New system will allow students to apply online

by V. Paul

Sitting at a computer miles from the registrar’s office, a prospective student can soon apply for admission to the University with a quick point and click.
Now in their last level of testing, University admissions officials hope to launch today a second version of a system designed to accept applications from prospective undergraduate and graduate students via the Internet.
“It’s pretty much ready to go,” said Michael Handberg, who led the system’s design team. “But we test things, test them again, then test them a fourth time just to be sure.”
When fully operational, the system is expected to handle about 40 percent of the 15,000 applications the University receives annually by 2001. Students may use the system 24 hours a day, know immediately if their applications were received and pay the application fees with a credit card.
However, online applicants will still need to allow time for transcripts and test scores to be submitted by high schools and testing centers before applications are considered.
A student will not be able to sit at a terminal the day before applications are due and make the deadline.
“It doesn’t matter whether you send in your application by the traditional method or you submit it by the Web application, you’re guaranteed the same conditions, that you’re going to be reviewed by the same standards,” said Wayne Sigler, director of admissions.
Admissions officials said they wanted to create a more convenient way for high-school students to send their applications.
“We think this is going to be a real timesaver, and we think this is what students will be looking forward to,” said John Printz, associate director of admissions.
A previous version of the system was taken off-line December 1998 because designers thought it was not user-friendly.
Rooms full of high-school students tested out the information screens of the current version last summer — before designers even created the system’s actual functions.
“We tried to leave no stone unturned on this and tried to make sure we were listening very carefully to our prospective students — our customers — before this design was finalized,” Sigler said.
The new system reduces the amount of manual data entry for the admissions office and ensures that complete applications forms and fees are submitted.
“This project is one of several initiatives by President Yudof that have been implemented or will be implemented to make the University more user-friendly,” Sigler said.
V. Paul Virtucio welcomes comments at [email protected]