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Why you should never allow ACT to share your information....


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This is the accumulated snail mail from colleges that has been sent to my senior during high school. I think the sheer total was a combination of a major everyone has (biology), no preferences in school size, type, or geographic region, and good scores on a test taken at the start of 9th grade, so four years.  I started saving it at the beginning just due to the sheet amount (and because we had room) and decided that with decision day officially coming next week, it was time to recycle the lot. 

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12 minutes ago, LadyLemon said:

Question

Did any of the material sent to you help your daughter in deciding what colleges to apply to?

Not the OP, but I went to a school bc of the information they sent me.  I picked up the flyer off the floor (where it came through the mail shoot) and just "knew" it was the school for me.  I asked my mom about it and she said her best friend had attended that school. It was the craziest thing as it is a woman's college and I had told my mom (who went to a woman's college) that there was no way I'd go to a woman's college.

I don't think it made a difference to either of my children so far.  Some of the info has been fun, though (one school sent a Bingo card with a college mail them), one school sends their name in pictures from around college.  It does bring to mind some schools that my children haven't considered.

And then there are the colleges that seem to "court" you who are oh so wrong.  I'm thinking of the millions of pieces of mail and e-mail from stressful University of Chicago for my laid back son and the constant mail from Olin from my Theater loving, ficton writing, English major bound daughter.

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Posted (edited)

A few got applied to because of mailings, mostly because they offered a free application last summer when my teen was bored, but none of those even got to the "make an effort to visit" list. I can't remember if Agnes Scott was first contacted by mail or at a local college fair, but I know they made it to the "will apply" list due to meeting 1-1 with the regional admissions rep when she was in town in fall of 2019 to do visits at a couple of the high schools here, and called to see if L wanted to meet up and ask any questions. So, we met her at Starbucks. 

 

And yes, there were some real mismatches-a lot of schools seemed to think my kid wanted to be an engineer. 

 

Edited by Dmmetler
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1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

A few got applied to because of mailings, mostly because they offered a free application last summer when my teen was bored, but none of those even got to the "make an effort to visit" list. I can't remember if Agnes Scott was first contacted by mail or at a local college fair, but I know they made it to the "will apply" list due to meeting 1-1 with the regional admissions rep when she was in town in fall of 2019 to do visits at a couple of the high schools here, and called to see if L wanted to meet up and ask any questions. So, we met her at Starbucks. 

 

And yes, there were some real mismatches-a lot of schools seemed to think my kid wanted to be an engineer. 

 

For awhile my son kept getting mailings from several Fashion Institutes which at least provided his younger sister with a good laugh. (Not that fashion is inherently bad or not for guys but he checked off Math or Physics as potential majors and is the least fashionable person you could imagine. Plus he hates art and design.)

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My #1 kid shared it & had a smaller pile (just one biiig box). Nothing at all helpful as far as adding colleges to her list. She was looking for help finding a good fit.

My second didn't share  (plus took ACT only fall senior yr). Her college mail was limited to places she requested stuff from & a couple of colleges affiliated with homeschools sending her stuff. This was appropriate as she had only one college in mind to attend.

Edited by RootAnn
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18 hours ago, LadyLemon said:

Question

Did any of the material sent to you help your daughter in deciding what colleges to apply to?

My current junior wants to stay home and commute. The materials did make him learn more about cities outside our home state. 
 

For him, the liberal arts colleges got his address from CTY JHU program. My kid kept all the swag from Notre Dame because they were nice and practical. 
 

The ones he got from SAT/ACT were all known for computer science/engineering like UMich which was what he ticked as potential majors. He also picked high population areas and large colleges. I would say the algorithm isn’t too bad because none of the colleges are a mismatch if he is willing to stay in dorms.

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Yeah it’s ridiculous. Our mailman was kept busy for sure, but we really felt bad for all the recycling. U Chicago could pay for an awful lot of scholarships if they’d stop sending so much unsolicited mail. Lol

Many of the colleges that sent stuff were on point, but some were really off base (all the religious schools and the ones in Florida— just no. They clearly didn’t do their homework). We wondered if anyone really pays attention to all of it; DS found everywhere he was interested in online and through forums like A2C. 
 

