If you’re a senior who’s tired of not having an answer to the question, “what are you doing after you graduate,” you may have applied to graduate school. But if you ever put your name on a mailing list, you’re bound to receive emails from hundreds of schools you didn’t even know existed. Take a look at this rough categorization of practically every email you’ll receive during the grad school grind. (Everything in quotes comes from a real email I have received.)
The Seasonal Email. “Thanksgiving Greetings from [School]!” Schools seem to think that reminding you of the month you are currently in is a good marketing strategy. Thanksgiving and “the Holidays” rank at the top for this flavor of email, but you can expect to see at least a few for every minor event from Groundhog Day to Flag Day.
The First Person Email. “I’m Giving You an Application Fee Waiver Because I Want You to Apply.” In an inbox full of impersonal subject lines, the First Person Email tries to stand out by striking up a conversation. Of course, the admissions officer who sent this to you sent the exact same message to thousands of other applicants.
The “There’s Still Time” Email. “There is Still Time to Apply for Early Decision.” Nearing a deadline can fill a student with a sense of dread – it seems not worth the effort to slap together an application when you won’t have the time to make it good. This email is actually a useful reminder. You have plenty of time to fill out this app, as long as you start now. Surely, these will only occur once per admissions season.
The Fun, Personable Email. “Law Schools Have Personalities. Find Your Match.” Like the First Person Email, this type grabs your attention by not being quite as formal as your average correspondence. Unfortunately, it contains all the same boring stuff on the inside, unless it’s the rare, fully-in-character email that tells you about it just “mailed you a bundle o’ information.”
The Misspelled Email. “Application Fee Waiver to [School] Expires Febryuary 1st – Apply Today.” Any school drops about twenty ranks in prestige whenever you catch an error like this. At least you know they won’t take points off if your resume has a typo in it.
The Positive Email. “Ready for the big test? Of course you are!” Is this email hopping on the wholesome memes trend, or does it genuinely care for your well-being? This is a nice email to see, but it doesn’t leave a strong impression about the school. But if every school in the country sent this message, we’d live in a better place.
The “There’s Still Time” Email. “Hi! There’s still time to apply.” Oh, this email is back, and it’s back two months later. You missed the priority deadline, but there’s another one coming up! This email concludes that you didn’t apply the first time because you were rushed or nervous. Surely you’ll apply this time!”
The Accidental Spam Email. “Ten Reasons You Should Apply to [School].” While it’s less embarrassing than the Accidental Acceptance Email, this spam occurs when the email system glitches. It might send five emails in quick succession, or it might forget to fill in your name and send a generic form email. Whatever the reason, the advertisement probably didn’t make you want to apply.
The Pre-Acceptance Email. “How does a full scholarship sound?” As soon as your GPA or test scores go out, you’re bound to get emails of this genre. Either the email says that students with your credentials have earned scholarships, or the email outright offers you a major scholarship based on scores alone. If the school is willing to give you that much money based on just a number, you can do better.
The “Is This the Right Email?” Email. “Is this message reaching you?” Similar to a There’s Still Time Email, this letter pretends that the reason you haven’t yet applied isn’t because you have no interest in the school. This email mostly inspires pity – maybe you should respond and say, “sorry, the qualified applicant must have given you the wrong number.”
The Apology for the Accidental Spam Email. “We apologize.” Right on time, the school from the Accidental Spam Email apologizes an ensures you that this has never happened to them before. If you give them another chance, they swear they won’t let you down. (They will let you down.)
The Tech Savvy Email. “Facebook Live Admissions Event TODAY, 1 p.m. EST.” Woah! You’ve heard of emails, you’ve heard of chatrooms, but now, get ready for a webinar! Or, a Periscope! Or, Facebook Live! The point of this event isn’t to reap the true benefits of innovative media platforms – it’s to add a piece of proficiency to the school’s resumé.
The “There’s Still Time” Email. “You can still apply for Fall 2018!” Okay, sure, you missed the regular decision deadline, but they have a special rolling admissions program for extra-qualified students. Please. Apply. We beg of you.
The One-and-Done Email. “[School]: you have a fee waiver!” This school is high up enough on the list to feel confident, but it still wants to sweeten the pot. It sends you precisely one email with information and links and never reaches out again. Like a hook-up playing hard to get, this school shows that it’s the real deal.
A clean inbox via Shutterstock
The “There’s Still Time” Email. Hi, applicant! We know that the article is over, but we wanted to invite you to apply at our late, no-date deadline to join our program! There is always still time.