Category Archives: Paperless Admissions

January 22, 2015

Six Questions Grad School Prospects Should Ask Themselves

In a US News article, six questions were presented for graduate school prospects to ask themselves when visiting and interviewing at potential colleges. The questions within the US News article are centered around the initial impression that the prospect had from the admissions office. Many times how one is treated as an applicant can be indicative of how the individual will be treated as a student. Listed below are the six questions that US News challenged grad school applicants to ask themselves.

graduate admissions

1. Did the admissions staff seem to care?

First impressions are everything. Showing potential students that you and your admissions staff care about the applicant and their individual situation is important. AMP, one of the most customized graduate application systems, is one way to help your office stay focused on giving prospective applicants an effective experience.

2. How professional and informed was the staff?

To be a professional and informed staff member, the staff needs to have a good overall understanding of the type of upcoming class and applicant that they want their school to have. An enrollment management system can keep staff informed on the applicant’s background, grades, history, interests, scheduled visits and more within one secure place, so that staff can effectively evaluate applicants for the best possible class.

3. How did the admissions staff behave during the campus visit, event, or fair?

The US News article also continues to ask , ”If you visited the campus, was your visit confirmed with you in advance? If you sent an RSVP, did you get a friendly reminder?” Admissions staff should be knowledgeable about the applicant’s situation during any encounter with the prospective applicant.

 AMP’s system takes care of notifying and informing faculty and applicants of their upcoming meetings and appointments. Instead of worrying if every faculty member or applicant knows when and where to be, the top administrators can focus on the applicant.

4. How long did it take to get someone on the phone or receive E-mail response?

Communication and staying engaged is key with prospective applicants. With many applicants and  faculty members, it’s hard to keep track of all of the communication going on between. AMP can help your staff organize the communications in one place. Keeping track of every communication with each student allows your staff to see which students have been helped and contacted.

5. How was admissions information presented on the website?

Applicants want to find information quickly and easily. Within AMP‘s enrollment management system, every bit of information can be micromanaged to ensure that your applicants are getting everything they need to know. AMP gives your staff the opportunity to edit every page that the applicants see in their portal, all the way down to the specific stage of the application process they’re in. This ensures that the applicant has all the information that they may need, which will help to further streamline and simplify the admissions process for both the admissions staff and the applicant.

6. What was the online application procedure like?

The actual application is a sensitive and important part of the application process. This is where your admissions office has a chance to see behind just the GPAs and academic scores, and to look at applicant’s experiences and thoughts on important matters. Easy access to a student’s information, letters of recommendation, and transcripts help to simplify the process for admissions staff. By keeping all of the application materials in one place, and integrating with third parties, like, AMCAS, CAS, and TMDSAS, the admissions staff can better evaluate applicants.

For the admissions and recruitment office, their goal is to have their school stand out to applicants. With detailed and complicated admissions processes for graduate schools, admissions offices frequently struggle to make enough time in the day to complete everything on their to-do lists. Utilizing an enrollment management system, like AMP, can simplify the admissions process and help admission staff members prepare for the next hectic, but exciting, admission season.

How does your school currently prepare for the admissions season?

November 12, 2014

AACRAO: Predict Performance with Evidence Based Research

aacraoA few of our team members from ZAP Solutions attended the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) SEM Conference this past week in Los Angeles.

AACRAO is a professional organization of personnel working in college and university admissions, academic records, and enrollment services. The AACRAO SEM Conference is an interesting and affluent event that brings together college enrollment management and admissions professionals from institutions throughout the country to collaborate with other individuals to discuss coordinating campus-wide efforts to ensure the success of students, from initial contact until graduation. The AACRAO SEM Conference had workshops and sessions discussing the creation of effective enrollment management plans to lead campus strategic planning efforts and improve student access and success.

One of the sessions that I attended was entitled, “Predicting Performance: using evidence based research and analytics to select best fit applicants.” It was presented by Dr. Jim Lloyd from the University of Florida College of Veterinary School, Coretta Patterson from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Hilda Mejia Abreu, a former employee of Michigan State University. The goal behind the study was to look at the datasets of accepted students to see how their traditional and non-traditional factors correlated with their academic success.

