My question would be, preferred by whom? I would imagine that there are two groups of individuals to be concerned with: those that prepare incoming applications for review in the selection process (i.e., admissions advisor), and those who actually sit on the selection committee.
I would submit that Dave is correct in his assertion that an admissions advisor would prefer the electronic application for the reason Dave stated above. However, if the admissions advisor is not actually a member of the selection committee, or does not have "direct influence" (See relevant case law for applicable definition
) over the selection process, then it could be argued that it shouldn't matter whether they type it or you send it electronically.
On the other hand, having a possibly underpaid and annoyed individual forced to read your horrible handwriting and type out your information does introduce the possibility of additional mistakes.
Since I trust pissed-off underpaid office workers more than my computer, I sent mine in by hand.