Stephen Marcus, founder and CEO of Matchbox, said higher-education admissions departments “live by the 70-30 rules,” with 70 percent of the office’s time spent on the onerous logistics of application reviews, and 30 percent spent on recruiting prospective students.

“One of the hopes is definitely that we’ll recruit more students,” said Jennifer Barba, associate director of admissions at MIT, where 35 admissions officers have used the Matchbox iPad app since last year. “If we’re able to see an increase, we’ll know that it worked.”

Barba said summary notes of applicants’ information were jotted on paper and stored away in filing cabinets. Only numeric scores assigned to prospective students were kept online.

“The idea was to create an app that completely mimicked the handwritten process,” Barba said. “It’s really streamlined the process.”

The dramatic move from paper to a cloud-based iPad app made for the UCLA School of Management’s largest-ever pre-Christmas admittance batch. The school sent out 125 acceptance letters this month, about 50 more than usual.


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