The session was extremely informative, providing research results that they took from admitted students from 2000 to 2006 at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The study used datasets from the admissions office and the student’s curriculum to compare both traditional and non-traditional characteristics. Traditional characteristics included GPA and GRE test scores, while non-traditional characteristics consisted of race/ethnicity, state, gender, age, residency, prior degree, and interview score. Using both traditional and non-traditional characteristics provided the opportunity for a more holistic admissions process in order to see if either type of characteristic was predictive of academic performance as measured by either cumulative clinical and didactic GPA.

In the research study, there were a few different types of studies that were reviewed throughout the session that were used to help evaluate the results. The studies consisted of the Astin I-E-O Model and the 2004 Sedlacek Non-cognitive Variables Model.

To what extent did traditional and non-traditional characteristics contribute to the prediction of the cumulative clinical GPA?

Research from the study showed that there were certain non-traditional and traditional characteristics that were the most predictive of the student’s academic success or cumulative clinical GPA, including the GRE Quantitative (traditional) and the interview score (non-traditional). The Accreditation Service will look at the school’s admissions process and give suggestions on what should be done, not what must be done. This means that their recommendations are solely suggestions, not mandatory requests. It is up to the institution to review their goals and implement the changes. This research study helps show the importance of a holistic admissions process that looks at more than just the applicant’s test scores and traditional characteristics.

Lessons Learned from the Research Study

  • Admissions process selection and goals should be defined and aligned with the mission and goals of institution and profession.

In the field of veterinary medicine, people skills are en extremely important need in veterinarians. Veterinarians must not only connect with animals but the humans that are at the end of the leash. People skills are needed in many fields of work, but it is particularly important in the medicine field due to the usually serious and sensitive nature of a patient’s visit. More often than not, grades and scores are viewed as the only important factor in finding a good doctor and the experience as a whole is often forgotten as a significant necessity.  This is a topic that has been the focus in the past year  when discussing the importance of people skills in doctors. The new MCAT test coming out in April 2015 is addressing this issue by including more questions in the MCAT test related to the student’s people and social science skills.

  • Complete an analysis of admissions variables and curricular performance completion as each semester concludes

Reporting and tracking the progress at the end of each semester will help to continuously update the admissions process as the time sees fit.

  • Regularly export data sets on performance to SPSS or another tool for easy mining for future use

Even if the data is not evaluated at that point, it is critical to keep data for future analysis and reporting.  Data analytics are essential for admissions offices to see what variables and factors are working the best for their institution and incoming class.

  • Establish a scholarly research agenda

Scheduled research studies can help to consistently analyze the data of your institution and applicant pool to confirm if your school’s admissions process is working towards your institution’s mission and goals.

  • Practice holistic admissions

The benefits of holistic admissions has been noted by many institutions more recently over the past five years. Looking at all aspects of the applicant will only help admissions officers to better select the applicants that will work best for their school.

  • Implement both traditional and non-traditional components in review process

As shown in this research study, both traditional and non-traditional components are both useful in predicting academic success. Many schools are taking the initiative to focus on both traditional and non-traditional components when admitting applicants into their programs. This does however lengthen the process and adds time to the already complex process of selecting future students. In efforts to maximize efficiency and create a more dedicated and observant process, many schools are turning to admissions software to organize, track, and assist with the entire enrollment process. Enrollment management software, such as AMP, are saving institutions money and time by holding the entire process in one place. By utilizing a centralized management system, admissions staff are able to easily, seamlessly and securely manage the student lifecycle from prospect to alumni, enabling schools to turn complex data into business intelligence and choose the candidates who are the very best fit for  their program.

 How is your institution selecting your admissions process?

