Stop stealing my pens!

By Tom

I wanted to pause in the midst of travel season to discuss a very serious issue that’s been on my mind a lot lately.  No, not the wonderful students I’ve been meeting on the road, or the important next steps in your college application process, or the rising cost of higher education.

I’d like to discuss pens.

See, I’ve been at a lot of college fairs recently.  Each time I go to a fair, I go in with a whole box of pens… and by the end of the evening, they’re usually gone.  Now, mind you, these are not special University of Richmond pens.  These are ordinary, everyday Bic ballpoint pens.  I can understand why you would want to take a pen with a UR crest or a Spider logo on it – those are really cool – but a plain old blue or black pen?

I understand that some people might absent-mindedly wander off with a pen after filling out an interest card.  Twice, in fact, I’ve had people return to my table with a pen they had accidentally removed; they were probably confused as to why I was so grateful and excited that they had done so.  And for a while I assumed that absent-mindedness was always the case.  But then, a few weeks ago, a young man, after wandering past my table without more than a glance, stopped, turned, looked me in the eye, picked up a pen from my table, and walked away.  This is shameless, people!  Shameless!

I learned very quickly that removing the caps from pens deters people from taking them.  Who wants a capless pen?  (Well, apparently many people do.)  At each college fair, I put the caps aside, hoping to reunite them with their pens at the end of the evening.  After half a season of travel, this is what I have:

You might wonder why I feel the need to rant about such an unimportant issue.  The fact is, it’s not really that important.  After all, they’re just pens.  They’re inexpensive.

But it is kind of funny.  Part of the purpose of this blog is to give you the inside scoop on what we do, and disappearing pens at college fairs are a fact of life for any admission rep.  We’re always having to buy new ones.  Just ask at the next college fair you attend.


  1. Taylyn
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    This is great! Not only do we get the great advice for our admission process, but we get to see that you are actually human. I feel that with the pressures of applications and other influences, we lose sight of who is really taking the time to visit highschools, appear at college fairs, and read the applications. Thanks for helping us put a reality check on our self-manifesting illusions of college admissions. Great work!

  2. Tom
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Glad you’re finding it helpful, Taylyn! And we really are real people – I’m glad the blog helps you get that sense. 🙂

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: