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What Do You Think of Creative Acceptance Notifications?

Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 4,087 Senior Member
edited March 2010 in College Admissions
This morning I responded to a media query about the unique and showy ways that some colleges notify their accepted students. I suggested that the that reporter should point out in her story that many elated seniors who get good news from top-choice colleges are nonetheless annoyed by cutesy announcement gimmicks. I noted that "in this era of belt-tightening and on-campus cut-backs, parents in particular often cringe when they see that an admission office has shelled out for a Jack-in-the-Box full of congratulations when a simple online "Yes!" would suffice. And admitted applicants who are regaled with snazzy felicitations are sensitive to the feelings of their friends who were denied."

I've never been one of those moms who thinks that every kid should get a trophy just for showing up, and I'm all for competition when it's apt, but I worry that each article that cites yet another "clever" notification approach means that, next year, the stakes get even higher as admission folks compete for the most newsworthy glitz.

But, as soon as I'd hit the "Send" button on my bah-humbug reply, I decided that perhaps I've just been in this business too long, and that I'm in the jaded minority. Maybe many parents and students really love these creative come-ons.

So I'm polling CC members ... How do YOU feel about the bells and whistles that sometimes come with good news?
Post edited by Sally_Rubenstone on

Replies to: What Do You Think of Creative Acceptance Notifications?

  • ksarmandksarmand Registered User Posts: 2,743 Senior Member
    Two words: dreadfully annoying.

    I'm all for making students feel welcome, but UChicago's free scarf and book did not warm my heart towards their lackluster financial aid practices. I think the money could be better used on something else. But then again, it's such a small part of the budget that in the end, it's not the worst thing in the world.

    Besides, maybe it makes them feel better after having to reject so many students. I'd imagine that the job of an admissions officer takes quite an emotional toll; it's nice to have something pleasant to say to students after sending out an avalanche of "No!" letters/emails.

    Now, the emails that colleges send out to accepted students are the objects of my unabated ire...
  • ArtemisDeaArtemisDea Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    I wouldn't know; I haven't gotten any.

    All of mine have been pretty generic acceptance letters or online notifications. What would be more helpful to admitted students, I presume, than videos would be creating a separate "Admitted Students" page. You'd be shocked to find how few universities and colleges bother to do this. Just put up some beautiful shots of campus, congratulate us on our acceptance, and give us ALL the information we're going to need in one convenient webpage. (Tuition & Fees, Financial Aid FAQs, Admitted Student Days information, Fast Facts, etc). Give us a snapshot of the school and where we'd fit into it. That's all I'll ask.

    One of my schools had actually done this, but I only stumbled across it a month later. It's not helpful if no one can find it.
  • YurtleYurtle Registered User Posts: 850 Member
    I haven't gotten anything in my actual acceptances too out of the ordinary. But I wanted mine in the mail, very badly. (I don't think email allows me to appreciate it as much.) I've got window decals, folders, and a personal note. All very nice, but nothing like a shirt or whatever.

    However In the process of applying, I've raked up several 'free' things: 3 college course catalogues (most 'obvious' choice), a knapsack, a reusable water bottle, a lanyard with plastic ID holder, a leather wallet, a stuffed animal mascot, a free subscription to the parents & alum magazine (once admitted. I can also put my grandparents on the mailing list, which will make them happy.) another folder(s), and pens, a deck of cards, as well as a few assorted DVDs.

    ...I don't know, I rather like the free things. But I only like them if the college can afford them. I don't know that every college can, but I imagine it's part of their budget already.
  • fogcityfogcity Registered User Posts: 3,228 Senior Member
    What works best I think is a short email -- with a header that says it all -- e.g. Accepted or Waitlisted. I'm not sure what it should say for not accepted -- maybe just that. The body of the email should be a brief congratulations if accepted, and a link for how/where to send the deposit, a link to admitted student day/logistics if relevant, and a number to call if there are any questions.
  • USNAgolden2014USNAgolden2014 Registered User Posts: 336 Member
    It's easy to say that you want it straight-up. Like black coffee in the morning.

    However, most people don't drink black coffee, they like their sugar, spice, and cream.
    Many will say that they didn't care (or even disliked) "flashy" things like apparel, guidebooks, or colorful add-ins, but in the end, when you have worked for (at least) four years to get into the school of your dreams, it is nice for them to say, "Hey, we like you too."

    In an era of informal, impersonal, and intolerably monotonous communication, it is nice to get a warm letter which actually congratulates (and doesn't just inform).

    Getting my "Open 'Dores" packet from Vanderbilt and my Duke folder, full of pictures, guidebooks, and, my personal favorite, a Duke Class 2014 bumpersticker, makes you feel like a marathon runner crossing the finish line with a sea of applause. It's a nice, little moment in which you can reflect on how hard you've worked, and how many amazing things lie before you.

    Everyone is talented and wonderful, which makes telling someone that very fact all the more important.

    I like my white chocolate mocha, and I don't want to trade it in for some morning joe.
    I like a little schmooze with my acceptance.

    :)
  • ArtemisDeaArtemisDea Registered User Posts: 643 Member
    Oh, and this is unrelated, but if this ever comes up, please recommend that colleges stop randomly calling applicants. I'm not sure if this falls under the "creative" category, but some of my colleges had students call me before and after decisions were supposed to be released. (Before calls were maybe supposed to take some of the stress off me by hinting that I was accepted?) Anyway, I think about 6 of my colleges have called me in some way, shape or form to "congratulate me" on my acceptance, etc.

    It's disruptive and somewhat disconcerting when my admissions councilor calls me a 8:50pm on a Wednesday on my cell (and I have absolutely no idea how some of them got my cell number) to go over my "finances" with the college. Also, getting a "congratulations" call from a student at 9:30pm is also pretty annoying, not endearing.
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