Preparing for College

What Do All Those College Admissions Mailings Really Mean?

Question: My son applied to several small colleges. We should receive decisions in a couple weeks (January). He still keeps getting information from the schools, including a Christmas card from one college, personally signed by the Dean of Admissions. Is this something they do for all applicants?

Colleges have reached an all-time high (or more like a LOW, my opinion!) when it comes to currying favor with students whom they might--or might not--eventually accept. Typically, the thrust of such PR campaigns is aimed at seniors who have not yet applied, as colleges endeavor to boost ratings via increased applicant pools and thus smaller accepted-student rates. Yet even students, like your son, who have already submitted applications, can expect some "suck-up" correspondence from admission officials ... including those who will eventually say, "No." It's not surprising that parents and students are often confused by the missives they receive from colleges and by the mixed messages that this correspondence can convey.

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