October 7, 2014

Marketing vs. Counseling: The Changing Field of Admissions

In the last couple of decades, and particularly the past few years, colleges have become accessible to more than just the upper-middle-class. What used to be “the ideal college” is no longer tied to one demographic or set of qualities. Students are looking for many different options and features for their future college. With the number of entering college students hovering above 21.8 million and the number of accredited colleges nearing seven thousand, the options are bountiful and so are the students’ preferences.  Admission staffs are now forced to balance the needs of the institutions and the ever increasing and diversifying applicant pool.  Admission staffs are constantly struggling with enrolling students that will “ensure a college’s financial stability”, diversify and enrich the student population, and become substantial additions to the institution. In many cases, these requirements do not always match up, causing drifts between the financial and academic departments and leaving the admissions staff stuck in the middle. A field traditionally known as ‘counseling’ has turned into ‘marketing’.

Admission staffs are now starting to look more like marketing teams and this raises the stress levels on many of the officers who are not used to spending as much time and effort with the prospecting process. Institutions are continuously tightening budgets, which is causing an ever increasing rise of dependency on the recruitment and acceptance of future students. Class sizes from year to year are increasing at a phenomenal rate; the number of enrolled students has increased by six million in the last thirteen years – a 38% increase.  The growth in applications and admission duties has left admissions officers in a stressful and time-scarce cycle facing many challenges.

Looking at a bar chart figure from The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Shaping the Class, admissions officers from different levels of colleges and universities are facing many challenges, including maintaining an enrollment focused culture in the institution.

Enrollment Management

Chronicle

The chart above shows just how far the responsibilities and functions of the  admissions officers have changed and expanded. There are ways to minimize and manage the amount of stress within the admissions office. Using scheduling tools, such as Schedule Today, has decreased the amount of time the admission staff have to spend on menial tasks like scheduling appointments and updating calendars. Medical, Law, and Graduate schools are also using programs, such as AMP Admissions Software, to balance the lengthy and in-depth admissions process. By transferring over duties automatically to simplified software, admission staffs are able to manage more time with students and balance tasks with tight budgets.

Although schools are finding ways to stretch budget dollars with prospecting and the admissions process, the question of how to balance a genuine relationship and encouraging ‘sales’ is still unanswered.  In a recent Chronicle article, Dr. Hawkins, director of public policy and research at NACAC, says, “Even though admissions has been around for a long time, the field still isn’t at a point where it has really defined itself. This profession is being shaped right now, and there’s this question of, Are we counselors or are we marketers? Do we understand the emerging markets that we’re trying to tap into? Ideally, you don’t want to see the entire emphasis be on marketing.”

February 18, 2014

Admissions Trends to Watch in 2014

2014With 2013 behind us, it is time to start planning for 2014′s admissions season. By following the ever-changing world of higher education admissions trends, you can ensure that your admissions staff is working to their full potential and that your department is selecting the best fit candidates.

A Focus on Competency

Competency based education gives credit for mastery of skills and real-life work experience. “We actually measure what students know and can do, not how long they’ve spent in a seat,” says Robert Mendenhall, president of Western Governors University (Quinton). A focus on competency credit will help President Obama to achieve his goal of reducing college debt for current and future students.

Next-level Data and Analytic Tools

For years now, an increasing number of schools have been making the switch to admissions software solutions such as AMP online admissions. Analyzing reports on applicant data has become the norm for a well-rounded admissions process. Now, schools are taking that data to the next level and looking for long-term trends in the admissions world. “Performance metrics and dashboards are the beginning, but using data to understand deeper correlations and causality so we can shape change will be critical as we strive to advance our effectiveness,” says David Lassner, interim presided and former chief information officer at the University of Hawaii (The Chronicle).

Price-savvy Prospects

According to data from Sallie Mae, a majority of families eliminated colleges based on cost at some stage during their college shopping and admissions process. Colleges looking for continued steady growth will do well to plan for predicted demographic shifts that foretell a lower volume of high-income applicants. Schools can track their success in recruiting new groups of prospective students by using a prospect module in an end-to-end admissions tool like AMP Paperless Admissions.

 Alternative Admissions

Amidst a looming doctor shortage, medical school admissions have been under the microscope. With a lot of attention on the need for change in medical admissions in 2013, the situation may appear dire at first glance.  However, it is also evident that high pressure breeds creativity. A number of medical schools have implemented new approaches to medical admissions. At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai University, their innovative FlexMed option allows students to apply without completing a PreMed program or taking the MCAT. Several schools have begun taking a holistic approach to applicant review, evaluating non-cognitive personality traits for compatibility with the medical profession. Additionally, Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) have begun to gain traction as an alternative to the traditional 1-on-1 office interview.

