Top 10 Communication Tips 2011 – #5

This is the fifth entry in our “Top 10″ list for you to consider when communicating with our office and applying.

Number 5 – When leaving a voice mail message speak slowly and clearly, state your telephone number twice, and note your city/time zone.

As much as we would like to answer every call someone makes to our office, sometimes all of our lines are in use and you will be put through to voice mail.  Sometimes there is static or background noise when leaving your message and we may not be able to clearly hear your message.

Speaking slowly and stating your telephone number twice will help ensure that we can get back you.  Our recommendation is actually to email our office rather than leave a voice mail.  We can check email much more quickly and can provide very detailed information in email messages.  And we do not have to worry about time zones (see bonus tip below).  As a reminder our email address is sipa_admission@columbia.edu.

It is also helpful to compile a list of questions prior to calling our office and after checking the Web site. We can work with you to answer all of your questions but the process is often more streamlined if you know beforehand what information you are looking for. It also helps if questions are specific.

For example, a question like “Can you tell me about financial aid?” is quite broad.  However a question like, “I am not a U.S. citizen, what aid can I qualify for?” is much more specific.

Bonus Tip:   If leaving a voice mail message, also state your city, country, and time zone if possible.  We get applications from over 100 countries each year and people call from all over the world.  Stating your location will assist us, however this is another reason we recommend email – we can respond any time and possibly will not wake you when calling at what may be business hours for us, and sleeping hours for you.