One by one, students tentatively enter the Guidance office and place their cover sheets and secondary school reports in the designated basket. While some students lift up the stack of forms, discreetly sliding their own papers to the bottom, others cautiously linger near the basket to double-check that their college lists aren’t seen.
For many students, the college admissions process is private. Unfortunately, this need for privacy on some students’ part is not fostered by the form submission system in place.
The Campanile thinks Paly ought to digitize the college application material process to increase efficiency on both the student and school ends, as well as ensure student privacy.
Currently, submitting materials such as cover sheets and secondary school report forms involves physically obtaining the necessary forms, filling them out using pen and paper, and placing them in a basket in the Guidance office. Afterward, according to Ann Deggelman, coordinator of the Teacher Advisory Program, the information is entered into Naviance to pre-populate the Senior Survey and is screened for any missing documentation or confusing information.
The main disadvantage of this system is that, because the senior class size is large and most students are applying to multiple colleges, the data entry portion for the cover sheet is a time-consuming process, according to Deggelman. By utilizing digital forms in place of physical ones, we think necessary information could be more easily and more quickly transmitted, which Deggelman said will hopefully happen.
Furthermore, the current submission process does not ensure student privacy or security. Because all seniors turn in their forms in the same basket, students’ college lists, which are considered private, are easily visible to peers. Secondary school reports also require sensitive information, including a student’s social security number, which other students may be able to see. Digitizing this system would significantly decrease the risk of accidentally sharing of private information, as it would only be able to be accessed by designated school officials.
Additionally, using digital methods for college material submission increases flexibility for students, as they would not have to physically submit their forms to the Guidance office during school hours. It’s also a more environmentally friendly option.
Despite these advantages, The Campanile understands the digitization of college application materials is not simple. According to Deggleman, although efforts have been made to digitize the process, there is still no direct method to transmit data between Google forms and Naviance.
Although implementing a new digital process may be difficult, The Campanile thinks Paly should prioritize finding a better submission process. The introduction of some form of a digitized process would ensure added security for student information and enhance overall efficiency.