The office of undergraduate admission has been considering going paperless for about three years. A paperless undergraduate admission process has many benefits including: expediting communications to applicants, reducing the time spent searching through applicant folders, reducing the carbon footprint of the university, and reducing the physical space required for applicant folder storage. Application materials are hefty and applicant folders are especially cumbersome to travel staff. Elena Hicks, dean of undergraduate admission, was thrilled we she got approval to expedite the process and go paperless one year earlier than expected.
How does a paperless admission process work?
An interested student submits and application either electronically or mails in a paper form. The application information is entered into enrollment management software by Admissions Lab. This information integrates with the Colleague system and all supplemental materials received can be scanned into the student’s electronic folder. The previously paper evaluation form is now electronic.
10,900 evaluation forms/year = 1313 CO2e
If any documents are missing from the application, an electronic notice is sent to the applicant. This process used to take about eight weeks to complete. By going paperless, the process will now take about a week. This makes our communication to applicants much more efficient and will reduce duplicate submissions of application materials.
Application status communication = 3 sheets/applicant = 3939 CO2e*
Once Loyola has all of the application materials, the application is reviewed by a travel team member as well as admission counselors. In the past, offices and hallways in the undergraduate admission department were littered with boxes upon boxes of applications and the travel team would have to lug large bins of applications to and from Loyola. Electronic applicant files make the review process much less cumbersome. Travel team members and admission counselors can review the files electronically and leave comments on an evaluation sheet eForm.
10,900 applications/year = 21,010 CO2e*
The undergraduate admission staff is very excited to complete the transition to paperless. Erin Melody, senior associate director for undergraduate admission, has previously worked in a paperless environment and is excited that Loyola is taking this step. Melody states, “Going paperless shows a great commitment from Loyola’s administration and will help streamline functionality and process.” Overall the undergraduate admission department is looking forward to the paperless shift. As with any new process there will be a learning curve, but Elena and Jennifer are not at all nervous about the transition.
By estimating the amount of paper saved, we can evaluate that the office of undergraduate admission will be able to reduce Loyola’s carbon footprint annually by 13.2 tons CO2e.
What does 13.2 tons of CO2e equal to?
- Enough energy to run a laptop for 37.5 years
- Enough energy for each first year student to run his or her laptop nonstop for 2 weeks
- Enough gasoline to travel from Baltimore to New York City 140 times
- Enough gasoline for the average Loyola employee to commute to and from work for 2.4 years
* Paper/Carbon conversions based on information from www.papercalculator.org, 2011