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4 Things You Should NEVER Do When You Email A College Admissions Officer

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admissions officer mailBoot up your old desktop computers! We’re talking about email! While this super-retro phenomenon may seem as ‘90s as a choker necklace and as outdated as a carrier pigeon, it’s still relevant for the time being. Parents, you know what we’re talking about. So students, listen up. If at any point throughout your application process you contact any of your target schools, chances are you will be using email- whether it’s to set up a campus visit or simply pose a few targeted questions you didn’t have time to ask during an info session.

These practical messages are completely separate from the rest of your application, so you don’t really have to think about them at all. PSYCH! In 90s speak that means: the emails you send are incredibly important. In fact, an email could be the very first impression you make on an admissions officer at your dream school. While each note you send does not need to be a masterpiece of the English language, you should still follow some basic rules of email etiquette to show admissions officers that you respect their time and value their attention. It’s also a great casual opportunity to demonstrate your ability to take initiative and be professional. So, the next time you write an admissions officer an email, make sure to keep things professional and avoid these major faux pas:

1. Taking forever to reply

This is one of the biggest pet peeves in the book, and a faux pas in almost any formal or professional correspondence. Although email may feel slower and more cumbersome than texting, people still get itchy waiting for a reply. So, when someone sends you an email, the courteous thing to do is to reply as soon as possible, even if only to say thanks and acknowledge that you saw the email. It’s fine to take your time if you need to write out a lengthy answer or do a little bit of research, but don’t leave people hanging – especially busy people like admissions officers! Instead, be transparent about taking the time you need and let them know when they can expect to hear back from you.

2. Sending a million emails

Going dark on admissions officers is bad – really bad – but barraging them might be worse. As we said above, we know that no one likes to be left hanging on either side of a correspondence. So, if you’re expecting an important reply from an admissions officer, it’s perfectly appropriate to send a follow up email a few days or weeks after your original email (depending on the time-sensitivity of the issue). Admissions officers are busy people and during the height of application season, their inboxes will be flooded with emails from applicants just like you. With that in mind, then, make sure you self-edit. Condense your questions into a single email, and try to refrain from sending an email every time a question pops into your head. A lot of the information you need is already available on the admissions website, so try doing a little digging of your own beforehand.

3. Using informal (or overly elevated) language

Yo, this one may seem pretty obvz, but admissions officers r not ur friendz. They are usually pretty nice people, but their job is to evaluate you. Treat your correspondence professionally and follow their lead when it comes to using first names. At the end of the day, this is a pretty easy one: use standard English spelling and punctuation, and do your best to write in clear, simple sentences. The more straightforward your email, the better. This isn’t the time to show off all of those SAT words you’ve been studying; it’s about friendly, efficient communication, which will demonstrate not only your communication skills, but your respect for their time and attention. You can always get fancy on your personal statement. 😉

4. Forgetting to proofread

Let’s say you’re sending the same question to a few different schools, and in one of your emails, you forget to change the school name. YIKES! Proofreading isn’t just for papers. Before you hit send, give your email a quick glance over from start to finish to make sure all of the names and spellings are correct, and if you need grammar help, we’ve got you covered.

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