By Barbara Healey, The College Advisor of New York
Right about now high school juniors and many sophomores should begin noticing that their mailbox is overflowing with unsolicited letters and catalogues from colleges all over the country. The volume of college mail you will be receiving from college admissions offices over the next several months can be overwhelming. In addition, your child is likely to be receiving emails from colleges as well. How do college admissions folks get your contact info? They purchase names from a variety of sources, including The College Board, makers of the PSAT, SAT, and AP Courses, and ACT, the competing college admissions test company. It may seem flattering (I can’t believe how many schools are recruiting my student!) – but that’s not necessarily the case.
In fact, your student is receiving this mail as part of an aggressive marketing campaign on the part of the colleges. College admissions officers spend millions of dollars each year on “Enrollment Management” practices designed to attract the most applications.
Demonstrating interest in a college is a key factor in admission decisions at many schools. In our College Advisor Blog archives, we posted an article more than 7 years ago on this topic, but the advice still rings true today. Demonstrating interest in a college is a key factor in admission decisions at many schools. So what should you do? If you are receiving mail from a school your student has expressed an interest in, save it. Open it. Respond if appropriate. If you are receiving mail from a school that you know does not match your student’s interests (they want to stay close to home; this school is 3,000 miles away), toss it. Unsure? Save it and take a look. All too often, students and parents come to us with a list of 8-10 “brand-name” schools – colleges that everyone has heard about. But there are so many schools that might be a better fit — academically, socially and financially – and this is your opportunity to learn a little more about them. We often call these “hidden gems” and Dr. Dean has visited all of them. Of course, The College Advisor staff is happy to help you identify schools that are a good fit for your student. Over the past two years alone, we have helped with over 2,000 college applications to more than 300 different colleges in 32 states and 2 countries. Contact us to learn more about how we can help your student create a custom-tailored list.