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’re considering isn’t like chit chatting with one of your friends – it’s more formal.

During the application process, it’s important to make a good impression and avoid casual and informal communication. Remember, you are primarily judged by what you submit in writing and your package on the whole. Your written correspondence (including e-mails) will often become part of your file.

For this reason, it is important to understand the following:


The most effective way to reach out to institutions is via email. Admissions officers are very busy and often times, the officer who is handling your file may be busy reviewing applications or on the road for meetings and recruiting events. So, it is important that your correspondence is clear and concise. It is a good idea to provide your alternative contact details (phone number, Skype, etc.) in e-mail in case they want to reach out to you.

When and Who

Most of the important questions are typically answered in the FAQ section of your college’s website, so check there first if you have questions regarding deadline information, tuition costs, or other issues. If your question is unique and is departmental focused, e-mail the institution to receive a more complete answer. If you send generic questions to departmental heads or professors, they will often be delegated to someone else, who will point you to the FAQs – so save yourself some time and start from the FAQ section.

Tone and Language

Colleges make most of their decisions based on your application, so it is very important to represent yourself well. Your tone serves to reflect your personality and makes you genuine and interesting .

Your language should be professional and formal. Don't use texting language like “LOL” or “TTYL.” Beware of using humor: it can be risky because you don’t know how the application package 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 and clear and are quality work. Your language communicates a great deal about your potential as a student, so ensure it reflects your best self.

In conclusion:

  • Review the college’s website carefully to see if the information you need is there. If you are unable to get the information you need, find out whom you should address your question(s) to and send an e-mail. 
  • Be sure your language and tone reflect your personality, your desire to be a student at that college, and your ability to succeed there. Don't be casual in your communication and ensure that your message has a purpose that requires the college’s involvement.

We hope this information is helpful and guides you in your admission process – good luck and all the best!

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