What is your admissions office doing differently in 2014?

October 9, 2013

Trends in MBA Admissions

Selecting students for admission into a competitive and prestigious MBA program is no easy feat. In order to effectively evaluate applicants, the admissions offices draw upon a wide variety of data, including applications, essays, interviews, and test scores. Programs are constantly looking for ways to improve their admissions procedures by streamlining the process, vigorously screening applicants, and by searching for the subtle personality qualities that make an applicant stand out.

Trend #1: Smart Data, Smart Decision Making with AMP

  • Analyze data with data reporting tools to compare applicants.
  • AMP is a college admissions software built specifically to handle complex admissions processes. Originally developed for medical admissions, it is an extremely flexible product that can be customized for your existing processes.
  • AMP can handle complex admissions procedures such as Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), interview scheduling, committee evaluations, and applicant screening.
  • AMP’s powerful custom reporting tool means that you’ll be able to generate statistics to better evaluate your applicants and more efficiently narrow the pool to only the most promising prospects.

Trend #2: Evaluating Ethics with Turnitin

  • Turnitin.com is an online tool commonly used by professors to screen submitted papers for plagiarism. It has also proven useful for screening application essays in the admissions office.
  • Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal School of Business used Turnitin during the 2012-2013 admissions season and subsequently rejected 48 applicants because of plagiarism. At the UCLA Anderson School of Management, 15 applicants were rejected as a result of plagiarism.
  • Especially in an MBA program, ethical decision-making is a very important quality in a strong applicant.

Trend #3: Rethink the essay question

  • Several MBA programs are getting personal & creative when it comes to their evaluation criteria. These unorthodox methods put the applicant in an unexpected situation, catching them off guard. Then, the admissions office can better evaluate an applicant’s personality and grace under pressure.
  • At Chicago Booth’s MBA program, they allow applicants to submit a 4 slide powerpoint presentation instead of a traditional essay response.
  • Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business challenged applicants to tweet a reason why they want to attend the school’s MBA program.
  • The University of Toronto’s Rotman School has replaced a traditional written essay question with a 90-second video interview. “We wanted to know more about the personality and passions of our applicants”, explains Niki da Silva, Rotman’s Director of Admissions. “Candidates were picking out keywords from our website for their essays, and we felt that we were losing in authenticity.”

With abundant resources, here are many ways to improve the performance of your admissions office.

Has your school implemented any new evaluation methods?

May 1, 2013

Paperless Review at NAGAP 2013

NAGAP Conference 2013The admissions experts from ZAP Solutions just returned from the Annual NAGAP Conference in Orlando, Florida! National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP)’s mission is to engage and advance Graduate Enrollment Management Professionals by promoting excellence and collaboration through education, research, and professional development. The NAGAP Conference is an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn and discuss the different approaches and aspects of graduate enrollment management. The ZAP team had a wonderful time networking with other admissions professionals and spreading the word about AMP, ZAP’s paperless admissions solution.

While there were many informative and engaging presentations at the conference, one in particular caught our attention – “Best Practices for a Paperless Application and Review Process.” In this session, representatives from Duke, North Carolina State University, and the University of Minnesota presented their experiences with moving to an electronic admissions process. While listening to their presentations, we were surprised to discover that the committee review of applicants was being discussed as a new feature in online admissions management, since AMP has featured committee reviews being accessible online in our web-based admissions management system for the past ten years.

AMP has the ability to enable each of our schools to utilize an admissions management system that is customized specifically to their admissions process, including committee review.  The Committee Review process in AMP has features for administrators and committee members including:

    • Schedule committee review meetings
    • Assign applicants to specific committee members, automatically or manually
    • Review applicants’ screening reports, interview reports, and full application data
    • Rank applicants
    • Submit decisions with related comments
    • View a summary of committee decisions, as shown below

AMP - Committee Admin Summary

We are pleased to know that our well-established practices are becoming the new standard in admissions management. The AMP development team is constantly working with clients to innovate new ways to expedite the admissions process. For example, AMP recently launched the new “Experience Timeline,” a tool that charts the extracurricular involvement of an applicant, making it easy to evaluate a student’s activities over the course of several years.

