Americans (and even more for other countries) lack access to the web. Follow instructions! If the institution in question asks for paper – do so. If, as is the case with most, the college’s website says use an online portal, then either do so or contact the institution in question and explain your constraints.

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