Students frequently receive unsolicited letters and marketing materials from universities.
These mailings may come in the form of a personalized letter congratulating the student on strong grades or PSAT scores and encourage the recipient to apply for admission. It isn’t unusual for students (and their parents) to interpret this correspondence as an indication of strong odds of being admitted.
While some students who receive these letters gain admission, many more do not. Some admissions experts believe that the deluge of correspondence not only leads to false expectations among thousands of students, but brings in revenue to the colleges and makes them appear more selective by soliciting many more applicants than they can accept.
According to the U.S. Department of Education College applications have soared in recent years even as the number of high school graduates fell from a peak in 2007-2008.
Some high school guidance counselors and college consultants are advising students to view these mailings skeptically.
Yale University and MIT have scaled back their marketing, stating they do not wish to encourage students who probably will not be accepted.
While marketing practices of this type vary by school, students are well-advised to interpret mailings of this kind with a questioning attitude.