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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From the processing side

I wish I could say that being a paperless office was exactly that.  Unfortunately, just because we go paperless doesn't mean everyone else goes paperless with us.  Applications numbers are up again and the paper is arriving by the bucket (see below) each day.

Our staff is pretty amazing.  Before we went paperless, I remember opening mail in January that had arrived before Christmas because it took more than a day to open what arrived each morning.  Now, most of the mail gets opened the same day it arrives in our office.  From there, paper documents must get scanned into our imaging system and then manually linked to an individual application file.  As you can see, the linking is where the process slows down...

There are people who seem to think online applications, with their confirmations and status pages aren't trustworthy, so they send paper copies of everything that's been submitted online.  There is no reason to do this.  This slows down the processing of credentials.  What's more, it negates our efforts to green the process a bit.  When we started working on implementing our imaging system in 2007, I sometimes wondered about how much paper (and postage) would be eliminated if every university in the state went paperless along with us.  Now, I realize that there will always be paper.  There will always be plenty of paper.  

Please, please do not send a duplicate of anything at this time.  Only send us a duplicate of something that was already submitted if we contact you and ask for it. 

Those papers hanging out of the bins aren't loose...they're irregularly shaped school profiles or international documents..  
Lots of schools use a format that has a flipped top.  When you flatten the profile, it's legal sized.

If you are looking at your status page and worrying even though I've told you not to (here, here, here, and here), stop.  Your documents might waiting to be scanned and linked. 

Please do not call our office about your status page or to check on a document.  Your status pages will update in time.  You just need to be patient.  We will contact you by email if we want you to send us something.  I will post when the first "missing credential" emails go out.  Last year, they went out on February 12th.  I know you feel like you have to do something right now, but you shouldn't.  You need to wait.

Clearly, we do not expect mid-year reports to be here at this time.  That item will remain on your status pages until those reports are sent by your schools in February (unless you're on a trimester system, in which case we have what we need already).

Psst...what to see what this process looked like in past years?  Click on the "office photos" tag and you'll see all "behind the scenes" posts.  The ones from the early years, before we went paperless, are pretty amazing.