It is a strange sensation, watching my oldest child go through things that seem like only yesterday for me – college applications! He took his PSAT and evidently got attention from several colleges and universities. Two letters arrived today and it’s been about that rate for the past couple of weeks.
Michael was quick to notice the formula. Most of the letters talk about a website to help you understand financial aid for college and they give you a username and password. I suppose each college hopes you will use the one they gave you. Michael looks at these as routine. The Colorado School of Mines was different. Their interest letter stood out. They went beyond the pleasantries of why Michael would love his experience at their facility and went on to describe what some of their recent graduates were making as engineers their first year out of college. That got Michael’s attention.
He already has some ideas and aspirations, he wouldn’t at all mind getting a letter from MIT, but Michael pretty much throws all of the form letters away. The letters that take the time to note his interest in engineering and so forth really stand out. It will be interesting to watch him go through this phase of his life, even though I will loudly protest the entire time that I am far too young to have a child preparing for college in another year.
This whole process has taught me something – that I need to stand out. If I want to get someone’s attention, I need to be specific and purposeful in standing out differently from all of the rest. This will require digging a little deeper and taking the time to get to know common ground before I send off some form letter. Thank you Colorado School of Mines for a lesson all of us need to learn at times.