Unique admission letters reflect schools' character

Updated: 2014-08-25 07:01

By Luo Wangshu in Beijing and Bao Wanxian in Tianjin(China Daily)

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Wang Yiwa was thrilled to receive her college admission letter from Nankai University in July. That wasn't just because the letter confirmed her admission. The letter itself caught her attention.

"The letter Nankai sent me includes a list of recommended books to read," the 18-year-old said. This meant she could start reading the recommended literature during her summer vacation, but she also treasures the letter's format and design.

Nankai is one of many universities to distribute unique admission and offer letters, designed to reflect the character of the institution.

Renmin University of China sends out letters in calligraphy with the motto "Seeking Truth" high on the document.

Shaanxi Normal University invites its professors to hand write admission letters in calligraphy, and both Beijing Forestry University and Fudan University send friendly comic-style letters.

Some notifications are even going high-tech.

Xi'an Jiaotong University offers an app called the "Mobile Jiaotong University", which allows students to complete their registration with an ID card and mobile phone.

Admission letters used to be simple affairs on thin paper.

Chen Changwen, a professor at Sichuan University, received his offer letter from the same university in 1978.

There was only one sentence on the document, which was more like a notice than an admission letter, Chen said.

Some colleges are also sending out packages that include debit and phone cards.

Renmin University of China letters have been designed by a group of specialists that includes faculty members and students. According to Shen Xiaochun, the lead designer, the offer letter demonstrates the university's history and also represents the college's characteristics at a time of rapid economic development.

Chen Hong, a literature professor at Nankai University, drew up the list of recommended books. Classical Chinese literature, including the Analects of Confucius, Three Hundred Tang Poems and A Dream of Red Mansions, plus some foreign literature are included.

"The list centers on basic Chinese culture, which is useful for all the majors of college students," Chen said.

Sun Zhongqi, a new student of history at Nankai University, said the list of books helped him understand the school motto to be dedicated and competent.

"I read Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which taught me traditional values and gave me inspiration," Sun said.

"The calligraphy on the admission letter is wonderful," said Li Shengrong, a student at Renmin in Beijing.

Western universities have also taken a creative approach.

Wang Yu remembers an offer letter she received from Purdue University in the United States in 2008.

"The student package had everything to impress me, including Purdue car stickers," she said.

Although Wang turned down Purdue and chose to study at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, she said she was touched by the attention to detail.

"Colleges should attempt to provide things a new student might need," she said, adding that a good student package might win a student over if they had any doubts.

Contact the writers at luowangshu@chinadaily.com.cn and baowanxian@chinadaily.com.cn

 Unique admission letters reflect schools' character

A graduate of Handan No 1 Middle School in Hebei province shows her admission letter from Tsinghua University in July. Hao Qunying / for China Daily