Subject line to email admissions? How to email admissions for graduate school admission(MS / MBA )?

how to email admissionsIn our everyday email conversations or any email conversation we initiate, we are used to putting catchy subject lines for emails that we send to anyone. Few of them are as below:

  • Hello
  • Hello ! How are you ?
  • Hi , How are you ?
  • Need info
  • Thank you
  • Met you in bus, train

Few years ago, I was exactly the same way as everyone, not sure what to put in the subject line when I email admission seeking information. Sometimes I did not get replies. I was really mad at the admission/ professors as they did not email me back. Guess what I have learnt when I started MS in US, “NO ONE really opens the email; they ONLY read the Subject line and delete the email if they do not recognize it”. If you put in any of the subject lines like above, they never even read it. That’s the problem. This email will give reasons why it is important and what kind of email subject lines should you use when you email admissions for graduate school i.e. MS or MBA.

Why is it important to have a good subject line for emailing Admissions or Professors ?

I started my first Graduate (MS) class and the professor handed out the syllabus. The guidelines on the first page under contact section, “ Email Subject should at least say the COURSE NUMBER and some relevant info, if not, Emails will be deleted as SPAM”.    I thought to myself “ Oh MY GOD ! none of my emails were read”. Just imagine the situation from a professor perspective, professors teach two to three classes and students they interact with can vary anywhere from 50 – 200, also they are in all the faculty email listings, they get emails from University, Personal emails, advertisement emails, etc… The reality is, there are way too many emails for them to open, read and validate. On top of this, there is a virus threat. So, NO ONE really opens the email if they see anything that is not familiar or really meaningful. Please avoid the subject line as I stated in the beginning. It is same case with admissions department. A university strength can vary from 10,000 to 70,000. Imagine how many people would be applying ?  at least 30,000 to 200,000. Admissions do not take time to read every email that does not say any appropriate info about seeking admission. They just delete or put in other list and review later. Overall, the point is, email subject is very critical. In fact, personally I do not read any email if I do not see proper subject line, because I get so many emails…

What should the subject line be for emailing graduate school admissions or Professors?

Because of the importance of the subject line, you have to put the perfect subject information when you email admissions. Your email subject line should say few things like :

  • What is your status ? Current student or prospective student ?
  • When do you want to apply for admission ?
  • What is your question ?  Can you come up the whole gist of your question in 3 words ?
  • What is the urgency of the information ?

I can keep writing few more, but fundamentally these are the key things you have to ask yourself when you put in a subject line.

Sample Subject lines emailing Admissions :

  • Fall 2011 Prospective Student: Need Admission Status
  • Spring 2011 Student : Seeking Scholarship Information
  • Summer 2012 Graduate Student : I20 Status
  • Prospective student 2011: Need admission info
  • Prospective student 2012: Need I20 Info, URGENT !

If you carefully observe all the above, anyone can identify what you need. They look quite simple and crisp don’t they?  I cannot believe I screwed up these things before J

Sample Subject lines to email Professor for Graduate School, funding, etc :

As I mentioned above, professors do NOT read everything. You have to convince Professor with your subject line that they should read the email without deleting it.  Because you do not have a course name or subject name with you, you have to be very cautious. All the guidelines that were told above apply here too.

  • Fall 2011 Prospective Student: Research Info needed
  • Summer 2011 Student: Artificial Intelligence Research Question
  • Spring 2012 prospective student: Need Admission Information
  • Fall 2012 Student : Need info on Research prospects at UW-Madison
  • Summer 2012: Research Assistantships Info needed, URGENT !

The key word to mention in subject line is PROSPECTIVE STUDENT. The trick is, no professor would throw away any email if it has prospective student because, you are a potential student to the university and they will read it and forward it right person if they do not know. Think about it, prospective students are the future customers for the School, they do not want to lose customers J

I plan to write another article completely on how to email professors with some samples and the importance of proper English in emails, etc. Stay tuned !

9 comments… add one

  • MJ Jeli Oct 30, 2015 Reply

    I want to mail at the admission office for my status is not update , but i already send all documents , so please email me what to write in this letter to get update.
    give me guideline what can i write in it?

  • Lee Tan Jul 9, 2015 Reply

    Thank you so much, I am writing some emails to the professors, this is all i need.

  • sushmitha May 14, 2015 Reply

    I want to mail at the admission office for my status is not update , but i already send all documents , so please email me what to write in this letter to get update.
    give me guideline what can i write in it?

  • mina Jan 21, 2015 Reply

    Hi every one ,
    First of all thanks For this excellent post ,
    my Question is that should we attach the CV and SOP to this email (as the first email ?) or it would be more impressive to wait once the professor respond and following?

  • Fitri May 8, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for sharing is so useful for me.
    But I am still confuse.
    What is the best subject for ask a scholarship from the professor?
    Thank you before

  • deepak gandhi Apr 18, 2012 Reply

    please reply
    its an important & emergency to send mail

    Thanking you

  • deepak gandhi Apr 18, 2012 Reply

    I want to mail at the admission office for my status is not update , but i already send all documents , so please email me what to write in this letter to get update.
    give me guideline what can i write in it?

  • Rachel Feb 3, 2012 Reply

    I want to thank you very much for your information regarding subject lines for prospective graduate students to use for their introductory emails. This took a lot of stress out of my already overwhelming preparation for grad school. You may actually have a hand in my acceptance letter, rather than my email being tossed. :)

  • A Sen Jun 14, 2011 Reply


    Thank you for this wonderful article. It was really very helpful.
    Can you please tell us the proper way of writing e-mail to the admission unit for any query?
    How should we address the recipient? Should I be very formal or an informal letter will do?
    If possible provide one sample too .

    Thank you

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