We are always searching for new ways to make the admissions process easier for our schools, which is why AMP is one of the first-to-market in developing new features in paperless admissions management software, like our online committee review and MMI interviews. Our more than ten years of experience with admissions management has enabled AMP to become a market leader in innovative admissions management software.

April 22, 2013

Go Green with Paperless Admissions for Earth Day!

Today marks the 43rd Annual Earth Day!

Did you know….

  • Earth Day was conceived by Senator Gaylord Nelson after he visited the site of an oil spill in 1969.
  • The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970.
  • By 1990, Earth Day had gained international momentum and was celebrated in 141 countries, creating a huge growth in recycling efforts worldwide.
  • Some communities in the United States take Earth Day a step further and celebrate Earth Week!
  • It is easy for Admissions Departments to celebrate Earth Day all year round by eliminating paper waste with an electronic admissions system like AMP.
  • Paper waste accounts for up to 40% of waste produced in the United States each year, amounting to 71.6 million tons of paper waste per year in the U.S. alone. To put that into perspective, that is the same weight as approximately 12,452,174 elephants!
  • You can find out more tips on how to commit to going paperless on the Paperless 2013 Blog.
  • In the last 40 years, paper consumption has increased 400% and deforestation has become more and more worrisome. Do your part! Plant a tree and go paperless.

Are you doing anything special for Earth Day 2013? Does your admissions department care for the environment year-round with a paperless process? Let us know in the comments section!

November 21, 2012

The Waiting Game

Being offered a spot on a college wait list is like pursuing a relationship with a wishy-washy crush. “I like you, you’re great, but I can’t commit… right now.” In both situations, a course of action isn’t clear. Is it best to hold out in the hopes that your dreams will come true, while risking being crushed emotionally through inaction? Or to cut your losses and move on? For thousands of applicants, the wait list is a frustrating proposition.

The Background

In recent years, wait lists have exploded in size and prevalence. In 2003, the University of Chicago’s wait list comprised of just 500 applicants. In 2009, the number had increased to 1,033 applicants. By 2012, a whopping ~3,000 prospective students were placed on the wait list.

Wait ListWhy the sudden change? The answer is simple: the economy. After the economic downturn in 2008, many universities underestimated their “yield” – the percentage of students who accepted their offers of admissions. Students were becoming more cautious in their decision making and hedged their bets by applying to more schools than ever before, resulting in larger applicant pools and lower yields.

Colleges and Universities reacted to the increased number of applicants and unpredictable yield rates by increasing their wait list numbers. This provides a larger pool of potential applicants for filling in the gap in yield numbers. The dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke, Christoph Guttentag, explains another reason behind the swell in waitlists – too many applicants, too little time. “What we could have done, had we had another week,” he said, “was to look at everybody on the waiting list and say, ‘Do they all need to be on?’… Of all the priorities, that was not in the top two or three.”

Benefits for Schools

The wait list serves as a tool to fine-tune an incoming class in light of the aforementioned low yield rates. Says Christoph Guttentag of Duke, “I have no idea what I’m going to need to finish sculpting the class. From an institutional perspective, it’s important that I have some flexibility.”

This flexibility can serve to improve campus diversity, to fill a particular school or program of study, or – more controversially – to cherry pick students who are more likely to help the bottom line. With federal dollars disappearing from education budgets, public colleges and universities increasingly look to out-of-state applicants to help boost profits with higher tuition rates, and a student who can pay in full at a private institution is a hot commodity.

Drawbacks for Students

Many high school counselors are against the recent trend of expanding wait lists, saying that schools are misleading students. Students accepted off of a wait list often have a very short window of time to make their decision. Usually students have at least a day to make a decision, but there are some cases where schools put pressure on students to make a snap decision. John Talmage, director of college counseling at St. Paul’s School in Maryland, had a student who was given just two hours to accept or reject an admission offer from his first choice school.

