We know you’re excited to demonstrate your interest to the colleges on your list. But before you dash off an e-mail to the admissions office at your dream school, think about how you are presenting yourself to your potential alma mater.

contacting colleges

When to Get in Contact with Prospective Colleges

Admissions officers usually provide their contact information via the admissions website because they want to be accessible and available to answer questions from applicants—either about the college application process or about the school. If you have specific questions about academic programs or campus life (or just want to touch base with the admissions officer assigned to your geographic region), sending an e-mail to college admissions will get you the essential information you need AND show your enthusiasm for the school.

How to E-mail College Admissions

Check out our top tips for communicating with college admissions offices efficiently and effectively:

  1. Keep it short! Focus on your questions, not on yourself. This is not the time to tell them how great you are.
  2. Minimize the number of questions you ask. You can always ask more questions when you visit campus . Before contacting colleges, make sure the answers to your questions aren’t easily accessible on the school’s website.
  3. Introduce yourself. Give your name, high school graduation year, name and city of your high school and your home address either in the body of the e-mail or as an e-mail signature. This information helps the admissions office place you and where you are in the application process (and you’ll definitely want them to remember you if you make a good impression).
  4. Check for spelling and grammatical mistakes.  Then check again. And then one more time. It’s important that any communication you have with the admissions office is typo free!
  5. Be professional. If your e-mail address is anything other than a form of your name or initials, consider creating a new one for college correspondence. If you're writing from an existing account, check your email signature. Make sure it doesn't include anything offensive, silly, or bizarre.
  6. While you're at it, check your privacy settings. Just as you check out colleges on Facebook or Twitter, their admissions officers could be doing some research on you, their applicant. Make sure that you are presenting your best self on social media (just as you would in any application materials).

If you receive a reply, make sure you get back to the admissions officer right away—even if it took a while for them to get back to you. This will demonstrate to the officer that you are mature, responsible, and taking the college process seriously. Think of any additional conversations you have with colleges as an extension of your application, and you'll do just fine.

Check out our video with tips on how to interact with colleges (including during the interview!):

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