Think you can get into a top-10 school? Take our chance-me calculator... if you dare. 🔥


Last updated March 21, 2024

Every piece we write is researched and vetted by a former admissions officer. Read about our mission to pull back the admissions curtain.

How to Write an Email to a College Admissions Office (with a sample!)

Key Takeaway

Emailing a college admissions officer can be an important part of the application process. Use it to ask specific questions not easily found online, demonstrate interest, and follow up after meetings. Ensure you contact the right person, use a professional email, and clearly identify yourself. Avoid easily googled queries and unprofessional language. The goal is to help you stand out positively in the admission officer's mind.

There comes a time in nearly every college applicant’s life when you must email an admissions officer.

Emailing an adult as a high schooler is scary enough. Add in the fact that your admissions officer will make a decision about your college admissions fate, and it’s enough to give even the most confident student a little nervous sweat.

But worry not. In this post, we’ll go over when to email an admissions officer and how to do it appropriately.

We’ll start by going over why you should send an email in the first place.

Why should you email a college admissions officer?

There are lots of legitimate reasons to email an admissions officer. And then there are some…not so legitimate ones.

Admissions officers are there to be representatives of the school. Usually they’re assigned a regional territory, so you should be able to look up your admissions officer by the city or state you live in.

In general, you should feel free to email a college admissions officer with specific questions that you can’t easily find online. Let’s look at a few of the most common reasons.

To ask a specific question

Okay, so you want to demonstrate interest by emailing your admissions officer. Now what?

You need a legitimate question.

When I say “have a legitimate question,” I mean a question that isn’t easily looked up on the school’s website or Google.

Asking an easily-googled question may actually have the opposite effect as the one you’re going for—your admissions officer may get the impression that you aren’t a self-directed, capable researcher.

So what’s a legitimate question, then?

Feel free to email your admissions officers with specific questions about your application, any technical difficulties you’re having, the program you’re applying to, resources you’re interested in, and more.

To demonstrate interest

Some (not all!) schools use online applicant tracking systems to measure how engaged an applicant is with their admissions office. That can include actions like opening marketing emails, attending virtual or in-person events, or—you guessed it—emailing your admissions officer.

“Demonstrating interest” is a way to show colleges that you’re eager to attend. We have a whole separate post about when and how to demonstrate interest, so for now I’ll just note that emailing admissions counselors for legitimate reasons can be a great way to show that you’re engaged with the school.

(Psst: Not sure whether a school you’re interested in tracks demonstrated interest? Look up the school in the Admit Report Data Room.)

To follow up after an interview, a college visit, or a college fair

If you’ve already met your admissions officer at a campus visit, interview, or other event, then you might consider sending them a follow-up email. You can send a quick thank-you note for their time or ask a thoughtful follow-up question from your conversation.

Contacting your admissions counselor vs. the admissions office

There may be instances where it’s better to contact the main admissions desk instead of your admissions counselor.

Here’s a tip that may make you cringe: sometimes a phone call can be a lot quicker and easier than an email.

I know, I know. But hear me out.

Let’s say you have a question about what email address your high school counselor should use to send in your transcript.

You could email your admissions officer and wait a day or two (or longer, if we’re being honest!) to hear back.

OR, since the question isn’t a particularly interesting or important one that would add anything to your application, you could give the front admissions desk a call.

And chances are, if you just have a quick question, you won’t even have to give them your name: “Hi, I was wondering what email my counselor should use to send my transcript to via Parchment? Okay, thanks!”


Email Dos

Alright, before you hit “send” on that email, there are two things you should be sure to do.

Do check your email address.

Make sure you have a professional email address, and make sure it’s the one you signed up for university communications with. (Oh, and don’t forget to double check your email profile picture!)

Don’t get off on the wrong foot with your admissions officer by having an email address that’s inappropriate. Go for some safe variation of your name, graduation year, etc. You can even create a new email address just for your college applications.

And if you’re emailing to demonstrate interest, be sure that you’re emailing from the same email you signed up for university communications with. That’s how they’ll track you in their system.

Do identify yourself.

In your email, you should at the very least include your first and last name. You might also list any relevant identifying information, like a Common App ID number, so it’s easy for the admissions staff to look up your application.

Identifying yourself is good practice whether you have a technical question about your application or not. Even if you’re asking an unrelated question, your admissions officer might be inclined to look up your application. Help solidify yourself in their memory by making it easy for them.

Email Don’ts

Admissions counselors’ inboxes are full. They’re always getting emails from students, parents, counselors, colleagues, and more. When you email them, you want to put your best foot forward.

Don’t ask questions that are easily googled.

This is a huge one. Do you think an admissions officer would rather answer an inbox full of “Do you have a biology major?” questions or work through their application queue?

You might think asking any question is good, but asking a question that you could easily look up yourself (or something overly general, like “Tell me about your outdoor program!”) will probably lead an admissions officer to believe that you haven’t done your own research.

Don’t be too casual.

You don’t need to write an email like the recipient is the Queen of England, but you should try to be professional. As much as you can, use proper grammar and capitalization. Proofread what you’ve written. Make your sentences clear and easy to read.

And try to follow standard email practices, like a straightforward subject line and a polite opening and sign-off.

With those tips in mind, let’s take a look at an example email to an admissions officer.

Example Email

Email address:

Subject: Engineering student connection request

Dear Ben,

It was a pleasure meeting you at the college fair at Admit Report High School last week! I really enjoyed learning more about University’s engineering program.

I wanted to follow up on our conversation. You mentioned that you could put me in touch with one of the student admission ambassadors to chat about the engineering program. I would love to ask them a few questions! Would you be able to connect us?

Thank you for your time.



Key Takeaways

Emailing a college admissions officer may seem intimidating, but it’s all part of the college admissions process.

Admissions officers are there to help you. Yes, they are gatekeepers of the institution, so you should always do the best you can, but they are human beings, too.

A quick, professional email can help you get your questions answered, help admissions officers remember you when they read your application, and can be an important part of demonstrating interest in a college.

Want to learn more about how to apply to college? Check out our applying to college guide.



Liked that? Try this next.