College Acceptance Letters Get Flashier

By Staff

April 1, 2009

In an effort to attract students, college admissions officers are enclosing souvenirs and trinkets in acceptance letters while others are sending text messages, videos and animated e-mails.

The Texas Star-Telegram [from an article originally located at] reports that some universities are including confetti, videos, stickers and baseball caps with their welcome packets. Erma Nieto-Brecht, director of admissions at Texas Woman's University in Denton, explained that schools are aware that students might receive several acceptance letters, and so each tries to be more memorable.

At Trinity University in San Antonio, students will receive an envelope thanking them for applying with the words "Now, just one more request.." When the student opens the envelope, it reads, "Say yes."

"We wanted it to be more fun and exciting for them," explained Judi Free, Trinity's admissions communications manager.

Jim Maraviglia, chief undergraduate admissions officer for the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, told US News & World Report that the school feels compelled to send students a flashy acceptance video to help lure them to the institution. He notes that the average applicant applies to as many as 12 other schools and will choose from about six officers. Moreover, he points out that Cal Poly applicants are more fluent in text messages and Tweets than snail mail, and research has shown that the school's high-level electronic communication helps persuade many students to enroll.

Other colleges are also informing students of their acceptances electronically. Texas' Baylor University sends out congratulatory text messages, and Elon College in North Carolina e-mails a link to a video of cheering crowds and the words, "Congratulations. You've been accepted to Elon!" Binghamton University in New York sends out an e-mail with flash animation, and the University of Georgia sends a link to an animated graphic of fireworks.

But mistakes can be made more easily with e-mail, as officials at the University of California at San Diego can attest. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the school's admission office accidentally e-mailed acceptance letters to its entire undergraduate applicant pool-including 28,000 students who were rejected earlier this month. College officials blamed the blunder on an "administrative error."

"We recognized the incredible pain receiving this false encouragement caused. It was not our intent," said Mae Brown, the school's admissions director, who had been responding to disappointed families.

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