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Top Ten Scholarship Email Etiquette Tips

By Bridget Kulla

June 03, 2009

Email may be a quick way to communicate, but don’t forget your etiquette when emailing with admissions counselors, scholarship sponsors and financial aid officers. Make a good impression with these tips.

1. Do not type in all caps
Writing in caps makes it seem like you are shouting, and some readers find it more difficult to read. If you want to stress a point, opt for underlining or putting it in bold font.

2. Avoid abbreviations and emoticons
Including an abbreviation like “FYI” or “LOL” or an emoticon like “:)” may be okay in an email to a friend, but they are inappropriate in formal emails. You wouldn’t include smiley faces in an important letter, so don’t put them in your important emails.

3. Always fill in the subject line
Your email’s subject line is the first impression your recipient has of your email. Make your subject line a clear and meaningful reflection of your email.

4. Use a professional format
You may think using a colored or unusual font, or a formatted background design in your emails makes them stand out, but don’t use them with official emails. They’re not professional and they make your message hard to read.

5. Avoid sarcasm
It’s difficult to judge tone in an email. Don’t use ironic or sarcastic language that may not come across as you intended in writing.

6. Don’t use a “cute” email address for important emails
An email sent from sweetiepie07@aol.com will come across as unprofessional. Even if you have to create a new email account, use a more business-like address, like janesmith@aol.com, to be taken more seriously.

7. Make your email clear
Admissions counselors and scholarship sponsors receive a lot of emails. Make it easier for them to get your message by keeping a clear, concise format. Write short paragraphs and inlude a space between them so your reader can find the information they’re looking for quickly. Put your most important information in the first or second paragraph so your reader doesn’t have to scroll down to find it. Make your email as short and concise and possible; anything longer than half a page is too long.

8. Know when to pick up the phone or schedule a meeting
Email is convenient, but it shouldn’t completely replace phone calls or meetings. For important or complicated matters, pick up the phone.

9. Ask before sending a large attachment
Not only do attachments take up a lot of storage space in your recipient’s inbox, but many people won’t open attachments for fear of viruses. When possible, include all information in the body of your email. If you do need to send an attachment, ask the recipient if it’s okay.

10. Double check before hitting “send”
It only takes a few minutes to take another careful look at your email before you hit send but it could improve the impression your email makes. Use your computer’s spelling and grammar checks, but be aware that these don’t catch all mistakes.

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