Check your email...

How many emails are in your inbox? 10? 500? 2300? Do you leave them unopened until you have time to respond? Do you delete them if you know you don’t need them?

I was recently working with a student and during the course of our hour-long meeting, he received 50 emails from colleges. In one hour.  That’s a lot to manage. Why and how is he receiving so many emails?

For one reason, colleges purchase student contact information from PSAT, SAT, and ACT testing services. Therefore, it isn’t unusual for students to start receiving information from colleges as early as ninth grade. The volume typically increases as students matriculate through high school, therefore, it is essential to develop email management skills as early as possible.

Tips to develop email management skills

  • Create an email account just for the college application process

    • Most students already have two email accounts - one for school and another personal account. Creating a gmail account is easy and using separate accounts for different purposes is a great way to manage volume and ensure nothing is missed.

    • If you will apply for scholarships through scholarship search companies such as Cappex and FastWeb, create a separate email account just for that process. Those companies send out multiple emails a day and the volume builds quickly.

    • *Pro tip - keep the name of your email simple, for example and avoid using a specific college name in your email handle.  When you apply to Duke using your UNC4Ever gmail account you are sending mixed signals for sure!

  • Check your email once a day

    • Designate a set time every day to log in and manage your email. If you tend to forget to check it, set a reminder on your phone until the daily habit becomes routine.

  • Create email folders

    • Here are some suggested labels: college event invitations, colleges I’ve applied to, colleges I’m not interested in yet, responses from coaches, audition details, emails that require action from me

  • Use formal letter writing skills when writing emails

    • Include a proper salutation (Dear Mrs. Ringenbach), appropriate punctuation, and a formal signature.

Tips for College Applicants

  • Open email from the colleges to which you applied

    • Colleges keep records of email open-rates and some note if you clicked on any links. Some colleges use this data as a record of your interest in their schools. That information can be used to predict if you enroll in the college if admitted, and that data might influence the college’s decision to offer you admission. Open the email! Click the links!

  • Follow through on any actionable items

    • Is your application missing anything? Most likely you received an email from the college instructing you on how to check your application status.

    • Once you are admitted, you will receive email about open house events, housing details and various other important information. Don’t miss out! Read your email!

Though email isn’t usually the preferred communication method for most teens (txt me, pls), it is the name of the game in the admissions process. The better skilled a student is at managing email, the smoother the college application process will be.