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How to Email a College Admissions Counselor

Check Your Email Address First!

Yes, you were given a for­mal name at birth and you may be a cre­ative indi­vid­ual who wants to express your­self with a unique email address, but sud­denly you real­ize might not be the most appro­pri­ate email address to use. Who is your audi­ence? What impres­sion will you leave on the admis­sions offi­cer?  Every bit of infor­ma­tion you reveal tells the col­lege admis­sions office some­thing about you. I often ask stu­dents to think about how their grand­par­ents might react to the address. It may be safer and more appro­pri­ate to use your school email address or cre­ate one that will be used for all your col­lege correspondence.

Next, are you tak­ing the time to cre­ate an email that will make a good impres­sion and get your ques­tions answered? After all, you don’t want to hurt chances of get­ting into the school.

You might be writ­ing an email to an admis­sions coun­selor to ask for advice, check the sta­tus of an appli­ca­tion, or just to get a bit more infor­ma­tion. Here’s how to com­pose an email in a way that will not cause the coun­selor to hit the delete but­ton, or worse, make the coun­selor recon­sider an accep­tance to the college.

Check for typos and gram­mat­i­cal errors.

Use stan­dard and proper Eng­lish and never use text mes­sage abbreviations.

Con­sider the fol­low­ing two examples:

  • “hi i am inter­ested in ur school can u send me more info plz.”
  • “Dear (Name of Coun­selor), I am inter­ested in your school and would like to receive more infor­ma­tion. I appre­ci­ate your time and assis­tance. Best Regards/Sincerely, Your Name”. Or, if com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been slightly more infor­mal, a sim­ple, “Dear (Name of Coun­selor), Thank you very much for the infor­ma­tion! (Your Name)” is also sufficient.

Which one would impress the reader? The first one requires decod­ing, the sec­ond is straight­for­ward and in plain Eng­lish. It’s bet­ter to avoid using abbre­vi­a­tions at all, unless rel­e­vant to the school (Bach­e­lor of Arts, for exam­ple, can be abbre­vi­ated to B.A.)

The sim­pler, the bet­ter, so be straight­for­ward and to the point.

Main­tain con­tact and always fol­low up with the admis­sions counselors.

The moral of this story, is this; remem­ber that while you may have fan­tas­tic tal­ents and skills to share, you may never even get a foot in the door with a freaky or funny email name like “shedevil” or “studmuf­fin”. While you never know how an admis­sions coun­selor per­ceives you before they meet you, you can con­trol some of the vari­ables they eval­u­ate you by.  Goofy e-mail names are just fine with your Yahoo buddy list but they are not appro­pri­ate dur­ing a col­lege appli­ca­tion process. Put your­self in the counselor’s shoes and think twice before you send that email!

  • says:

    Also, be care­ful what infor­ma­tion you include in your e-mail address. One stu­dent I coun­seled had her birth­day as her e-mail address — too much infor­ma­tion, and it was eas­ily dis­cerned as her birth date! Another stu­dent cre­ated a web­page, offered to give pri­vate tutor­ing in her home, gave her home address, her tele­phone num­ber, her high school, and so on. Using a reverse direc­tory and Google, it was very sim­ple to find out about her par­ents, where they worked, their work hours, and dan­ger­ously, when her school day ended and when she would be home alone before her par­ents came home from work. Be care­ful!!
    Byron Gold­stein

    March 21, 2011 at 12:24 am

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