Stop sending me college mail


Photo by Nour Faragallah

This is a visual presentation of all the college mail I have received over the last year. This is one of three stacks I have, that will all be recycled very soon.

One of the ways you find yourself transitioning from a high school student to a college applicant is when you start receiving college mail. That usually starts happening right after you take the official PSAT. On that test, you are asked about your mail and email address, and as an impressionable just-became-an-underclassman, you give the College Board your personal information. The College Board frames it as a way to “connect you to colleges and scholarships”. And obviously, we all fall into this trap, and whether you give them either your mail or email, the next year for you is about to be a year where you feel like you are literally being hunted down.

The College Board sells your information to colleges. That would be fine if maybe a couple of colleges that you showed interest in before were contacting you to give you more information but what happens is that every single college under the sun starts contacting you, begging you to apply to their colleges.

There are so many reasons for why that is wrong but the thing is, what usually happens is that you read your first college mail. But you won’t read your third college mail. Because you end up getting so many brochures from different colleges, they become all so not worth your time.

You would think that providing your email address solves the problem. But instead what is currently happening is that the universities send you both emails and mail. The good thing about emails though is that you can always unsubscribe, especially if your junk folder is getting overfilled from college mail, but universities recognize that which is why they will never stop mailing you brochures.

A solution to this problem, which is up to the College Board, of course, is to make the list of colleges that have access to my contact information more customizable. For example, I am not planning to go to a college outside the DMV area, which is why when a college from Oregon or Arizona sends me college mail, I will stare down the amount of mail I’m getting and will literally just feel so bad that a tree was cut down to make this brochure to a college I know I am not going to go to. There is concern regarding the excess use of paper.

The thing is too that we all know why they are sending you mail. They don’t really want you at their college. They just want more people to apply to their college. And it is known that colleges tend to buy low-scoring SAT names from the College Board, and then encourage students to apply knowing they will reject them to boost their selectivity rating and seem more “exclusive”.

The college application process is already so stressful and annoying, so please don’t make it even more difficult by sending excessive mail that benefits literally no one.