You may be rolling your eyes like, “Dang, EssaySnark. Can you get any more basic than that???? I think I know how to email somebody!”
But if that were the case, why do we see so many super-lame messages coming in?
Yeah yeah yeah, we get it. EssaySnark is not the admissions office. You aren’t trying to impress us. (Clearly! Based on some of these messages!)
We’ve gone on some rants about poor email etiquette in the past and we do encourage you to review those prior posts.
Like this one: First Impressions and Ongoing Professionalism: Email Etiquette
And this one: PSA: How to email (wherein EssaySnark says “Get off my lawn!”)
Today though we’ll map out the basics.
First: You must have a REASON to be emailing — and that reason should not be a question that you can find the answer to on the website. Search through the school’s available information before deciding to email them! The reason also must be not asking a question like “Can you give me my decision early? I got another offer from a different school and their deadline for me to decide is coming up.” They’re not going to make exceptions for you, and there’s risk of making their decision about your app quite straightforward if you come across as expecting special treatment. (Meaning: The emotional intelligence and maturity that you demonstrate in how, and why, you contact admissions can absolutely factor in to their decision on your application. The way you handle yourself even in email can tell a lot about you! And not necessarily a positive!)
There are legit reasons to be contacting the admissions office, such as updating them on a material change to your application, as we’ve discussed here before.
If you’re planning on sending in an update, then you need to determine the school’s policy first. Do they even accept updates? Figure that out before you send one!
Many schools do want to get updates, but only substantive ones, like a new test score.
If you’re emailing — for ANYTHING, not just with a new score — the rule of thumb is BE BRIEF.
You should write in the very first line what you’re emailing about.
(Then don’t forget to attach it!)
Use a clear, specific subject line. Something like: Round 2 applicant: updated GMAT score
Before you send this: Confirm that your “sender” email is set appropriately, with your full name.
Do not email from your phone! You may not even realize how messages from your phone come across to the sender. It’s quite likely that your “from” name is all wacked. You would not believe how many times we’ve gotten messages to our customer service team that were from “Gmail” because the BSer had used that to indicate which account they were emailing from on their phone, and never tested how it was coming through to other people. Your “sender” value needs to be full name. First and last.
And oh yeah: You need to email from the account that you’ve used on your application. If you set up a specific apply-to-business-school email account and that’s what’s in the app itself, then email the adcom from that account. And again, confirm that the “from” name is correct. First and last. No initials or abbreviations.
Because you’re being so meticulous about how the “from” name is set up, then this should be obvious: You don’t need to include your name in the subject line.
They have your name in the “from”, as in, the sender of the message. So just use the subject line to specify the purpose of the contact.
Don’t just say “Update” — indicate what you’re updating.
Tag it with “Round 2 applicant” or something.
If you can find the application ID number within your application (which you saved locally on your system after submitting, right? Because the school won’t save it forever, and you need to have it available as a worst-case-scenario strategizing tool if you don’t get in this first time) then include that ID somewhere too. It need not be on the subject line, but putting it early in the message would be good.
Obviously you’ll want to SPELLCHECK and also PROOFREAD – don’t rely on automated tools to find writing errors. Even in an email. You want it to be error-free.
Finally, be careful about tone. Sometimes BSers come across as pushy, just based on how they write things.
If you end your email with: “I await your reply” then, well, that sounds like you’re the one with power in this picture. Which is not the case. It comes across as strange to the reader.
Instead try: “Please let me know if you would like more information” or “I am happy to provide you with more details if necessary” — though even a line like that isn’t technically necessary, because, like, they’re gonna ask you if they need more.
You could do something like “I am really excited about [school name] because [state personal reason]” if you really had a good angle to include.
Or just: “Thank you for considering my application.”
Again, short and sweet!
The bottom of the email should have a brief signature block that includes your phone number, with international prefix if you’re not a domestic applicant. Also include your location and timezone! This information will not be immediately available to the reader of the message without some digging into your application. Volunteering this proactively in your little sig makes their life easier if they do need to pick up the phone.
See? You just learned something.
And you thought you knew how to email!
Can you believe we’ve posted about this before?!? Us neither! From the ‘snarchives way back in 2014: How to contact the admissions office
Tell us what you think.