3 Things to Do With Those College Emails

College Emails FunnyIf you’ve ever taken a standardized test in your life, then in the spring of your junior year you are going to be swamped with emails from public colleges, private universities, and Libyan princesses.

This is because College Board, the omnipotent deity that has the power to decide not only where you go to college but also what you will have for dinner tomorrow night, runs this thing called the “Student Search Service.” And don’t let that title mislead you: if you get kidnapped, College Board will have absolutely no idea where you are. Even your handwritten cursive integrity statement won’t reveal that much about you, although it does reveal whether or not you paid attention in third grade.

No, the Student Search Service exists purely for the benefit of colleges. Essentially, College Board sends your email address to every educational institution in the world that has signed up, including some slightly-confused preschools that originally joined because they thought it would help them locate any kidnapped toddlers.

Now I know what you’re thinking: but, man, if you don’t want those emails you can just opt out of the Student Search Service, right?

Sure, in theory. In theory, there’s a little box somewhere on every AP test, SAT, PSAT, and SAT II that allows you to opt out. But by your sixteenth AP test or fiftieth SAT II, you’re too brain dead to find the little box. Heck, you’re just trying to figure out whether leaving it marked or leaving it unmarked is closest to “C,” which is what your hallucinatory, test-battered brain has been guessing on the last thirty questions.

Since it’s inevitable that College Board eventually gets your email address, it’s inevitable that you receive these college emails. Heck, you might not even realize how massive this email-address grabbing operation is. That fly buzzing around your laptop? It’s actually a College Board-controlled bio-mechanical robot meant to get a screenshot of you logging into your email address.

So, once you’ve received these emails, what should you do?

Respond Immediately

Trust me, colleges wouldn’t send these emails if they didn’t want a response. That’s why they take the time to personalize each and every email: notice how your first name is used in the subject line of every email, often up to three times. (In rare cases, the subject line might read like this: “Joe, picture Joe at the University of Uzbekistan, Joe”).

So, you need to respond ASAP. First of all, it’s the polite thing to do. Secondly, you don’t know which colleges you’ll be applying to eventually, and do you think you have any chance of being accepted if you didn’t respond to the personal email a college sent you? You’d have about as much chance of being accepted as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.

Thus, the question then becomes: how? How can you possibly respond to the 60+ college emails you receive everyday? The answer’s pretty obvious: do less. Sleeping? Cut some of that out. Surfing the ‘net? No time, you’ve gotta respond to the seven emails that just came in. Metabolizing? Hello, wake up, you won’t have time for that either, dreamer. Maybe after you get accepted to college you can do that stuff.

Get the Free Guides

Often, the emails that you receive from colleges will include a free guide. These guides will have incredibly catchy titles, such as, “5 Questions to Ask when Touring Colleges,” “10 Ways You Can Find the Right College,” or “18 Fiscal Tips to Avoiding the Next Double-Dip Recession.” Instantly, your self-doubt will set in. What if you don’t respond? What if you don’t get these guides? WHAT IF YOU DON’T ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS ON A COLLEGE TOUR AND END UP CRASHING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY? It’d be so easy, you’ll tell yourself, to just click the enticing link and not have to worry about missing anything. So you click the link.

Of course, once your guides actually arrive, you’ll realize how gullible you were. Sure, they’ll all look amazing, with color photos and very glossy paper that reveals just how little that college—say, Somalia State University—cares for the environment. But the tips inside will be practically useless. For example, one brochure might recommend that you “Look around” while visiting a campus, or “Talk to Current Students.” Obviously, without this helpful advice, you would have strolled about the campus blindfolded, with a sign around your neck explaining that you have a rare tropical disease to keep people from getting close enough to talk to you.

Even though these guides are all fluff you should probably already know, I still recommend you get every single one just to appease your paranoia. After all, you don’t want to lose sleep worrying about all of vital admissions info you’re missing.

To get the guides, of course, involves slightly more time than simply responding to most other college emails. Often, you have to provide your parents’ email addresses, neighbor’s email addresses, and the email addresses of the last seventy people you emailed, which takes a little while. But, really, you’re just doing these people a favor: without you, they’d be missing out on all of these wonderful emails.

Sort the Emails

You can’t allow these college emails to just pile up in your inbox. Heck, since you’re already spending the majority of your time outside of school responding to them, you might as well take the extra hour or six and sort them.

The question is, how do you sort them? Well, that’s a good question. After all, you probably have no idea where you will or won’t apply to college. So, I recommend the following system:

First, sort the emails by geography. And if you aren’t sure whether Denver or Austin is closer to your current location, you might as well touch up on your geography knowledge now rather than later. I mean, at least all you have to do is check Google maps. Think of how bad it was for your parents in the 1980s: they probably had to walk to both cities and count their steps. (Plus, email didn’t even exist back then, so they had to sort college telegrams instead).

Then, sort the emails by rank. And this doesn’t just mean academic rank. Coolest names, best locations, strongest engineering programs, number of times they emailed you, number of times they used your first name in the email subject line, etc. Since many email programs can only sort by date, name, subject, or size, you’re going to need to start printing out each email to properly sort it. To minimize your environmental impact, just print it on the envelopes and paper of the free guides you were sent. And, of course, to ensure that your sorting efforts don’t go to waste, you should keep your files in a fireproof, underground, climate controlled, radiation-blocking safe (or a chiseled slab of concrete works well if you can’t find one of those).


Take action. Sort emails. Respond. Get free guides. It’s pretty straightforward, really, even if it does take 27 or 28 hours a day. So, in parting, I have one final tidbit of advice: outsource. Got a baby sibling or a lazy pet cat? You might as well give them something to do and allow them to feel productive.

Last year at this time, we drew your attention to the urgent issue of “The Movie Industry’s War on Teen Books.” You definitely need to be aware of what’s going on if you aren’t already, and that post includes what I find to be one of our funniest pictures of all time.

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  1. Fantastic thank you!

  2. Hahaha this is great. Good advice (I think…) and also some pretty funny writing! Good job!

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