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Rhyme or Reason to college solicitation letters

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All 3 of my Juniors have started to receive letters from colleges. Their PSAT scores are all w/in 20 pts of each other (185, 195, 205). So why do some of them get letters from one place and not the others (given that very few of the solicitations are offering any of the programs that they indicated they were interested in)? Not to mention that sometimes one kid was interested in the school and a sibling got a letter and not them. This doesn't seem very scientific. Shouldn't computer based programs work better than that?

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Based on the schools that have sent info to my dc, the universities don't pay much attention to the student's proposed major. My dd estimates that about 80% of the universities who have sent her literature (emails and snail mail) don't even offer her major. Some fall into the size of school she put on the standardized test survey, but not all, and others advertise clubs in interest areas she mentioned. It looks like colleges use a lot of criteria instead of majors. One college rep told me that they advertise to students who have proposed majors that the school does not offer because many freshmen change majors anyway. They want to advertise their school in case the student would change majors and come there.


I suspect universities get lists of students from the standardized test companies based on the criteria of students they are interested in instead of considering how their school may match what the student wants. Maybe they are wanting to expand their student body demographics, so they look at ethnicity, or they want students above a specific GPA, or students who have taken specific courses in high school, or students with specific sports interests because they are trying to build their athletic departments, or maybe even from a geographic area to increase diversity.

It didn't make sense to receive literature from a lot of the schools my dc received info from.

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I think there are some of each. My son's gotten plenty that are generic (obviously so) and many don't have or specialize in what he's interested in. Most of those get put into a pile after they are casually looked at.


Then there are some that are personalized (probably still generic, but at least they make an effort to look personalized). My guy just added Washington U in St Louis back on his list after reading the letter he got two days ago. That school had been a thought before, but was eliminated due to distance and location. Now he wants to check it out and has already signed up for more info on their web site. He also loved a letter he got from MacAlester (sp?) - his personal favorite letter, but they still didn't make his cut (not as good at what he's interested in, too liberal, and too cold).

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