Mitchell Thompson, a counselor from Scarsdale High School, says that it was unfair to expect any student to make a final decision “in less time that you might take to decide to buy a car,” especially when you consider that, for many students, the decision to attend a school is a huge financial commitment. Students who are offered admission from a wait list often do not have an aid package to review before their decision deadline, and many times these students get the short end of the stick with inadequate aid packages after they have made the commitment. It is certainly worrying that students are expected to make an important financial decision without first having all of the facts, especially when graduates and the nation as a whole are facing a huge student loan bubble.

Establishing Best Practices

At the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Conference, waitlisting was a hot topic for discussion. “Wait lists are becoming the Wild West of the admissions process,” said John Talmage, “There are basically no rules there.”

At the conference, the NACAC proposed some ideas for best practices in wait list policy. One suggestion was to allow students accepted off of the wait list 3 days to make their decision, allowing time to reflect on the financial commitment and to fully weigh the pros and cons of accepting admission. They also proposed a study to evaluate the length of wait lists.

Hopefully the NACAC’s efforts will be able to help the admissions world to balance high numbers of applicants, unpredictable yields, and long wait lists. One solution that we at College Admissions Today would suggest is for admissions departments to make their processes more streamlined and effective through the use of a paperless admissions system such as AMP.

June 28, 2012

Colleges Seek to Cut Costs Amidst Economic Pressure

The higher education landscape is on the edge of a big change. With increased attention on student debt coupled with decreased funding from state and federal governments, it is becoming clear that the status quo is not sustainable for many colleges and universities across the U.S. “The notion that universities can do business the very same way has to stop,” said Mr. E. Gordon Gee, President of the Ohio State University.

Before the economic downturn, colleges and universities successfully wooed applicants with l promises of financial aid, and assurances of gainful employment upon graduation. In the current poor economic climate, the priorities of applicants are changing. Among reports that as many as 1 in 4 student loan borrowers are delinquent on their debt, prospective students are becoming more leery of accepting large loan packages to fund their education, instead opting to look for the school that will offer the best value for their money.

As a result, more affordable public colleges’ admissions numbers are gaining momentum over private institutions. In 2009, SUNY New Paltz’s admissions office processed 15,500 applications; a 12% increase from 2008. With so many applicants vying for acceptance, admissions departments have unique problems to tackle. Should they accept more students, but risk diminishing the college experience through overcrowding? Or should they accept fewer students in order to improve their academic rankings? At SUNY New Paltz, the administration is using the latter strategy and maintaining focus on long-term goals instead of short-term profits.

While many public schools have an embarrassment of riches in the admissions department, they are also experiencing a steady decrease in federal and state funding. In fact, per-student state appropriations are at their lowest level in 25 years. In a report earlier this year, Moody’s Investor Services offered a bleak outlook for schools that rely heavily on government funding. Those schools will need to make some major changes to their business models in order to stay competitive. With the student debt bubble creeping towards $1 trillion, high unemployment, and steadily increasing delinquencies, raising tuition may not be a viable option in the future. Moody’s stated “Tuition levels are at a tipping point…We anticipate an ongoing bifurcation of student demand favoring the highest quality and most affordable higher education options.”

While it is impossible to predict what will happen when the student debt bubble bursts, there is no time like the present to plan for the future. In this uncertain climate, confronting costs should be the #1 priority of all higher education institutions. “This notion that higher education has an obligation to try to reduce administrative costs to preserve the academic core of institutions as a way of trying to pull down tuition increases is very important,” says Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a professor of industrial and labor relations and economics at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute. “Tuition cannot go up forever.”

Photo Courtesy of Jonathan Cohen, Licensed under Creative Commons.

To reduce costs while keeping tuition rates reasonable, costs must be analyzed from a high level. Colleges and universities are notorious for having complex, decentralized management structures which create redundancies and inefficient operating procedures. By streamlining and standardizing operations across the board, schools can work leaner and more efficiently. At the Ohio State University, choosing a single vendor for pens saved $20 million and creating a common expense reporting system saved the school a whopping $75 million. At the University of Nevada School of Medicine, implementing  AMP – a flexible and streamlined admissions software – sped up their admissions department schedule by 3-4 months over their previous, inefficient process.

