Applicants to Agnes Scott, a small women’s college, will get more than a form letter congratulating them on their admission. Every student accepted into next fall’s freshman class also will get a booklet treated with a scented varnish, touting encouraging them to accept the offer. The college’s vice president for enrollment hopes the unusual pitch will help wavering students say yes to Agnes Scott: “It’s hard to convince women to come to an all-women’s college, so we have to stand apart,” Lauren E. Martin said. “We hope these tokens communicate some of the experiences you’re going to get here.”
And what exactly does Agnes Scott smell like? Like pine and grass — but not like magnolia, despite the presence of many trees on the campus. Apparently, magnolia smells like someone’s great-aunt.
While I am particularly sensitive to smell, the idea that college choice would be swayed by a scratch-n-sniff viewbook strikes me as a bit preposterous. Like, “I’ll choose College X over College Y because I respond well to the vanilla notes and whiff of fresh air?” If odour was a factor, NYU and Columbia would go begging for students! A college looking to improve acceptances might consider throwing in a big fat scholarship check instead.