In America, teenagers can count on doing two things during high school for sure: you get your driver’s license and you take the ACT or SAT. As soon as you take a standardized test, you start getting tons of emails from colleges, sometimes hundreds. All of these colleges want you to apply, and some of them actually want you to attend. Because these come like a flood, the vast majority of these emails you never open. What can be done?
Here are some coping mechanisms because email never stops.
FIRST, thin the emails out:
1. Scan the list of colleges for names you recognize
Most teens like to apply to at least a few places they’ve heard of, so keep these emails in the running until you know your final list of colleges.
2. Do your initial college list and then scan the emails for those names
Once you have your initial 20-35 or so colleges in mind, then scan ye olde list of emails for the names of these contenders.
3. Ask your counselor if he/she recommends any colleges for you, and then watch for those, too
Anyone your counselor suggests should definitely be added to the list.
4. Send colleges you are not interested in to Spam
Don’t just delete them, since you know they’re off the list for sure. This will keep the future emails from these colleges from reaching you.
5. Consider creating a special folder for college emails and send the emails there
You can set filters in your email system, so if you know how to do that you can create a college filter system and then the little emails will happily collect in one, invisible place until you open the folder. Then that will be a serious flood, like an avalanche. Woah.
SECOND, use the emails you saved:
Open the emails from colleges that you are interested in because they can tell in their system whether you open their emails or not.
Scroll through the emails these top choice colleges send you because they can see if you have scrolled within the email or not, so do read through the info. Also, this info is great stuff to use in your college applications.
Be sure to click around on exciting or interesting links within the email because the colleges can tell if you click on their links or not. Once you do click on a link and it takes you to somewhere within the site, then the college can see how long you spend on the site, so it is a good idea to use these emails when you need to surf around on the college’s website. Go to the college’s website *through* the email. This will all be tracked and attached to your name.
THIRD, learn to survive moving forward:
Since checking email is perhaps a newer part of your daily life as a teenager, let’s also go over some basics to get you set up:
1. Make sure your address is professional enough, and certainly not inappropriate
Use just your name and some favorite number. Don’t use anything that could be offensive, unprofessional, mis-interpreted or juvenile. Email is a very common adult form of communication, so be sure your email address is a professional one since all of your colleges will see it.
2. Check your email at least once a day
You must check your email regularly because for adults, and colleges, this system is like texting. They email you and each other all the time and they expect replies speedily.
3. Reply to any real, live sender within 24 hours
It’s a good idea to reply to someone soon after they send you an email. Don’t leave a college or a potential employer hanging. Adults reply within the same day unless they’re on vacation, so this is a good thing for you to know.
Email will be a major form of communication between you and the adults who work at the colleges that interest you, so it’s a great idea for you to learn some emailing basics!