Some colleges are sending mail to prospective applicants as early as freshman and sophomore year of high school. So…what to do when your inbox and mailbox start to overflow?
You may be flattered that colleges are targeting you by sending posters, view books, e-mails, and letters. But it’s important to remember that these seemingly personalized and sometimes even aggressive communications are marketing tools. Receiving a letter that commends you on your superior academic performance, mentions your academic interests, and says that X College is "looking for students just like you!" sounds nice and convincing -- but it really is just a form letter.
This is especially important if you’re a freshman or sophomore in high school. It’s on the early side to start thinking about which colleges you’ll apply to, and college mail is in no way a reflection of how qualified you may be for particular schools. If you’re getting letters from colleges you’ve never heard of, or from big name schools, you shouldn’t take it personally either way.
College mail can be useful, and sometimes even fun, when it’s a poster or a particularly funny letter, for instance. However, college mail isn’t a predictor of where you are destined to go to college, nor is it an indicator of how likely you are to be admitted. Colleges are just doing everything they can to get as many prospective applicants as possible to consider their school.
So look at these letters, e-mails, and brochures and review them objectively to see if the school may be a good fit for you (academically and socially). If you’re genuinely drawn to the school, feel free to respond or reach out to demonstrate your interest. But don't let the fact that you've received a letter sway whether or not you think a school should be added to your list. On the other hand, if a school you like hasn’t sent you anything, don’t worry! Just sign up for their mailing list to ensure that you receive communications from their office.