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Many high school students start getting mail from colleges and universities during their junior year. If you’re getting such emails and other types of communications, you might be wondering what this means.

While this could be a good sign that schools are interested in you, an email from a college doesn’t guarantee your admission. In fact, there are many reasons you could be getting these emails. In this post, we’ll talk about why you’re getting emails from colleges and what you should do with these emails. So, keep reading to find out everything you need about this topic.

What Does It Mean When Colleges Email You?

As a high school student, it can be exciting to get an email or a brochure in the mail from a school you’ve always been interested in. But before you assume you’ve been fast-tracked for admittance; consider why you are getting this mail to begin with.

In most cases, students receive an email from a college or university after they’ve taken the PSAT or SAT. When you take these standardized tests, your information is sent out to schools across the country. Schools pay to get the names of students that meet certain requirements so they can send out mass advertising emails. This means that many other students are getting similar email and mail sent to them. So, while it might seem like you are being singled out by a college, this isn’t usually the case.

By and large, college emails and other mail are a marketing strategy. Schools target students they think will be a good fit, then send out mass emails so that students will consider applying. Though colleges do sometimes personalize the emails they send to students, their doing so doesn’t mean that you are being personally recruited; it’s largely a way of driving up interest in their school.

Schools will often advertise even to students they don’t think have a chance of getting into their institution. Doing so increases the number of applications they receive, which in turn drives down their acceptance rates—two metrics frequently used in college ranking lists.

That said, some of these emails might be sent out of genuine interest on the school’s part. There is a chance that a college or university specifically wants to recruit you to attend their school. If you receive a personalized, handwritten note or a personal letter from a coach explicitly discussing recruitment to play a sport, you likely are not just part of some mass mailing. Most likely, you’ve just been added to a mailing list because you got a decent score on your PSAT.

These emails are like flyers you might get in your mailbox or ads at the grocery store. In short, you might not actually have all the qualities a specific school is looking for in an applicant, so don’t get too excited about a college email.

Does Everyone Get Emails From Colleges?

While you might not be the only person who was emailed by a college, getting emails from several different schools could be a good sign. This means that you meet certain criteria and could be on your way to attending a reputable institution of higher learning in the future.

Each year, especially after taking standardized exams, many students receive emails from colleges, but not everyone gets these emails. In fact, students have to meet certain requirements to get emails at all. Usually, students who score above a certain threshold will receive emails and physical mail from schools.

For instance, a student who scores 1400 or above on their PSAT could be sent a personalized email or letter from a college. Again, getting an email doesn’t mean that your score is amazing, but it does mean you’ve met a certain threshold. Even if you did get a good score, it doesn’t mean you’ll be contacted by email. Schools can’t send out emails to everyone, so they also consider other factors, like self-reported GPA.

Again, this doesn’t mean you’ll get into a specific school, but seeing these emails can be a positive sign. You might be the only person in your local area getting one of these emails, even though many other students across the country have received the same mail.

Should You Reply to Emails From Colleges?

You might be wondering whether you should reply to any of the emails you get. If you filled in the check mark on your PSAT exam that allows schools to send your promotional material, you’re probably going to get a lot of emails and letters in the mail, especially over the next few months.

The email you got probably got sent to a few thousand other students. You don’t have to reply to the email, but if you are really interested in a specific school, it doesn’t hurt to reply. Compose a new email and ask the school for more information about the application process.

Doing so will let schools know you’re interested. You will be put on their active mailing list and get more information about the college. For schools that you actually want to attend, this is a good thing. You aren’t more likely to get into the schools you like, but it doesn’t hurt to have more information about the admissions process!

Is There Anything Else You Can Do With Emails From Colleges?

Aside from replying to these emails, you might wonder what else you should do with your mail. While you don’t have to take any action, it doesn’t hurt to look over all the emails you get. Sort through the mail and see what schools have shown an interest in you. You might be able to find a great school by doing so. You can always delete messages from schools you aren’t interested in.

Also, consider showing your guidance counselor which schools emailed you. They might have more information about specific colleges, and doing so can help you start a conversation on which schools might best fit you.

Once you’ve decided which schools you like, you can mark some of the mail as spam. This way, you won’t keep getting emails from schools you don’t like.

Emails from colleges can contain a lot of great information for students. However, you’ve most likely been targeted by a college marketing campaign after you took the PSAT. It’s definitely exciting to get mail from colleges, but don’t have unrealistic expectations about attending schools that email you.

Again, in most cases, students get emailed because they meet the minimum requirements for a college’s mailing list. However, there are some situations where an email from a college might be more serious.

If you get an email after going to a job fair and meeting an admissions representative, after an in-person tour of a campus, or after an interview at a college, then the email might be more serious.

Look over these emails and see if it’s just a general email that is being sent out en-masse. If the letter seems more personal and targeted at you, then again ask for more information about the school. This way, colleges know you’re interested in them.