I get lots of emails from all sorts of colleges, including some pretty prestigious ones like Columbia, Tulane, UNC, etc. At the end of the emails they usually say something along the lines of "Please reach out" or "We'd love to connect/get to know you" and I'm just confused as to whether these are rhetorical statements or if they're actually meant to get me to act upon them. And if I do reply, does it give me any sort of advantage when applying over students who did not interact?
I have a very different answer which is the following.
Remember that some colleges consider "Level of Applicants Interest" as admissions criteria from Very Important, Important, Considered, and Not Considered.
Once you sort through the colleges, and have a "keep" pile and "throw-away" pile, look carefully at the "keep" pile.
So it's very important that you put your "keep" marketing collateral in 2 piles, 1. Colleges that do not consider "Level of Applicant Interest" and those that 2. Consider or find that Important or Very Important.
You will have to look up each of the college's Common Data Set under C6-C7: Basis for Selection. There you will see how much weight your level of applicant interest is.
For colleges like Bates or Tulane, applicant interest is "important" so you want to join their official mailing list and their social media accounts like Insta, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. Whenever there is an online event, you want to sign up for that whether it's a virtual tour, intro to college session, or something else. Behind the scenes, these colleges collect a ton of data on their applicants and give special consideration to those that are keenly interested in attending. Other Colleges like Columbia and UNC do not consider the Level of Applicant interest.
Colleges are trying to convince you to apply/ go to their college, as it will give them loads of money. Personally, I ignore these emails. They are sent out as mass emails to any student that submitted their information. As for your last question, some colleges do value interest when applying. In my opinion, a better way to show interest is by going on a tour or attending events. I am not sure if they note responses to these emails, but I doubt it.
Go around unsubscribing from each one. You'll get very annoyed eventually by these emails if you aren't already, but if you start unsubscribing now, they'll be gone in a few weeks. It's just marketing to make more application money and significantly drop their acceptance rates to appear more selective and therefore, "prestigious," even though prestige and acceptance rate have nothing to do with each other. If more people apply but they have the same number of spots, they accept a lower proportion.
I get tons of these emails, too! They may have gotten your email address from College Board or something if you've taken any of those tests. The emails are often sent out to many, many students and usually don't mean anything. They're just trying to get more people to apply to their schools so they can appear more selective. Although it's a little tedious and annoying, the best thing to do is just ignore them, delete them, and unsubscribe.
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