Dear Jacob, Pick Us!

Some of the student recruitment pieces received by the Dana household.

I’ve figured out who buys the most printing in this country—colleges and universities. Every single day for the past, oh, three months, at least five pieces of mail from a college or university has slipped through our front door mail slot.


Our son Jacob is a high school junior. Institutions of higher learning are beckoning him with #9 letter packages, self-mailers, 9×12˝ perfect bound beauties, and more. So far, I’ve not seen any QR codes. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for them.

For those of you with children in college or even well beyond the college years, you’ve surely experienced this Niagara Falls avalanche of direct mail. I’ve started a folder to collect all of it, but I’m going to need to rent a storage unit pretty soon, by the looks of it.

While Jacob’s incredibly unmoved by this mountain o‘ mail, it’s me, the print addict, who pores over it with giddy abandon. Particularly eye catching are the recruitment pieces from Tufts and Duke. But then, I’m not the one they’re recruiting.

In a few weeks, we start visiting college campuses to see which ones might be a good fit for J. I expect he’ll be paying attention to the campus, to curricula and courses, to golf teams and, who am I kidding, to the co-eds (there’s an old-fashioned word).

I, on the other hand, will be dragging a steamer trunk behind me as we take campus tour after campus tour—the better to stash all of the additional print materials I hope they’ll provide.

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit or e-mail Margie at
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  • rynmcmns

    I visited Cedarville university in Cedarville, Ohio a few months ago and they showed me a new student mailer that used variable data and a QR code. The QR code brought them to a page to get a free tshirt. It was a great piece and much better than anything I received when I was a HS junior.

  • Kim Kailey

    While Jacob wasn’t interested in the mountain o’mail, your attention was caught. Do you suppose that the mailing universities know that parents often finance the tuition costs for their children? Maybe they were hoping to get your attention…and your money.

  • CDG

    It’s funny how your son isn’t interested in the printed materials, but you are. In our house, we also have a high school junior getting the avalanche of direct mail, my son anticipates every new piece of mail he gets while I’m the one that isn’t interested (I’ve worked at a printer for over 20 years). Maybe it’s just that parent/child relationship where if I would be interested in the mail my son wouldn’t be!
    I’ll be watching now to see if there are any QR codes. I haven’t seen any yet.
    Hope Jacob’s college search/selection goes well.