Colleges smothering sophomores



It has begun. Colleges have started sending letters to the sophomores who took the the Preliminary Scholarship Aptitude Test (PSAT). The test requires that students include their addresses and emails for further contact, and it does not go unused. The test itself is taken to predict scores for the SAT and to offer scholarships for those who qualify.

But the catch is this: sophomores are not actually applicable for the scholarship offered. Only juniors and seniors can receive the monetary aid. Despite this, universities around the U.S. have come into contacted high school sophomores via email and postal service adding extra pressures early on in their high school careers. While these letters may be useful in that they can provide ideas for students who are looking into higher education, the problem is how soon they come flooding in.

The letters are delivered in bulk daily. Schools want to get young people interested from early on in their programs but it is not helping students with the stress that college brings. Picking a school is tedious and daunting, and being forced to make big decisions about the future before the student can even drive a car is outrageous.

High school students are taking seven classes, possibly participating in after school activities, doing homework, and managing to breathe when they get free time. Working hard to keep up relationships with friends and getting enough sleep, high school is tough. There is no question that students work extremely hard to keep their heads above water. The last thing they need is to be harassed by college admission offices.

College is definitely a path students should look at sometime during their high school career because a higher education can better life in many ways. But, I think, students should be doing this on their own terms. Looking into schools and considering plans for the future is something one does on their own time, when looking to the future is the next step for them. It shouldn’t be forced upon sophomores who may not be ready to think about what they want to do after high school just yet. And if they are, those sophomores are fully capable of looking into colleges without the aid of hounding emails and mass mailings.

Some universities do have the option to stop emails on the bottom of their letters but these messages are in noticeably smaller font and are obviously overlooked by many. One email I have gotten actually began with the line “There’s a lot to keep in mind as you search for the perfect school … and because of this, it can be hard to keep track of every detail.” Well yes, thank you. And this email really isn’t helping. With the amount of money college costs, you would think that they would spend that money more productively and stop wasting our time.

Although students should be aware of college and what they are planning to do after high school, these letters and emails are counterproductive, not effective. Students are deleting 15 messages each time they check their boxes.  Colleges will probably continue to send these letters and there isn’t a lot that can be done to stop them. But keeping in mind the lack of benefit they actually provide, hopefully college recruiters will begin to get the picture.

So a message to all underclassmen preparing to take the PSAT: I recommend making a new email to put on the test.