In the college recruiting process, schools often flood prospective students’s inboxes with tactics to spur interest.  Schools get this information from Educational Testing Service (ETS), the National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®), the American College Testing Program (ACT) and a variety of other sources.  So how do colleges know which students to recruit?  Colleges choose the academically qualified students to send e-mails to, knowing well that it needs to be distinctive to be noticed.

Colleges make prospective students feel special in several different ways.  First, a college will personalize the e-mail and address it directly to the student with his or her preferred name.  Next, the college will invite them to an on-campus event, which could really just be taking a tour.  Furthermore, colleges will tell them they are getting a “free” or “exclusive” application, when in reality it is the same application for everyone.  Lastly, the college might try to cater the e-mail specific to interests the student lists on a standardized test or forms.

Here is an example from Tulane…


So what’s the difference between For-Profit College e-mails and typical colleges?  For-Profit College e-mails emphasize urgency.  Enrollment at for-profit colleges grew greatly during the recession, but now enrollment is down and recruiting is increasing to continue profits.  Undergraduate new-student enrollment fell 25.6% at DeVry University, a for-profit college, in the quarter ended June 30 2011.  Recruiters will use any tactics possible to secure an e-mail address and flood one’s inbox with e-mails to entice prospective students.  The e-mails could say they have a nursing degree, when in reality the “degree” is just an associate’s program and certifies people to draw blood.  The e-mails are frequent and often misleading.

Example of a For-Profit College E-mail


E-mails sent from for-profit colleges are different than typical colleges because they are for the benefit of the school, as opposed to the benefit of the student.  In the long run, students should want to go to college to better themselves in education and continue their careers, not be enticed by false advertisement.

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Posted by Elisabeth Whitehead