Be careful what you wish for! As the mother of a high school senior who answered “Yes” to the college-information question when he first took the PSAT in grade 10, I must warn you that, if you change your stance, you should steel yourself for a propaganda overload. You could get so much email (and snail-mail too) from all sorts of colleges that it may be hard for you to see the forest through the trees. In other words, important mail from colleges (or from anyone else) might get lost in the avalanche of unsolicited materials.
Still eager for the onslaught? Here are your next steps:
- If you haven’t already done so, create a new email address for all things college-related. This will make it easier for you to manage your incoming materials and to keep track of other college mail that you don’t want to miss. Some admissions experts suggest that this email address should always sound professional (e.g., Jane_Doe@gmail.com ). Frankly, I like email addresses for high school students that provide a small dose of personality (e.g., BronteFan@gmail.com) but, of course, use good judgment and steer clear of options like “twerkingirl” or “Brandonsbabe.” Use your new address on your college applications and whenever you sign up for college-related materials (including on standardized tests). Make sure that your high school guidance counselor also knows that this is your “official” college email address.
- When you sign up for your next set of college tests (SAT or ACT), you will again have the opportunity to accept mail from colleges.
- Don’t want to wait that long? If you have any colleges in mind right now that interest you, go on their admissions Web pages. Most schools have a “Put me on your mailing list” option, although you may have to dig around a bit to find it. (You can also call or email the college to request information.) Another good way to receive materials from colleges (and to identify schools that might be good fits for you) is to use College Confidential’s SuperMatch. First go to: http://www.collegeconfidential.com/college_search/ . Next, complete the college-preference questionnaire. Once you have a “Results” list, you will see that some of the colleges offer a “Request Information” link right below their name.
While unsolicited mail from colleges can be a decent way to learn about schools you haven’t heard of, few students report that they actually choose a college as the result of receiving such mail. However, if you do want to get this mail anyway, just be sure to keep in mind that invitations to apply to a college provide no guarantee of acceptance. Some of the most selective colleges in the universe (e.g., Yale, Columbia, Princeton) send unsolicited mail to teenagers who have little or no chance of being admitted. But if you’re able to take college propaganda with a block of salt, you may enjoy the attention.
Finally, check out this popular College Confidential discussion forum thread about “Stalker Schools” before deciding if you really do want to get on college mailing lists: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1731244-what-are-your-stalker-schools-and-have-you-caved-in-to-them-p1.html so you can see what you may be in for!