A reader sent us a notice she received in the mail from GHR/Sweepstakes Awards in Hicksville, N.Y. She wondered if it was a legitimate offer.

According to the notice, our reader was a guaranteed cash winner in the first round of the $1 million sweepstakes and tied with all the other winners for the $1 million final prize."Think of what all these winnings could buy! A new house perhaps. Or maybe a 1991 luxury car for yourself or your spouse. Or even a vacation around the world. No denying it, $1 million can make your life a lot easier . . . a lot more exciting," said the notice.

We read the notice several times. It made no mention of how much money our reader would receive as "a guaranteed winner in the first round" of the sweepstakes.

It did, however, encourage our reader to buy at least one Cuisine Machine for $19.95 plus $3.75 for shipping and handling.

We called the company and spoke to a woman named Flo, who answered the few questions we had.

"How much money does a guaranteed winner of the first round receive?" we asked.

"Each one gets a share of $100,000 that's divided equally among the winners. The amount depends on how many people send in a claim for their prize," she said.

According to the notice, a person who chooses not to order a Cuisine Machine is still eligible for his share of the $100,000 as well as the drawing for the $1 million sweepstakes if he cuts out the computer generated number above his name and address on the sweepstakes notification, pastes it on a 3" by 5" recipe card and sends it to GHR's parent company, DEM Sweepstakes, 1200 Shames Dr., Westbury, N.Y. 11590.

"It seems to us this sweepstakes is a way to sell Cuisine Machines," we said.

"We are a large mail-order house. We make our money by selling products. That's how we stay in business," she said.


What do college freshmen consider important?

According to a recent issue of U.S. News & World Report, 200,000 freshmen were asked which goals their considered important.

The results:

- Become wealthy: 74 percent

- Raise a family: 70 percent

- Become an expert in their field: 65 percent

- Help the less fortunate: 62 percent

- Develop a philosophy of life: 43 percent

- Promote racial understanding: 38 percent

- Clean up the environment: 34 percent

- Create artistic work: 12 percent