In a recent article in the times, author Karen Arenson describes the ever growing trend of thank you notes and their involvement in the college application process. She, as well as I, seems to question what is actually going on in the process nowadays, as she speaks of guidance counselors who push their students to write these letters and parents who even on occasion force their kids to. The most frightening thing about this was likely the parent who actually forced her daughter to write a thank you letter regarding a school she took a tour of when she was a junior in high school. College is supposed to be the time where you break off from your parents and enter the world on your own, realizing that it is up to you to not have to lean on mommy and daddy anymore. It is a terrible idea that you could force a child to do something like writing a letter when it is the beginning of their freedom. Let them make the decision for it is the start of THEIR future.
Another aspect of this story that we have to look closely at, is the fact that many colleges are actually putting these thank you notes in the folders of applicants. Instead of agreeing to look solely at the students academic and extracurricular records, they now will add a thank you note to the paperwork. I understand that it is the nice thing to do and probably makes the application feel a bit more human then some of the others, but the colleges should be focused on the application and not the little personal touch that someone throws in. If a few people do it on occasion, then that is one thing because it is then an act of originality, but by forcing someone to do this or by highly recommending it to mass amounts of people, it takes away the creativity and freedoms that college is all about.