Counterproductive college mail helps no one

Anna Malesis, Managing Editor

I was just a naïve, young sophomore, and as I sat there, bubbling my personal information into my PSAT answer sheet on an early fall morning, I made a horrible, yet all-to-common, mistake that ravaged the next year of my life.

I signed up for College Search.

By checking that one, seemingly harmless box, students are unknowingly signing themselves up to be inundated by pounds of mail and hundreds of emails from a whole smattering of persistent institutions, throwing hours of their life away to wading through all of the extraneous junk in their inbox. It’s simply ridiculous.

When I got my first pamphlet from a college in the mail, I was excited; as the months wore on I found myself exasperatedly chucking letters directly into an ever swelling plastic bag, often without even opening them. Soon the bag weighed several pounds, and I recycled all of it.

A couple of pounds may not seem like a lot of paper, but if you multiply that by thousands of students across the nation, that’s a lot of waste that colleges, institutions that often pride themselves on being eco-friendly, are generating.

Although emails don’t waste paper, they waste just as much time, something hard to come by in the average teenager’s life.

In an effort to return their inbox to a manageable state, students are forced to go through and delete or unsubscribe from hundreds of emails, eating up time students need for homework, sleep, sports or other activities, and even researching colleges in a more efficient and productive way.

Colleges may be under the impression that the mail they send is valuable and helps students make important decisions about their future, but any sort of information delivered on such a massive scale is unavoidably overwhelming and frustrating—students often find themselves more lost after being besieged by torrents of statistics and testimonies than they were in the first place.

College mail wastes paper, it wastes time, and, not only is it not helpful, it’s more or less counterproductive. Far too many students have been subjected to this cruel and unusual punishment, and I say it ends here.

Students, take your life into your own hands and don’t check that fateful box, and colleges, stop killing trees and making students hate you before they even set foot on campus.