When it comes to emailing admissions officers, students often fall into one of two camps: They are either afraid to email for fear of being annoying or a burden, or they are emailing every other day to ask if their applications have been reviewed yet!

You want to strike the right balance in your communication with admissions officers. They may be busy, but they are real human beings, and under the right circumstances, they are more than happy to connect with students.

Here are our tips for emailing admissions officers the right way.

Have a clear purpose for communicating.

Admissions officers have a demanding schedule and their time is limited. While communicating with students is an important part of their job, they also read and evaluate college applications, conduct student interviews, coordinate campus visits, and more!

If you’re emailing an admissions officer, make sure you have a clear purpose in mind. Connecting just to say hello or keep yourself “top of mind” isn’t a good use of your effort or the officer’s time.

Make sure to state your purpose clearly. If you have a question you’d like the officer to answer, frame it well and make sure it’s specific. Avoid asking questions whose answers you can find on the college’s website—instead of endearing yourself to the admissions officer, your query might have the opposite effect!

One great opportunity for every student to email an admissions officer is to follow up on a college visit. Send a brief thank you note that includes highlights from your visit and elaborates on what you love about the school. It’s a great way to connect with the officer and show them how grateful you are for what they do.

Be professional and polite.

Your email doesn’t need to be overly formal, but it should be written in a respectful tone and formatted with a proper greeting and closing.

While one typo isn’t going to ruin your chances of acceptance, admissions officers do notice spelling and grammatical errors. Use spellcheck, give your email a final proofread, and ask a fellow student or trusted adult to review your message as well. Above all, make sure to spell the admissions officer’s name correctly!

Use an email address that is professional, ideally one related to your first and last name. If your personal email address could be viewed as strange or concerning, consider creating a new email address to use for college applications. Doing so will serve you well both now and in the future!

Don’t necessarily expect a response.

It’s always nice to receive an acknowledgment of your email, especially for something as high-stakes as college admissions. But not receiving a response from an admissions officer—especially if you didn’t ask a question—is not an indication that your message isn’t important. It’s more likely that their inbox is so full that they aren’t able to send a personal response to every student.

The admissions officer is probably reading your email and maybe even jotting down some notes in their file (yes, they do keep files on each student), so your efforts are still worthwhile.

It’s okay to send a follow-up email if you’ve asked a specific question or are waiting on information. It’s less productive to send an email asking if they got your email!

Be confident when reaching out.

Communicating with applicants is an admissions officer’s job. You don’t need to feel like you’re “bothering” the officer, any more than you are “bothering” your guidance counselor when you ask for advice on classes for next fall.

These officers have decided to represent an institution because they believe in its mission, and they relish opportunities to share more about that mission. Furthermore, admissions officers are excited about meeting potential students—it’s why they do what they do! As long as you’re initiating a meaningful conversation, you can feel confident that the admissions officer will be glad to speak with you.

To learn more about the college process, check out our Guide to College Admissions!