Advent of the On-Line Application

Technology is making it easier than ever to apply to college. Now Harvard must ask: Is this a good thing?

You log into your home computer, open an Internet browser, access Harvard's World Wide Web site, fill in some personal information on an admissions form and click the 'send' button.

Voila! You have just applied to Harvard.

The admission office is already looking into this scenario, and it may not be far off.

Harvard made applying to the College easier by adoption of the Common Application last year. And now, technology may further simplify the process.

the dramatic growth in use of the internet--a global data communications network--by students over the last few years has led to two basic ways for a university to incorporate on-line technology into its application process.


The first is by making the application available over the Internet, such as the Common Application which is available by file transfer protocol. A student can print the form off the Internet and mail it in.

But Harvard has supplemental questions for prospective students which are not available on-line.

"Making an application available on-line is an excellent idea," says Evan G. Stein '95. "It makes it possible for a student to receive an application instantly without any bureaucratic hassles."

But Ishir Bhan '96, the co-president of Digitas, a student group devoted to emerging technologies, says such a version would not be very useful.

"This would simplify the distribution process, but would be of little aid in other areas," he says.

John E. Stafford '96, the president of the Harvard Computer Society and a Crimson editor, believes that this version would be an enormous help to international students.

"Instead of sending expensive guidebooks around the world, schools just put the information on the Web [Where students can access it]," Stafford says.

Stein says that the Yale Medical School application is on-line.

"The university actually prefers if you use this application," he says. "You still have to mail it in, but it is much quicker to receive."

Web Version