The Great College Count

After my siblings went off to college, we entered their rooms and cleared out living-space. The rooms were swamped in college solicitations. So I decided to conduct an experiment. I kept every single piece of college (E)mail I received. At the end of my own college search I would count them, announce the results, and have a big bonfire. Last week I completed orientation at the college of my choice. Two days before that (3/11/10) I counted what I had and took note. Unfortunately, the bonfire does not appear to be forthcoming.

I recently learned how to input information into graphs (Oh, Boy!) The results have very slight margin of error (to accommodate losing things) The results for phone calls had to be scrapped, mainly because people kept calling my dad Sunday evenings while I was out, and I wasn’t particularly good at remembering to take note. My experiment wasn’t particularly scientific, because I gave my address to a few colleges and several more attained it through College Board Student Search. Being a girl who is interested in majoring in chemistry and got descent scores on the SAT may have also bumped things up a bit. As such, the numbers say more about the funding for the admissions offices of some of these colleges than anything else.

Snail Mail

Ah! I knew I was special. Letourneau University sent me something only my freshman year! Wait half a second, wasn’t that where Frem went…So…maybe they got my info off him. I actually went to one of their preview days and I loved it. That was when they chose to reveal to me that one of their three chemistry professors was retiring. Oh. Moving on. Then, during a First Robotics Event, Kettering University promised me that they would give me a pen that no one would ever steal if I signed onto their mailing list. Said pen was blue with a truly hideous yet ecstatic bobblehead face on it. And wouldn’t you know it, my younger siblings have already tried to purloin it. Ah, yes. They also promised that I wouldn’t receive much from them my sophomore year. Senior year is free game, however.

A number of the solicitations I received already had my personal information pre-inserted. How convenient! A number of the letters were also almost identical. Upon further scrutiny, I now believe that these institutions have either employed the same letter-writing firm, or gotten ahold of an offer from American Express. It was sad.

I would like to note that I find tasteful letters and postcards most compelling. Kettering had a nice cartoon of a ninja on half their mailings. The University of Montana appeared to be marketing their local tourism; they didn’t mention much about academics, but they have great hiking and trout-fishing (and photographers)! The Navy, Embry-Riddle University, and Letourneau University informed me that I could now put my “hours of video-game playing experience” to good use.  Right.

And now for the chart. Kettering did not disappoint (20). Nor did Embry-Riddle University, who also persuaded me to join their mailing list (10), followed by Letourneau (9), Auburn, which I rather liked (7), and Wesleyan who proclaims large amounts of girl power (and from which I just got another postcard)(6). All mail I received came to a grand total of 158.

I also received mailings from the West Point, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, Rensselaer Polytechnic Instituted, National Society of High School Scholars. This made me very happy until I realized that A. They probably wouldn’t accept me once they learned I was homeschooled, and B. All they wanted was large amounts of money that I don’t have.


Email does lower the barrier for entry into society. It is comparatively cheap to send several emails a day. Oh Boy!

Again, the emails sounded like credit card offers. The “Golden Application,” the “Exclusive Application,” and the “VIP Application”. Uhuh. Stetson (still) emails me to tell me that I “only have one day left to apply!”, “It’s not too late!” and that “For you, Joanna, we’ll wait one more day.” I know the economy is tight, but it doesn’t look good, guys.

Wesleyan wins the day at (41), followed by Brewton-Parker College (34), Agnes Scott College (33), Brenau University (31), Oglethorp University (30), St. John’s College (30), Rensselaer Polytechnic Istitute (29), Stetson University (24), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (23), Case Western (22). The grand total came to 550. Whoo!

Hmm. What is interesting to note is that most of these colleges don’t even offer a certified program in my major. I used the ACS website to obtain a list of certified programs.

Telephone Calls

These are not part of the “official” tally but let’s think about them, shall we. First off, a call from a certain paper -wasting university was the basis of this post. The first rule of thumb is to try calling on different nights if I’m not available Sunday night. Its not that hard. What? “I’m sorry, she’s not available, right now, may I take a message?” “No thanks, we’ll call back next week.” (No, this didn’t happen.) Also, when I make a statement, don’t try to find ways around it. “No, I don’t really know my schedule.” “What about August 15th?” Another sad pitfall comes when I explain that I’m interested in drug development/biochemistry/medicinal chemistry. I do not mean that I’m a bioengineering or pre-med major! Another hint. Hire people who know that of which they speak. If you want me to ask questions, you should know the answers.

Final Decision

This is the Combined ChartWell, using my nifty new skills, I combined the information of previous charts into a single chart. Wesleyan College wins the award for having the busiest admissions staff. Congratulations.  Congratulations also to Agnes Scott, Brewton-Parker, Oglethorpe, and Brenau for trying so hard. You might have checked to see if some of you even offered my major. I can now say that college solicitations did very little to make my final decision. They’re right, you know, when they ask you to visit. Explanation follows.

Alright, as should be pretty obvious by the locality of some of these colleges, I live in Georgia. I sent out one application to a college  I  found through the ACS website and which had not solicited me before I applied. I toured the campus and found that they had an excellent Chemistry program, had a low tuition, would accept me into their honors program, and possessed the only hand-painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry in existence. Despite a few inconveniences, such as dorm rooms the size of my closet, floor bathrooms, and the danger in being outside after dark, I found it acceptable, and will attend the University of West Georgia in the Fall. Hooray!


3 thoughts on “The Great College Count

  1. You have learned to put information into graphs. This is good. Next is to learn how to export the image without stretching it (jagged pixels!) or using JPEG format (which is intended for photos, not line diagrams). 😉

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