Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Proper Etiquette: How to Correspond with Admissions Offices



By Naimeesha Murthy
World Education Services

Interacting with admissions officers and representatives from the colleges you are considering is not like chatting with one of your friends – it is more formal.

During the application process, it is important to make a good impression and avoid casual and informal communication. Remember, you are primarily judged by what you submit in writing. Your written correspondence (including emails) will become part of your file during the admissions process.


To maintain proper etiquette when corresponding with schools, it is important to understand the following:

The How
The most effective way to reach out to institutions is via email. Admissions officers are very busy and it is often that the officer handling your file may be busy reviewing applications or on the road for meetings and recruiting events. So, it is important that your correspondence be clear and concise. Provide your alternative contact details, such as your phone number and Skype handle in your emails in case the officer wants to reach out to you in a different way.

The When and Who
Most questions can be answered in the frequently asked question (FAQ) section on college websites, so check there first if you have questions regarding deadline information, tuition costs, or other issues before you contact admissions directly. If your question is unique and more department-focused, you can email the institution to get a more complete answer. If you send generic questions to departmental heads or professors, they will often be delegated to someone else who will then point you to the FAQ page, so be sure to check there before sending in your questions.

Proper Tone and Language
Colleges base most of their decisions on your application, so it is very important that you represent yourself well. Your tone reflects your personality and makes you sound genuine and interesting.

Your language should be professional and formal. Do not use texting language like “LOL” or “TTYL.” Beware of using humor, as you do not know how the application reviewer may receive it. Make sure to spell check all your material and have someone you trust read it to make sure your writing and questions are clearly expressed. Your language communicates a great deal about your potential as a student and you want it to reflect your best self.

In Conclusion

There are two key items to remember when it comes to proper correspondence etiquette:
  • Review college websites carefully to see if the information you need is already there. If you are unable to get the information you need, find the appropriate person to address your question(s) to and prepare an e-mail. 
  • Be sure your language and tone reflect your personality, your desire to be a student at the college, and your ability to succeed. Avoid being too casual and ensure that your message has a purpose that requires the college’s response.
We hope this information is helpful and helps to guide you through the admissions process. Good luck and all the best!

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