Top 10 Tips for Communicating With Us No. 1: Use the Same Email Address and a Descriptive Subject Line

Updated: March 2016

We do our best to keep up with the volume of inquires and applications our office receives but the reality is that size of our staff and the number of inquiries/applications makes it hard to keep up.  In 2010, I posted a “Top 10” list with the intent of helping applicants to receive the most efficient service possible from our office.  We know you want answers quickly and we want to do everything in our power to make that possible.

The list I compiled is still solid but I will update it with a bit of new information.  I hope this list will help you strategize as you communicate with the Office of Admissions, search for information, and apply.  I will post 10 entries over the next couple of weeks and then compile them into a single entry for future reference.

In reviewing all of the entries please understand that I am not in any way trying to dissuade you from contacting our office, rather my hope is to provide information that will allow you to receive a response as soon as possible and avoid delays.

Number 1: Always use the same email address when communicating with our office — this includes the email you use when you submit your application — and use a descriptive subject line.

This might sound obvious, but in my experience it is common for people to have at least three email addresses:  their personal email address, their work email address, and their alumni email address.

It is highly recommended that you pick one and use the same email address the entire time you communicate with our office and that this email match the email listed on your admission application.  This helps us to research your situation in the quickest and most comprehensive manner possible.  With several thousand people applying, just finding someone’s record can be a challenge.

The first thing I do when I start to research an applicant’s inquiry or question is to plop the email address into my search bar.  If all of the emails are from the same account the process is greatly simplified and I am able to provide information in the most accurate and timely fashion possible.

Also, I cannot tell you how many times someone has emailed our office with a question and used a different address than the one on their application.  When looking someone up in our system  I do so by email address.  Thus if you email with a different address than the one you used when applying it takes much longer to pull up the appropriate application record.

From personal experience I recommend against using your business email address. The primary reason is that if you are admitted to SIPA you are going to leave your employer and your email account will be terminated.  Using your personal email address will avoid complications that can arise when you might request an email address change.  While it is possible to update your email, we have several software systems so it can take time and possibly lead to missed communications.

Do not be tempted to use an email address that you think will impress us.  For example you might feel that you should use your work email address because it looks “impressive.”  Rather use the email address that you consider to be your permanent address and one that you check frequently.  It is far less impressive to have to amend your record in our systems over time- consistency is what impresses us.

And finally, be sure to be descriptive in your subject line. It helps prepare our office as to what your email is regarding, and it is extremely helpful for your subject to be clear if we wind up having to forward it to another department or recipient. It should be obvious from the start what your email contains. We can quickly respond to and find information regarding an email with subject lines such as “Question regarding TOEFL Waiver” or “Additional Transcript from Undergraduate Institution” than we can read through emails with a subject line that simply reads “Question” or “Materials”

I do have two bonus tips.

First, please include your email address in the body of your email – for example below your name (an email signature with your email included is highly recommended).  Sometimes emails get forwarded to other parties and only the body gets sent along.  If I just get the body and the header is left off, we have no email address to respond to and this leads to delays while we try to track down email contact information.

From my experience this is a very common problem when people forward me emails from their Blackberry or mobile phone.  I cannot tell you the number of times a SIPA faculty or staff member has forwarded me a message and there is no visible email address.  So, just to make sure, I recommend setting up an email signature that includes your full email address.

Second, make sure to check your junk mail box every now and then.  Every once in awhile someone will send me a message and it will inexplicably end up in my junk email.  I recommend that you add our email address to your “approved sender” list and check your junk mail every once in a while to ensure our messages are not being sent to where you will not be able to view them in a timely fashion.

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