If you’re a student who received tons of brochures, posters, and e-mails from top universities and were surprised to then be denied admission by these very colleges that “recruited” you, you’re not alone. In recent years, colleges have increased their recruiting efforts by sending promotional material to students who they know full well have no chance of admission. They do it to boost their application numbers so their admit rate goes down and the college appears more selective. And don’t forget — college applications cost money. At an application fee of $75 to $100 the money that schools take in each year when all of these unqualified students apply adds up to a sizable sum. Just think…for the Class of 2015, the average number of applications received at all eight of the ivy league universities was over 30,000. Multiple that by $100 per application and you get $3,000,000. In this economy, this is a great source of revenue! But do you think this kind of college admissions recruiting is unethical?
Jeffrey Brenzel, Dean of Admission at Yale, seems to think that this type of college admissions recruiting isn’t right. According to “Bloomberg,” “Yale, which admitted 7.4 percent of applicants this year, cut its mailings by a third since 2005 to 80,000, Jeffrey Brenzel, dean of undergraduate admissions, said in an interview. ‘I feel obligated to be reasonable in recruiting so we’re not creating unrealistic expectations of applicants,’ Brenzel said. ‘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.'”
If you’re wondering how in fact the colleges even get a high school student’s personal information that begins the mailing solicitations, look no further than when they sit down and take a test. On the SAT, for example, students are asked 42 questions such as what size college they’d like to go to, what sports they play, etc. According to “Bloomberg,” “While the Federal Trade Commission’s 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act prohibits personal information from being collected online from children 12 and under without ‘verifiable parental consent,’ teenagers aren’t covered by the law and neither are nonprofit companies like the College Board.”
Despite some college admissions counselors claiming that they’re scaling back these advertisements to unqualified students, we don’t anticipate this type of recruitment ending anytime soon. As long as the admission rate and number of applicants matter, colleges will do anything to make those statistics as good as possible.