Sending an organized, logical, well-thought out email to an admissions adviser accomplishes two objectives: 1) gets you the information you need and 2) helps you to make a favorable impression with the admissions adviser—one that will benefit you as you work through the admissions process.
SCCO’s admissions advisers LOVE to help you in any way we can! Eryn Kraning (Director of Admissions) and I gladly answer upwards of 150 email each day. You can make the process much easier for us if you use our preferred method when you ask your questions. I cannot tell you what a joy it is to open an email and see it organized in a well thought-out way. The intention put into your email makes us even more eager to help.
- Open with an appropriate greeting. “To Whom it May Concern” is always appropriate. If you are addressing me, and since I have the “O.D.” degree after my name, and since you are applying to a program in hopes of getting the same degree, you should know that I should be addressed as Dr. Munroe, and not Ms. Munroe (as often times happens). Anytime you address anybody in an educational setting, make sure you know how they should be addressed. If necessary, Google their degree and see it is warrants addressing the person with a proper title. This demonstrates your respect for the title and the system that produced it.
- Early in the inquiry, clearly state the main reason for making the inquiry. Example: “I would like a prerequisite course reviewed as to whether it would be acceptable to meet the prerequisite requirements.”
- If you have multiple questions within your email inquiry, NUMBER each one. That way the adviser responding can number their replies to correspond facilitating a organized and streamlined reply process. An example: “I would like to know which of the following courses will fulfill the prerequisite requirements,” and have each course numbered and listed separately so the adviser can make comments that have a clear reference to each course.
- Read all information we return for you to review. In response to your inquiry, we may attach one of our many FAQs and site a specific reason why we attached it. The FAQ will give a better context for the answer and help you learn more about the process. This demonstrates that you are compliant with our recommendations and are earnestly trying to understand the answers.
- Give links to any information you want reviewed.
- When asking about a prerequisite course, copy the course description from your school’s online catalog into the email and make sure we know the undergrad institution to which you are making reference. Also include the number of units, and which one of SCCO’s prerequisite courses you are hoping it will fulfill.
- Return the “email trail” with each exchange. Answering so many email, we cannot possibly remember all the details as the email goes back and forth.
- Don’t be casual with initial contact. You may leave off the greeting as the email exchange continues and naturally becomes more informal and even casual; however, initially, you should convey formal respect for the adviser’s position.
- Avoid long narrative; instead, think bullet points. Again, NUMBER each question so a response can be made in the same manner with numbered and thus a corresponding reply.
- Don’t bounce back right away with more questions without thoroughly reviewing any attached information or following recommendations. To make this mistake conveys volumes about what you will be like as a student in our program; but even more importantly, as a doctor to a patient. Doctors are curious and critical thinkers–not to apply those skills to information you may be given to review will not look good.
- Don’t make assumptions about the process. Every optometry admissions process is different.
- Often times, you don’t know what you don’t know. Trying to find out exactly what you need to know is half the battle. Ask specific questions and at the same time, try to get the big picture by also thinking through information offered to you that you did not originally seek. You will limit yourself with false assumptions. It’s an easy mistake to make.
Be respectful of the adviser’s time during a phone call; ahead of time and before you call, have all questions written down. Take notes. When appropriate, repeat information back to make certain that you’ve understood correctly. When you call, choose an environment where you will be easily heard and can hear; for example, don’t call while driving with the windows rolled down. If you leave a message, carefully leave your return phone number, stating each number clearly and slowly. A good practice is to repeat the number. Often times, I listen to a long message only to get to the end to find the phone number is indiscernible and therefore, I cannot return the call.
For SCCO, you cannot communicate with us too much. In fact, most potential students don’t communicate enough. They are afraid that they will be bugging us and over exposing themselves. Not true! We welcome your inquiries.
Remember, with each and every contact you make with an admissions adviser, you are contributing to the impression they form of you. Demonstrate your communication skills, your attention to detail, and your maturity in each exchange you have with an admissions adviser. Make no mistake about it, they are forming an opinion of you—make it a positive one and get it to work in your favor.