I’ve never walked down the hallway and gotten kissed by the girl that I’ve had a crush on for six years, only to turn around and watch her kiss every other person she passed; but I have been told by the college of my dreams that I am a perfect student, then seen my friends get the same email—and that is just as bad.
At the outset of my junior year, most of my friends got bombarded by college emails and talked about it constatly. I had received nothing, so I was concerned that colleges didn’t care about me. When I sat down to take the PSATs, the proctor suggested that I write down my email in some box, because doing so would allow colleges and universities to find me. This sounded convenient, so I did it.
The first time I received an email, I was genuinely excited. I thought, “Wow! Colleges are looking for me.” While the first email was intriguing, the second email I opened said something boring about an “exclusive guide” to determine what kind of student I am. I already know who I am, so I opened a few more emails to see what they had to say and made the mortifying discovery that they were all the same. I thought they were all looking for me! They aren’t. Yale, Harvard and Carnegie Mellon do a fantastic job convincing students that they are the right match for the college, then reject them because as their advertising skyrockets, their acceptance rates drop precipitously.
And, well, that drained every last drop of excitement that I’d had for college emails.
Now, I feel like breaking my computer or throwing out my iPhone or punching a wall every time someone mentions college emails. Sometimes when I sit in class during a test, my phone buzzes several times. At first, this is invigorating—I wonder what’s so important, what happened, who wants to talk to me. And then I press the home button on my phone and I see a ten-item list of emails from colleges I’ve never heard of, all of them saying, “Gabriel, time is running out for you to request an exclusive copy of 11 Ways to Find the College That’s Right for You,” before they send me another round of emails making another limited-time offer of another exclusive copy of the aforementioned pamphlet.
It doesn’t make sense that the number of college emails I’ve received in the past six months is easily twice the number of emails I’ve received in my life. It also makes no sense that, although every college in the United States of America has emailed me at least twelve times, they also feel compelled to send me letters by snail mail that say the exact same thing.
The process of colleges sending letters to prospective students, in its current state, is a complete failure. If colleges and universities are going to bother to send mail to prospective students, the mail should cover a whole lot more than the useless crap that’s making the college search so much more junky than it should be.