Your name or current resident

Published on Sep 9, 2020

I received a piece of mail with my name "Or Current Resident" listed after it. I fed the envelope into the shredder unopened, which I'm safe to do since the envelope did not have a plastic window. (I've had to replace a paper shredder because the mechanism was gummed up by attempting to shred too many envelopes with plastic.) Why would I want to open such trash? There must not be anything special in the "offer" if it is addressed to whoever happens to be living at my address.

I am reminded of my senior year of high school when I received a deluge of letters and correspondence from all sorts of universities and colleges. What I didn't know then is that higher education is a business, and judging by the inflation of tuition and the substantial amounts of student debt, it is a lucrative business.

I had no idea what to do with all the mail I received every day, so I just threw it all into a trash bag. I knew that sooner or later I would have to go through it all, and I needed a system to expedite the process. I decided on a few criteria. First, the letter or mail needed to address me by name. If it was "Dear Student," "Dear Prospective Student" or the like, I threw it away. Next, I insisted on a real signature, sometimes referred to as a "wet" signature.  That got rid of a large chunk of mail. The final filter was prioritizing any letters offering scholarships or free tuition. 

My process eventually led me to a university that offered me a four-year, full-ride scholarship. It's not an Ivy-league school, and no one reacts with "oohs" and "ahhs" when I tell them where I graduated from (if they ask at all). Who knows how things would have turned out if I had used a different method to select a school, but I have no regrets.