The items in the boxes range from newspaper clippings to DVDs to professionally bound books. The personal viewbook is all the rage in some countries and we get buckets of them every year. I can't even guess at how many research papers we get.
Some of the items are a little gimmicky. The shoe (to get the applicant's foot in the door) is fairly common. The collages of UVa pictures are ubiquitous. The love letters are plentiful.
I think that's a box of granola bars.
There are also stacks of photocopied forms and certificates. I sometimes wonder if every loose sheet of paper that had been put in the baby book was copied for these dossiers. Some of the documents are from years ago.
These items do not get read. In all likelihood, I'm the only admission officer who will ever see the items I photographed for this blog entry. I've referenced this stuff before, but it's worth repeating.
It would be a lot of fun to be able to consider extra little packages, but with 28,000 potential applications, we can't encourage submission of supplements that aren't for the art or architecture departments. Our staff is spending most of the day processing required documents. Sending all this nifty stuff slows the processing down. Which delays files from being ready to read. Which delays our reading. Which delays notification.
There are places on the application to tell us about honors and accomplishments. You don't need to spend extra money sending all this stuff in special packages.