Colleges sending out acceptance, rejection letters electronically

For the Daily
Published February 15, 2002

High school seniors who wait nervously by their mailboxes for college acceptance letters may soon have to turn to their computers to get the news instead.

While many universities in the U.S. have implemented the Internet into admissions through website and online applications, some schools, including Harvard University, have started sending e-mails to students about whether they have been accepted or rejected.

The University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of California at Los Angeles give their applicants a pin number, where they can look on a website telling them whether the university has received all the necessary information and what stage of the review process their application is in. They can also check whether they have been accepted. If they have not been accepted, the site indicates that a rejection letter is on its way.

But Ted Spencer, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Michigan, said the University has no intentions of telling their applicants via e-mail or a website that they have been accepted any time soon.

"We understand that many students enjoy receiving the letter and the package, and we still think it"s important to send them that information personally," Spencer said.

Websites that show students where their application is in the reviewing process will not be available to University applicants either, Spencer said.

LSA freshman Jonathan Lee recalled being able to check the status of his application for the University of Georgia online.

"I liked knowing that information and it would have been useful if (the University) had that too," he said.

More than 27,000 incoming freshmen and transfer applicants to the University currently receive e-mails telling them that their applications have been received, or whether part of their application is missing.

The University has also added an online application in the past year where students can fill out forms online and send them via the internet.

Last December, Harvard sent electronic acceptance letters to their early admissions students. They are still continuing with the process and intend to inform its later applicants about decisions via e-mail in April.

Although the vast majority of universities in the U.S. have not reached that level of internet usage with admissions, a growing number of them have been implementing other programs.

Starting this fall, all applicants to the University of Dayton must apply online. Without any paperwork, the application process becomes much simpler and faster since everything is handled electronically.

"We don"t have to charge an application fee so the students won"t have to pay, and we can get responses back to the students much more quickly," said an admissions representative from the University of Dayton.

Spencer said the University of Michigan hopes to reach that level of internet usage with admissions eventually. "Its just a matter of time," he said.