From Bloomberg News, via Boston.com
A quick look at the math: millions of high school students — sophomores and juniors in our local high schools — take the PSAT. The College Board and ACT, Inc. sell their contact information (at $0.33 per), along with details on scores and interests, to colleges.
The colleges develop attractive direct mail and email campaigns to entice those students to apply (at $45 – $90/application), receiving millions in application fees, and accepting less than 10% of the applicants (for the highly selective schools).
Here’s the student perspective:
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, someone is interested in me,’ ’’ Ederer said. “They attract you with an e-mail and a few pamphlets and big envelopes filled with a ton of information and make you want to go to that school, and they don’t accept you.’’
Here’s the perspective from Christoph Guttentag, dean of admissions at Duke University:
“We don’t want to lead a student on,’’ Guttentag said. “Nobody does it perfectly. It’s not unlike being contacted by a search firm and being asked to apply for a job that you don’t get.’’
Finally, credit to Yale (7.4% admitted this year) for scaling back mailings by a third since 2005. According to Jeffrey Brenzel, their dean of undergraduate admissions:
“If a student has only the most remote chance in admission, I feel it’s inappropriate to try to persuade a student to send an application,’’ Brenzel said.