Now he’s just getting credit card applications, lol. 

Edited by MEmama
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30 minutes ago, MEmama said:

Yeah it’s ridiculous. Our mailman was kept busy for sure, but we really felt bad for all the recycling. U Chicago could pay for an awful lot of scholarships if they’d stop sending so much unsolicited mail. Lol

Many of the colleges that sent stuff were on point, but some were really off base (all the religious schools and the ones in Florida— just no. They clearly didn’t do their homework). We wondered if anyone really pays attention to all of it; DS found everywhere he was interested in online and through forums like A2C. 
 

Now he’s just getting credit card applications, lol. 

I agree. There were some schools that just plain were ridiculous about the amount they sent, and my kid ended up completely abandoning the e-mail that all the schools were sending to, and setting up a different one for applications.  There were also some that sent the same piece of mail to the same kid. I can only think that maybe they were getting lists both from the 9th grade ACT and from the PSAT-but it should be reasonable to assume that when the first name, last name and address all match, it's the same kid!!

And I still question how my kid, who is graduating with over 70 college credit hours, somehow managed to end up on the mailing list for a community college in West VA.....

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None of my kids ever shared info from the tests and we never got much mail. I think current senior only got from schools he visited and/or applied to. The only random ones we have gotten were from places like Pensacola Christian College. Very much not a fit but I once had to buy a co-op text from Abeka so I think that is where it is coming from.

But wow to U of Chicago. My second Ds, who I posted about nearly not graduating college because of a stats class he took three tries to pass, got weekly mail from them and I promise he never initiated contact. He is not an academic and while bright and driven enough to graduate from college, he would have no business applying to U of Chicago. 
 

 

Edited by teachermom2834
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I set up a College Board account years ago in my dog's name because I was teaching an essay-prep class and wanted to be able to show students how to set up their account. I logged in using that email a few weeks ago and it seems to have triggered a series of email to my now-deceased pet.

Dd also has gotten almost identical mail from 2-3 colleges with just a different letterhead. They must use a service.

Edited by MamaSprout
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College Board (and probably also ACT) sell student info to colleges, which then hire enrollment management and marketing companies. That's why you may get a postcard encouraging you to apply to a school you already applied to.

Sometimes they are hoping to get applicants and future students enrolled. Sometimes it seems mainly intended to raise name recognition. 

With so many students not having access to testing over the pas year, colleges have not been able to utilize the Student Search services, because the information isn't available. 

I usually suggest opting out of Student Search, but actively requesting information from any college that does catch their eye. 

Controlling the email inbox is a hard task. Having a separate email can help. Students should also unsubscribe from any college they don't care about. 

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Dd did not share so did not get a huge amount of mail.  U of Chicago did still find her.  Wow.  Seriously?  

One of the strange breeches she did have was from competing in a national-level race in her sport.  Many schools with that sport sent stuff, despite the fact that she was not recruitment material.  She also got a lot of local schools that mostly missed the mark completely.  Just yesterday she got a very flashy, large, and heavy package of promotional material from a community college about 3 hours away.  I don't understand why they are wasting money and materials on this stuff....especially at the CC level. 

None of the mailings swayed her.  Most of it went directly into recycling without anyone looking at it.  She made her decisions very early and those decisions were mostly out of her hands anyway.  No use in looking at awesome schools she cannot afford to attend.  The few times she did take a look, it was mostly just made her sad.

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21 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

So if you have a kid who has no understanding of what’s out there and isn’t the type to go research colleges, sharing might be a good way to bring colleges to him? This thread is having an opposite impact on me. 😋

Does he read his spam email folder? To cut cost and also because USPS can be unreliable in certain areas, colleges do spam emails more than they mail out postal media during COVID. I think the trend of virtual outreach would continue. 


DS16 did check out where the colleges are located and the cost of attendance for the postal mail he received. Four years of cost of attendance would make a decent home down payment for a condo.

I think you have to be comfortable with what is shared. It is not just name, email and mailing address.

When you join Student Search Service, you agree to share the following information with participating organizations. Colleges pay for this service, but there is no cost to you. These organizations rely on this information to discover students who may be a good fit for their programs. You can update your information using the links below.

