As I have talked about previously, my dream school is the University of Florida. I want to major in agriculture communications and I couldn't imagine a better place to study. However, when a student registers for major standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, they give out their personal information. With permission, this personal information is in turn given to other colleges and universities. These colleges then proceed to send mail out to potential students.
While I am completely set on the University of Florida, I am always open to look at other options as back-up plans. However, some of the mail I receive is almost humorous. One test or website I registered for must have reported my first name incorrectly to the colleges; I sometimes receive mail that says "Dear Emil," rather than Emily. Each time I get one of those postcards in the mail it makes me laugh a little.
Much of the college mail I receive is from small private colleges or from universities that do not have my major. I almost feel bad knowing that they took the time to send me their information when I cannot even consider it. However, once I remember that these postcards were probably mass printed and sent out, I do not feel as bad.
While many of the colleges are not applicable to me, occasionally I find a letter in my mailbox from a college that is actually relevant to me. Once, I found a large envelope from Ohio State University containing an entire package of information. When I notice that the mail I receive is from a school that may carry my major, I usually go ahead and conduct a bit of research on it.
It's always especially nice when I receive mail from one of my top five schools. Even though I may have no intention of attending many of the schools I receive mail from, I always keep the mail; I have a stack going in my room. I don't have a real reason for keeping it, other than the fact that it can be a bit of a confidence booster to look at.
College mail that comes in the form of physical letters does not bother me, if anything it is a bit of a pleasant surprise each time I see it in my mailbox. However, when the mail comes in the form of email, it drives me insane. The amount of college mail that I receive in my email inbox borders on spam. If I had more spare time, I could go through and click the button on the bottom of each email that states I no longer want to receive those emails. However, that would take a tremendous amount of time.
Occasionally, I take the time to open an email if it is from a school I am actually interested in. Most of the time, however, I simply click the "check all and delete" button to clear them out of my inbox.
While my feelings about college mail vary depending on the form in which I receive them, I think it is a fantastic marketing technique by the colleges themselves. Students who do not conduct their own research may not know what options are available. Therefore, by colleges sending mail individually to students, they can be encouraged to think about what schools they would like to attend. Although there are some downsides to college mail, I think the overall effects have the potential to be very positive.