If you are a student applying to graduate school for MS or MBA, one of the key things you always want to do is contact professor at prospective school and seek their advice for funding or admission. The most important thing for that is the professor you email to reads your email…it all boils down to the correct “Subject Line” for the email you send.
In our everyday email conversations, we are used to putting standard or catchy subject lines for emails that we send to anyone. Few of them are as below:
- 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 admissions or professors seeking information. Sometimes I got replies, sometime I did not get replies. I was really mad at the admission/ professors as they did not email me back. Guess what, after I got admission and started MS in US, I got to know that professors typically do not even open email, if they do not find the subject line relevant for them as there is so much of SPAM and all sorts of promotional email they get. Basically, “NO ONE really opens your email, they ONLY read the Subject line and decide to read or delete the email if they do not recognise it”. If you put in any of the subject lines like above, it is deleted and never read. That’s the problem. In this article, we 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 that I wrote to many professors”. 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 contain critical information 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 ?
- What is your topic of interest in academic research ?
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 for emailing Graduate School for Admissions :
- Fall 2019 Prospective Student: Need Admission Status
- Spring 2019 Student : Seeking Scholarship Information
- Summer 2019 Graduate Student : I20 Status
- Prospective student 2019 : Need admission info
- Prospective student 2019 : 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 🙂
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 2019 Prospective Student: Research Info needed
- Summer 2019 Student: Artificial Intelligence Research Question
- Spring 2019 Prospective student: Need Admission Information
- Fall 2020 Student : Need info on Research prospects at UW-Madison
- Summer 2020 : 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 :). Also, make sure the subject line is crisp and does not exceed over the readable subject line. Usually 50 to 60 characters.
Also, check out the article on Sample Email templates for emailing Professors for Funding, Admissions, etc.
What has been your experience Emailing processors ? What were your subject lines ?