Expand All | Collapse All
  • Name
  • Address
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • High School
  • Graduation Year
  • Email Address
  • Your score range on completed SAT, AP, or PSAT10 and PSAT/NMSQT exams”
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2 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

Does he read his spam email folder? To cut cost and also because USPS can be unreliable in certain areas, colleges do spam emails more than they mail out postal media during COVID. I think the trend of virtual outreach would continue. 


DS16 did check out where the colleges are located and the cost of attendance for the postal mail he received. Four years of cost of attendance would make a decent home down payment for a condo.

I think you have to be comfortable with what is shared. It is not just name, email and mailing address.

When you join Student Search Service, you agree to share the following information with participating organizations. Colleges pay for this service, but there is no cost to you. These organizations rely on this information to discover students who may be a good fit for their programs. You can update your information using the links below.

Expand All | Collapse All
  • Name
  • Address
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • High School
  • Graduation Year
  • Email Address
  • Your score range on completed SAT, AP, or PSAT10 and PSAT/NMSQT exams”

No. He needs big shiny papers to arrive and even then I am not guaranteed he will read it. 
Sometimes I think he would unquestionably head to anywhere I tell him. 

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2 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

No. He needs big shiny papers to arrive and even then I am not guaranteed he will read it. 
Sometimes I think he would unquestionably head to anywhere I tell him. 

We have received things from post cards to magazines to swag. Swag is definitely the most attention getting for my teens. My DS16 first question was how much can we afford, since DS15 is only one year younger. My friends mainly tell their kids that UCs and CSUs are affordable while private universities would mean the kids would have to work during summer to help pay. 

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Unfortunately, it would cost way too much to mail them :). 

 

Swag was appreciated here, too. This last month has especially been fun because schools are trying to convince accepted students to go there. 

 

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3 hours ago, Arcadia said:

We have received things from post cards to magazines to swag. Swag is definitely the most attention getting for my teens. My DS16 first question was how much can we afford, since DS15 is only one year younger. My friends mainly tell their kids that UCs and CSUs are affordable while private universities would mean the kids would have to work during summer to help pay. 

I only have one, but we've gotten much better scholarship offers from privates and out of state than in-state. Especially with kids with strong academic credentials, it might be worth it to apply to a few out of state, not need blind unless you're under the magic number privates, especially. And there's always Canada, once COVID is off the horizon (still kind of mourning that all the non-US options dropped off the radar right about a year ago....)

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On 4/24/2021 at 2:07 PM, regentrude said:

We had weighed DD's unsolicitedcollege mail and it was 38.4 lbs. We had already thrown out some before we started collecting. 

I'm going to have to do that when the time comes, lol. I love the precision... 

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18 minutes ago, Dmmetler said:

I only have one, but we've gotten much better scholarship offers from privates and out of state than in-state. Especially with kids with strong academic credentials, it might be worth it to apply to a few out of state, not need blind unless you're under the magic number privates, especially. And there's always Canada, once COVID is off the horizon (still kind of mourning that all the non-US options dropped off the radar right about a year ago....)

Unfortunately we have enough stock options on hand to pay for four years of private, so even the CSS Profile won’t help. We also have home equity since our mortgage is paid up and home prices doubled over the years. Canadian universities would be as affordable as the private universities here.

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On 4/23/2021 at 5:07 PM, freesia said:

Not the OP, but I went to a school bc of the information they sent me.  I picked up the flyer off the floor (where it came through the mail shoot) and just "knew" it was the school for me.  I asked my mom about it and she said her best friend had attended that school. It was the craziest thing as it is a woman's college and I had told my mom (who went to a woman's college) that there was no way I'd go to a woman's college.

I don't think it made a difference to either of my children so far.  Some of the info has been fun, though (one school sent a Bingo card with a college mail them), one school sends their name in pictures from around college.  It does bring to mind some schools that my children haven't considered.

And then there are the colleges that seem to "court" you who are oh so wrong.  I'm thinking of the millions of pieces of mail and e-mail from stressful University of Chicago for my laid back son and the constant mail from Olin from my Theater loving, ficton writing, English major bound daughter.

Same experience for me, except my fateful flyer had already made its way to the trash when I fished it out from on top of the other stuff in the garbage that day!

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