Three Tips for Emailing Colleges


Standing out in a college admissions office can all come down to demonstrating your interest — don't fly under the radarwhen it comes to your college education! One of the easiest ways to get or stay in contact with a school is, of course, through email. Maybe you have a question about a specific program offering, or maybe you wish to follow up on some portion of your application. Regardless of the reason, here are three tips to help you knock your email correspondence out of the park.

1. Keep it Short

Your email should focus on your questions, not on you. This is not the time to convince an admissions office how great you are — save that for your impressive applications and unforgettable essays! Your questions should be similarly focused and to the point, so that you avoid taking up the recipient's time. As a good rule of thumb, don't ask anything that can be easily found on the school's website. Asking for information you could have found yourself might give admissions officers the wrong impression. Do you really want the reader thinking that you're not committed to researching your schools before reaching out?

2. Introduce Yourself

Hopefully your email address includes some form of your first and last name (or at least it should — more on that later). But even if it does, that's not a satisfactory introduction when emailing one of your target schools! Don't assume the admissions office knows (or remembers) you. Here's the basic information you want to provide:

- Your name

- High school graduation year

- Name and city of your high school

- Home address

These can either be in the body of the email or in a signature at the bottom, or any combination of the two. This will provide valuable context for where you are in the application process, making it easier for the admissions officer to fully address your concerns.

3. Be Professional

Your email isn't the only thing — or even the first thing — that the administration is going to see. That would be your email address. Unless it's already cleanly based on your name or your initials, consider creating a new one for college (and future professional) correspondence. If your existing account fits the bill, double-check your signature to make sure there isn't anything offensive, silly or bizarre there from years past.

Another way you can jeopardize your professionalism is with any spelling or grammatical mistakes. So you must proofread, proofread and then proofread one more time before hitting send. The last thing you want to do is realize you typed “collage" instead of “college" after sending your email into the electronic ether, never to be taken back.

With all of that in mind, you're sure to send sparkling correspondence off to your future school. If you don't hear back right away, don't fret! They're likely sifting through plenty of email queries similar to yours, so give the school the benefit of the doubt before assuming you're being ignored. That said, once you get a reply, be sure to promptly acknowledge it — no matter how long it took for them to get back to you. This displays maturity, responsibility and a seriousness toward the college process.

For more tips on getting into college, check out our book College Admission 101. And if you're still trying to find your best-fit school, use our book The Best 385 Colleges to find a college campus that sounds like your dream school.