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In 10th grade, colleges begin reaching out

Outreach by colleges to potential students can be

Outreach by colleges to potential students can be overwhelming. Credit: iStock

My 10th-grader took the PSAT exam last fall. For anyone who doesn’t know, that’s a sort of practice test for the SAT – that all-important score that helps colleges rank applicants.

A few weeks after her PSAT, we received an email from a prestigious college. No, not Harvard University, but a decent, private, liberal arts school. I was thrilled. I thought, “She must have done very well on her PSAT.” I told my daughter about the email, and then we were both thrilled.

Poor, gullible Mom.

Shortly after receiving that first missive, I began fielding a flood of emails from colleges. Many of them asked if they were reaching my daughter, and if she would like them to send materials on how to choose the right higher education experience. When I didn’t respond, they would ask in exasperation, “Have I reached Isabelle?”

Well, no. My daughter, like most 15-year-olds, doesn’t read email. She has an email address she never signs onto. You have reached Isabelle’s mom, and I already went to college.

Nor has she read the stack of snail mail the colleges have sent her.

When we met with her guidance counselor this fall to discuss her 11th-grade class choices, I asked about this flood of mail from colleges. She said that this is typical. The schools get names from the PSAT registrations and begin to woo the college-bound.

Our high school guidance counselor advised me to hang onto the materials until Isabelle is ready to begin her college search. So, I created a virtual folder for the email – up to about 75 unread at the moment – and set a basket on her desk for the paper brochures and envelopes.

It’s looking a little overwhelming to me, all of these choices. But I feel we’ll narrow it down in time.

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