My wife interviews freshman applicants for one of those Ivy League schools everybody wants to go to. Last week, she got her list of applicants to contact and promptly sent each of them a personal email inviting them to schedule their interviews.
So far, only one student has responded to her email.
If you’re a senior who just applied to college, congratulations—you’ve done the hard part. But you’re not really done yet. Colleges routinely contact applicants by mail and email asking you for additional information (or to schedule interviews), and you need to make sure you respond promptly and appropriately.
Here at Collegewise, we remind our students:
1. On your college applications, list an email address that you check regularly (and by “regularly,” I mean at least once a day). And if your email address is something like wildncrazypartygirl@yahoo, get a new email address.
2. Once you submit your applications, open every piece of mail and read every email a college sends you. Just because it’s not yet time to expect a decision doesn’t mean that mail or email isn’t important.
3. If a college asks you to send anything, to respond to anything, or take any action, do it right away. Don’t rush to the point you get careless, but remember, once you apply to a college, you’re pretty much on stage. Lagging in your response time doesn’t show a burning desire to attend.
4. And when communicating with a college rep over email, remember that this is a professional correspondence; you are not text messaging a friend. Spell carefully and use punctuation. Do not compose sentences like “i really hope 2b at Princeton next fall! see u soon!”
Colleges (and my wife) are reasonable. They’re not going to ding a kid just because he took an extra day to respond to an email. But they’re also human, after all. I won’t speak for my wife, but I know I would already like the kid who responded right away. And the kid who wrote me, "sorry i’m writing u back so late i have been soooo busy w/ school," wouldn’t make such a good impression.