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The Business of College: Priority Applications and Mail

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The Business of College: Priority Applications and Mail

Photo Illustration by Kelsey Deering.

Photo Illustration by Kelsey Deering.

Photo Illustration by Kelsey Deering.

Photo Illustration by Kelsey Deering.

Mallory Clark, Senior Staff Writer

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   After taking the ACT or SAT or another standardized test, students are often bombarded with mail from colleges.
  “The College Board is the mastermind behind this operation. When someone takes a College Board standardized test, their information is saved among the Student Search Service,” said college admissions tutor and co-founder of College Transitions Michael Trivette.
   This is what schools use to obtain names of prospective students. Schools then purchase those names and receive a large amount of information on a person, according to Trivette. Along with your name, schools receive your ethnicity, gender, geographic location, and other data including desired major, GPA, college preferences, and more.
  Schools can then use this information to create marketing specific to one’s interests. There is speculation around whether or not a school receives your exact test score, according to Trivette.
  “Colleges often select the test score range they wish to purchase and the ACT or the College Board provides the information of students who fall within those score ranges,” said Trivette.
  Schools can also purchases names that might not meet their admissions requirement. Trivette stated that the University of Chicago is an example of this. The school sends out information to students that have no chance of getting in, with the hope that they will apply and then the school can send out more denial letters. More denial letters being sent out raises a school’s selectivity.
  Many schools nowadays are more concerned with being exclusive and having a higher national ranking according to the US News and World Report.
  Out of 152 Wayzata High School seniors surveyed, 46 percent are not aware of the US News and World Report based on Trojan Tribune survey.
  Now, many students have probably received an email from a school that has categorized that student as “outstanding,” “an achiever” or a “priority.” Schools send these students fee waivers for the application or exclusive applications altogether.
   According to the Trojan Tribune survey, out of 152 Wayzata High School seniors, 30 percent are applying to a school with a priority application.
  “Most schools offer priority applications, or waive application fees for early applicants because they want to encourage students to submit early applications
in order to start building their freshman class,” said Trivette.
  Schools that are less popular and are struggling to become a well known school often adopt this practice. “Admissions offices are under intense pressure to generate an increased number of applications to their schools each year,” said Trivette. “Sending priority applications to every student in a certain SAT/ACT/GPA range aids the cause. In the last decade, some colleges have managed to more than double their applicant pool by offering this targeted, quick-and-easy application option.”.
Schools are willing to spend money on waived fees and a large amount of marketing because in the long run, they will get that money back if students end up attending, according to Trivette. The College Board selling names may seem like an invasion of privacy, but Michael Trivette advocated for letting colleges send you mail.
    “It can get overwhelming, so set up a specific email for everything college-related,” said Trivette. “Colleges are businesses. That is something that everyone should remember as they are beginning their college search or making a final decision.”

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The Business of College: Priority Applications and Mail