Sending emails to strangers. At colleges. Asking for appointments.

Here’s one more reason why the college admissions process is so complicated for high school students:  at some point, after years of only emailing friends, family, and familiar teachers, your parents may insist that you sit down right now and send an email to strangers.

Right now, because this has likely been discussed a number of times over the past few weeks.

Mod Squad Mia, glad she doesn't have to write emails.

Mod Squad Mia, glad she doesn’t have to write emails.

Right now, because you need to request an appointment with someone in the department of interest while you’re visiting the college.

Right now, because the college visit is next week.

Yes, I know it would have been better if you had written last week, but it will be better if you write tonight instead of putting it off any longer.

No, you don’t know the specific person to ask — you need to look up the department and make your best guess.

Yes, it may be a different title in each department.

Yes, you may send a similar email to any number of people, but each needs to be sent to an individual, not to a group list.

Yes, it may happen that you don’t end up with any meetings.

Yes, you may end up meeting with someone in a department that ends up not being of interest to you.

Yes, you do need to write a few good things about yourself and what sort of student you are.

Yes, I do think you can figure out a way to say those good things without sounding like a braggart.

No, we will not write these for you, but we will read your drafts.

Yes, you can copy these and edit them to use again.

Yes, you do need also to write the Dean of Admissions who has sent you multiple emails, even though she has sent those emails to thousands of students. You can let her know you will be visiting and ask her advice about how best to spend your time while on campus.

Yes, you will have to do this again.

Yes, it gets easier with every email you write.

Just like this college thing gets a bit easier the second time around.

Why are college and scholarship applications so complicated?


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Filed under Campus Visits, Getting In

4 responses to “Sending emails to strangers. At colleges. Asking for appointments.

  1. Kim

    Jane, you may have mentioned this in a previous post, but in case not, or as a reminder, parents need to make sure their child has a “professional-sounding” email address (first + last name or first initial + last name). Gone are the days of funny or cute email addresses. The new email address needs to be in place prior to emailing anyone at a college, filling out college applications and even corresponding with teachers regarding recommendations.

    • Kim,

      I agree! I think that is something that students even think about that makes a big difference. It may be a little hard for students at first, but it makes all the difference. In addition to applying for college, professional contacts in their chosen field of study will take them much more seriously.

  2. Pingback: What Happens When? The College Admissions Calendar, expanded. | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

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