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Thursday, August 16, 2007

What does the application process say about the school?

I was away from the office for a few days to welcome the newest member of the Dean J household, Cav Pup (no, that's not his real name, but it will be on this blog). After he had someone's attention during virtually every waking moment for a few days, I decided to let him have his first taste of solitude and run to the recycling center yesterday. It was a quick trip, but as I flung old copies of the newspaper, The Hook and Cville Weekly (our two alternative weeklies) into the newspaper recycling container, I wondered how much of the bin was taken up by college brochures, fliers, and application materials.

Did you know that a 2% rate of return on an admission mailing is considered pretty good? Did you know that a large portion of every admission office's budget goes towards designing, printing, and mailing brochures? Does it all seem a little absurd in light of that 2% return rate?

At UVa, we've decided to cut back. We've never been big on having an elaborate "package" of mailings, but we have mailed out tens of thousands of viewbooks and applications each year. This year, we decided that with over 90% of applications coming in online, it was time to end the printing and mailing of the applications. Those who really want to apply on paper can download the application from our website.