A number of prospective clients write in, saying something like: “I’ve been trying to call you all day. Nobody picks up.” That’s not unusual. If we picked up, we’d be on the phone all day speaking with many people who are looking to pick our brains. We have no interest in getting our brains picked and there are much better ways to spend our days. For starters, we’d rather devote our days to our existing clients rather than to our potential clients. On the occasions when we do pick up, we instruct callers to heed the advice on our homepage, which stipulates, “To paraphrase the great Nelson Mandela, don’t call us. We’ll email you.” President Mandela, upon leaving office, joked, “Don’t call me. I’ll call you.” Madiba knew what he was talking about.
But even after we tell callers to please fill out our form rather than call, they so often say, “But I just have one or two quick questions. Can’t you answer them?” They’re usually surprised when we very candidly say, “No.” We guess these folks aren’t used to being told “no.” But we’re happy to oblige! Because one or two questions soon enough morphs into twenty minutes that we can never, ever get back. We don’t want to spend our afternoons listening to how amazing your child is at soccer. We don’t care. And neither, likely, will admissions officers unless that child is being recruited for soccer by the college soccer coach.
And when folks do schedule a free college admissions consultation with us, we are very clear in our emails that the consultation is only to answer questions about our service offerings, not to offer specific advice related to a particular applicant. So when parents send us tons of documents about their children in advance of the free consult, we remind them that this call is only to discuss our service offerings. We’re not opening their documents, not unless they become paying clients. We are a business at the end of the day. We are not an information service. We are not Dear Abby. And we make no apologies for not wanting to spend our days listening to parents boast about their children. Nor will we ever.