At the start of this school year—my sophomore year—I began receiving dozens of emails a week from colleges that seem pretty, pretty torqued at the notion of my attendance, despite their having no clue who I am or what my qualifications are. They’re form emails that emulate a genuinely interested, “proud” human on the other end, which I find manipulative and gross. It makes me wonder whether the schools that send these are an educational institution that happens to have a goal of making money, or a business that happens to educate people. Here are some actual subject lines from emails that I (and every other high schooler that I’ve talked to, although theirs feature their own name) have gotten:
- "You’re one of the Best and Brightest"
- "Students of your caliber…"
- "Hoping to hear from you, Spencer!"
- "Spencer, is this you?"
- "Is this Spencer’s e-mail address?"
- "You’ve been selected"
- "Is this Spencer?"
- "Spencer, I’m already impressed"
- "I’d like to hear from you, Spencer"
- "Trying to reach Spencer"
- "I’m proud of you, Spencer"
There’s a point where “marketing technique” crosses into immoral territory, especially when it’s executed by what are universally considered the pinnacles of intellect. Maybe I shouldn’t be talking, since I spelled “intellect” wrong twice when writing this, but I think that it’s wrong to play on the emotions of sweet, innocent, naive little high schoolers, excited and wide-eyed, whose hearts ache to go to college—myself included. I’m exaggerating (duh) but these are seriously no lower to me than those “You’re our 10,000,000th visitor! You won!” banners that pop up when you visit a crappy website. Makes me feel like these are from crappy schools.