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How to Deal with College Junk Mail

April 07, 2011 By: Category: Best College Tips

I wasn’t present in ancient Egypt on the day when the plague of locusts started, but I bet they arrived a lot like college brochures do. The first day there’s one, the second day there are 10 – and then suddenly they’re everywhere. If you’re cruising toward your senior year of high school, you already know how it goes.

Because you’re not really sure how all those colleges get your name and address, it’s nearly impossible to prevent all those brochures from arriving. What you can do, however, is set up a simple system to extract all the value you can from the college junk mail that arrives.  Here are some tips . . .

college junk mail

Photo by Pink Sherbet


  • Do look at the catalogs and brochures. There is some information to be found in college brochures and heck, maybe one brochure really will alert you to an interesting college that wasn’t yet on your radar.  It’s been known to happen.
  • File any interesting materials alphabetically (by the names of the colleges) in an expandable accordion folder. That will keep them from getting mixed in with  the brochures from colleges that don’t interest you and they will be easy to access when you are ready to make your college choice.
  • Get rid of uninteresting pieces of college junk mail at once. No point in having them litter your kitchen table, is there? You have two options. First you can simply recycle all the flyers and brochures. Second, you can take them to your high school guidance office and drop them there (after asking whether the office would like to have them, of course). Maybe your brochures can help someone else make their college choice, right?
  • Mine any useful information from brochures from colleges you find interesting. Sure, you can get most of the same information from the college websites, but sometimes junk mail contains something useful. If you’re interested in majoring in biology and there’s a picture of a biology professor, for example, you can ask to visit that professor if you take a college tour. Or when you’re writing your “why I want to go to your college” essay, you can say that you would like to take a course that is given by that professor. (Tossing in specifics in your essay makes you a stronger applicant.)

And there’s good news . . .

The arrival of college brochures will stop quickly, just like the plague of locusts did. One day they will simply stop coming. But here’s a happy thought. The next pieces of mail you get from colleges will be acceptance letters. You might not get an avalanche of those, of course. But be assured, they’ll bring news that puts a smile on your face.

For more info, check out:

Tired of All That College Spam?
How Colleges Find You