It seems that more schools are going to be jumping on the bandwagon of keeping tuition in check through cost cutting and restructuring. We at College Admissions Today would love to hear from you & your school – Have you or your co-workers implemented any cost-cutting or streamlining measures? Have they been successful? How would you cut costs if the decision was in your hands?

August 10, 2011

Go Green & Get Rich with Paperless Admissions

What is the most talked about liquid that is constantly complained about because of its’ price?  Yep, that’s right – gasoline.  Looking at the current $3.70 per gallon in Pittsburgh, that price is sky high compared to 5-10 years ago. By roughly breaking that $4 down, the price per an ounce of gas comes out to right around three cents.  How expensive is it compared to other popular liquids in the United States?  Let’s see how gasoline measures against expensive perfume, Chanel No. 5 and some run of the mill, black printer ink.

Go green with paperless admissions

Can you believe that you would actually save money by inserting luxurious perfume, over an ink cartridge, into your printer?  It is easy to see how a school’s printing expenses can add up quickly. Paperless admissions can save schools quite a small fortune for them.

Precisely how much money goes into printing?  Let’s talk numbers.

The average employee uses 10,000 sheets a year which ends up being about $600-$1,300 for every employee.

Printer ink is a whopping $88 an ounce, which comes out to approximately $11,264 a gallon.

17% percent of what is printed is considered waste, like banners or links at the bottom of pages.

The mismanagement of copiers, printers, and fax machines can cost anywhere between 1-3% of revenue annually.

One to three… That’s not bad right?  Take into consideration the key statistics I read on Finance Yahoo; head honcho companies like Google, Toyota, and Target had 2010 advertising budgets that were less than 3% of their annual revenues. I would say it is that bad.

So, how are you going to save money?
Is it possible to cut printing entirely?  Hmm… maybe, but unlikely.  There are easier ways to save money without cutting printing off completely. Here are seven examples of what schools can do to start see the money rolling in.

#1. Double-sided printing- This will cut back on the amount of printing by roughly 50% if printer settings are switched from single-sided to duplex.

#2. Print e-mails & website information only when necessary- If the e-mail or website can be forwarded before a meeting instead of printed, then save the extra effort and paper by just shooting them a quick e-mail attachment.

#3. Utilize the printer-friendly button- If it absolutely needs to be printed, look for a printer friendly button.  Many websites and e-mail servers have printer friendly buttons to remove advertisements and unnecessary text so that only the needed content and images are printed.

#4. Consider the return on investment in energy efficient technology- Energy efficient printers, fax machines, etc. use a lot less energy than the clunky, loud one that is probably sitting in your office right now.  Energy efficient machines are usually more expensive at first, but they use three times less electricity.  The money saved from electricity in the long run will outweigh the immediate cost.

#5. Send out student pamphlets through e-mail – Any pamphlets or brochures used to send information to the students could be sent electronically, instead of through postal mail.  It is significantly cheaper, and many self-service provider companies charge less than a cent for every e-mail.  In addition, many students check their e-mail frequently, especially with the convenience and popularity of smart phones.

#6. Embrace social media sites- If reminders are needed for upcoming events, try communicating with students through Facebook and Twitter.  It is much quicker and cheaper than designing a postcard to send out weeks beforehand.  Social media can facilitate communication easily and frequently to applicants, current students, and alumni.

#7. Switch admissions to a paperless application system- How many paper applications are still sent out or wasted during student visits?  Switching over to an entirely paperless admissions system can increase return on investment and save money, in just printing costs alone. It is extremely convenient to have all the applicants and their information in one place, so you can stay organized.  Here at ZAP, we have an excellent AMP system that manages the entire admissions system from the applications and integrated AMCAS results to the interview scheduling.

Keep these seven tips handy around the admissions office.  It is easy to feel good about going green with paperless admissions, especially while you are saving money too!

Click here to find out more information about how to reduce printing costs.