With college application deadlines approaching, seniors receive a surplus of college mail

By Hannah Benjamin, ’13

One Saturday morning during my sophomore year, I received my first piece of college mail. I was so excited; I thought this was something special.

Then these advertisements, e-mails and letters became constant. The school mail ranged from obscure institutions such as Spring Arbor University to Ivy Leagues. Day after day more college mail continued to flood my physical and virtual mailboxes. I had received so many of these letters, postcards and e-mails that they became beyond agitating and left me wondering how admissions offices obtained my information.

Well, whether you remember or not, college center counselor Mark Davis said we agreed to receive this mail.

“At some point in the midst of completing [standardized test applications,] there was a question about releasing general information,” Davis said.

I had no idea that this question would turn into such a burden, especially during my senior year. Rarely do I open the mail anymore. The picturesque campus with the autumn landscape and smiling students is horribly deceiving.

Moreover, this is all a money scheme. According to Davis, the ACT and SAT organizations actually make a profit off of the advertisements.

“You take a test and score a 26, you automatically get contacted. OSU contacts anyone with a 25 or higher. In essence, colleges are purchasing names and groups of test scores,” Davis said.

Unfortunately, the outreach has no influence on your acceptance to the college or university. The schools are only making our decisions of where to apply way too difficult.

A newer technique that colleges are using now is to waive application fees. When I learned of this, I thought, finally, something meaningful! But, no. Just another marketing ploy, Davis said.

“Waivers do not mean you are in. It is better than a 50/50 [chance] depending on the school,” he said. “They are student shopping to increase the applicant pool.”

Increasing application numbers is to the colleges’ advantage for gaining better students, obtaining a more prestigious reputation and raising greater amounts of alumni contributions. This devious plan from the many colleges and universities has only turned into a pain for us students.

Luckily this burden will come to an end once applications are submitted. So seniors, we have less than a year to receive the college mail. If you find your dream school’s name pasted on the postcard, run with it. Otherwise, the mail truly is unimportant.