A math problem: The University of Washington receives more than 30,000 applications to its 122 graduate programs each year. Each application has, on average, 25 pages of information — including essays, transcripts and letters of recommendation. If each application were printed five times so that faculty members could review hardcopies and decide which applicants to accept, it would amount to 3.75 million pieces of paper. At a cost of 6 cents per page to print, how much would the University pay in printing alone?
$225,000. That’s how much.
But now, UW graduate programs can save money — and staff and faculty time — through an online application review process, created and implemented by the UW Graduate School. For 10 years, applicants to graduate programs have been able to submit their applications online. But once the individual programs received the applications, they had to either print hardcopies to circulate to faculty members for evaluation, or they had to manually combine PDFs and upload to a server to give others access. Both methods took graduate program staff members up to two weeks of work to prepare files for faculty reviewers, depending on the number of applications received.