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Friday, October 13, 2006

More paper...exactly what we don't need

I used to work for a wonderful man who could boast that among his many achievements in the field, he led USC (Southern Cal) into the world of the paperless admission process. He did this back when computers weren't very sophisticated, which was a huge feat. When I worked with him at a different college, he always pushed for us to "go paperless" and we made huge strides in that direction, but never completely got there. Years later, many colleges are making the move to a paperless admission process. Alas, saving paper isn't as en vogue as it used to be and paper is sneaking into the process in others ways.

Over the last two weeks, I've hosted a number of evening programs and sat on a few panels at college information nights. After most of these events, I've had a few students approach me and ask if I'd take resumes. A little baffled and taken a little off guard, I've been accepting them, but I'm starting to wonder if other students are copying this because the numbers keep increasing. Who started this and why? The only place these resumes are going is into the "miscellaneous credentials" files, where they'll sit until an application shows up from the student. I haven't even glanced at the pile that is sitting in the folder usually reserved for driving directions and hotel confirmations.

A colleague of mine thinks private counselors are planting this strategy in students' heads, thinking that every little bit of interaction will curry favor with admission officers. If that's the case, they're forgetting to tell students that we remember those with whom we have significant interaction. That isn't happening in most of these cases.

These same students are depleting my business card stash at an alarming rate. I wonder how many will actually call, email or IM me, as I tell them to or how many will forget about me after they file my card in a UVA folder, next to the brochures and postcards we mailed out a few months ago.