By Zoe VanSlooten
Throughout your time applying to colleges, you likely will (and should be) contacting some college admissions offices over email. While reaching out to colleges and making a personal connection with an admissions officer is a great way to show your interest in a school, it could also be potentially detrimental if you don’t apply some important email etiquette. Here are some tips to help you correctly email colleges.
Be sure your email address is appropriate and professional.
It’s very likely you are still using an email address you made in early high school or middle school, and while email@example.com may have gotten you this far, it is time to make your address something more professional. An address composed of your first and last name, initials, or some combination of the two is a great place to start, and will not raise the eyebrows of admissions officers when they receive your message. (While you’re at it, double check that you don’t have any lingering goofy email signatures, too).
Give a brief introduction explaining who you are to the recipient.
When drafting your email, give a short introduction so the admissions officer has some context about who you are and why these questions matter to you, and they can give an answer that will be specific and helpful. The same questions could receive different responses dependent on if a student or parent is asking them. Simply state who you are, your year of graduation, where you are from, and the name of your high school. This will be enough to help them understand who you are, and also may increase their chances of recognizing your name later when looking through applications.
Keep your email short and straight to the point.
Admissions officers are incredibly busy, and while they are almost always willing to answer your questions, don’t make them search through your email to find them. Your introduction will be enough information about you--don’t continue to talk about yourself. An email that is brief, concise, and easy to understand will likely receive a quicker and more thorough response than one that is long-winded and confusing.
Make sure your questions can’t be answered online.
While it’s great to demonstrate to colleges that you are interested in learning more about what their school has to offer, make sure your questions couldn’t be answered with a 30 second google search. Answering questions like these unnecessarily takes up the admissions officer’s time, and also makes it seem like you aren’t capable of finding basic information on your own. Take a second to look up your questions before sending your email and read over the information already available to you, and then decide if you need to make your question more specific or scrap it entirely. (Pro-tip: you can leverage your research into a better question. For example, “I was reading online about your residential college and think I might be interested, but would like more information about class availability before I decide. Is there someone I could discuss that with?”)
Read their response as soon as you receive it--you may need to respond to them!
It is very possible that in order to answer your question as well as they would like to, the admissions officer may need some more information from you. If they have taken the time out of their day to respond to you, you need to do the same and respond to them. Not following up quickly (or at all) sends the message that you don’t actually care about the response to the question or appreciate the time they took to answer it. Even if they don’t need any follow up information, you should still respond and thank them for their time and effort.
Keep these tips in mind while emailing colleges, and you will have a solid base to build from. This list is a start, but there are other factors to consider when communicating with schools. Come meet with us today and discuss how you can use something as simple as an impressive email to increase your chances of being accepted into your dream school. There are many more tips and we have some more “must do’s” for our clients; these could separate you from the other applicants if used correctly, so please let us help you get into the college of your dreams!