Last week a few of the parents who are members of my private Facebook group, Application Nation, posted pictures on our discussion board of the pile of mail their kids have been accumulating from colleges. We all got a good laugh about the variety of colleges sending mail and how different the marketing strategies were. Yet many wondered what it all meant.
If you are a high school student or a parent like them, get ready for this onslaught. Starting soon, if not already, you will begin to get mail (or emails) almost every single day from colleges who somehow know your name, address, and even what major you are considering. But how?
Believe it or not, colleges buy students' information from the College Board when they take the PSATs so that they can start targeting them with marketing materials as early as possible. This year, Yale mailed out an 80-page glossy brochure. Just last week, Tulane blanketed the U.S. with emails and mailed envelopes titled,"Congratulations Are in Order!" to rising high school seniors. And many more colleges will try to outdo the next in order to get the student's attention and ultimately get them to apply.
"Colleges spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for one thing—getting as many students to apply as possible." TWEET THIS
Here are some pointers to consider as the mail starts to pile up:
- Students and parents should have a discriminating eye, whether it's Tulane suggesting merit scholarships or another college waiving the essay and/or fee.
- View these materials as informative rather than a golden ticket of acceptance.
- A strong brochure will be inviting and intriguing right from the start—for students that know the institution and those who don't.
- Try to recycle the brochures of no interest right away. If not, you might need a separate room in your home for what is to come!
- Read through the brochures of interest and pull out different themes and opportunities. This will help you decide where to visit, where to apply, and what to do if you get admitted.