Monday, September 21, 2015

College Admissions Slush Pile

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Now that we're my son we're (it really is a family affair to some extent for pretty much everyone I know) in the thick of the college admissions process, I decided it was time to clear out a few distractions. Namely, the large and growing pile of printed material that's been keeping the US Postal Service in business for the last 1.5 years. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor darkness or night can prevent college recruitment materials from filling our mailbox.


Behold, a pile roughly 14 inches high built of postcards, letters, brochures, and hope. Just as starry-eyed writers send off manuscripts that never garner more than a glance from editors at the big publishing houses, so, too, do colleges send my son college recruitment materials. They present their best, sunniest, most culturally diverse and glossiest versions of themselves, only to be piled up and crushed under the weight of one the ones that come after.

At first I passed everything on to my son without comment, but eventually I realized he only bothered to open a small amount. He also began to clarify his vision for the types of schools that interested him, so I began to filter lest he run out of space to store his clothes on his bedroom floor.

Small liberal arts college? Not his thing. Design school? Nope. Large state universities outside of the Midwest? Straight to recycling. (Sorry, UT Austin.)

In recent months, the postcards have been replaced by denser materials, some as thick as small books. If I can still recall the details next May after my son has committed to a school, maybe I'll share a few of the biggest hits and misses. Hint: if I spend more time wondering how much time and money it took to produce and mail your piece than actually reviewing its content, it's a miss. 

Not pictured is the pile of materials from schools of interest. That was about 5 inches high, mostly due to multiple mailings:  Come to open house for prospective students! Check out our summer program for high school students! Visit our fabulous campus! That's been pared down to relevant application information and visit days that are still in the future. 

And thank goodness, because now my sophomore is already starting to receive college recruitment materials!




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