Emailing admissions tutor

(31 Posts)
purplepenguin86 Mon 29-Oct-12 01:39:17

Can anyone tell me the etiquette on this please? I want to email to ask about admission requirements as a mature student etc, but am unsure how to address and finish the email? It often has their name, but not title and Dear firstname seems a bit informal? And do you finish with Yours Faithfully or Many Thanks or what?? Advice would be much appreciated!

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 29-Oct-12 07:26:57

No, not dear firstname.

Google them - I would imagine it's Dr, but you should be able to find the title from a quick google. So, it'd be 'Dear Dr. Lastname'. I would simply end with 'Many thanks.

Yours, purplepenguin'.

I think that's formal enough and won't annoy anyone.

eatyourveg Mon 29-Oct-12 07:36:46

I wrote to a couple last year and just started with

Hello there

Blah blah blah

many thanks


TheCollieDog Mon 29-Oct-12 07:52:01

Former Admissions Tutor here -- LRD has it pretty much. You should consider this sort of email as eqvalent to a formal letter. Just because it's email doesn't mean it's automatically informal.

At a pinch, using the addressee's full name "Dear First name Last name" is fine -- respectful, and acknowledging the formality of the exchange.

Just don't start with "Hi there" if you want to be taken seriously.

But even more important, check you're not wasting the Tutor's time by asking basic questions, which are answered somewhere in the University's website. Show you've done your homework -- that will show that you're to be taken seriously. And it's courteous.

Good luck! I love having mature age students in my classes. They work hard and know what a privilege it is to be at university. Would that all students realised that. (If I ran the world, a 2 year gap year and/or a year of some kind of universal civic service would be compulsory for all 19 year olds) grin

eatyourveg Mon 29-Oct-12 09:53:08

What about telephoning, is that too informal? Most websites offer a contact number too so that would imply they don't mind being contacted by phone. If I thought any advance/enquiry had to be formal, it would have put me right off and given me the impression that someone might not welcome enquiries. As it was, the admissions tutors I emailed, were really helpful and both stated that they were happy for me to get back in touch if I had any other queries.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 29-Oct-12 10:02:27

I don't think phoning is too informal at all - but you might well get the secretary or end up with a voicemail. Lots of admissions tutors have other jobs as well, so won't necessarily be around. But the admissions office might be able to help.

I don't think an enquiry has to be formal - obviously you can write 'Hi there' and I'm sure you would get a polite reply. But it'd be rude to do it and the OP is asking about etiquette, so ...

I don't think it's meant to give the impression people don't welcome enquiries - it's just you are a professional person trying to ask about an academic course, so it's respectful to write a letter that acknowledges your status and their status.

eatyourveg Mon 29-Oct-12 10:35:17

"Hello there" is not as bad as "Hi there" surely???

TheCollieDog Mon 29-Oct-12 11:58:31

What I teach my UGs is that they should be aware of appropriate styles of communication. Just because the communication is by email, doesn't make it any the less formal. It's the nature of the communication, not the medium.

If you were to write an actual paper letter to an Admissions Tutor (back in the dark ages before email) would you start it with "Hello there" or "Hi there"??

I doubt it. Or think of a parallel: would you make an initial enquiry about a job, or to a solicitor, starting with "Hello there" or "Hi there" or nothing at all?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 29-Oct-12 12:05:24

Much of a muchness, I think, eat? confused

They're both informal. That isn't going to make anyone stop answering a question, of course. But if you know one is a bit rude, why use it?

I wouldn't dream of responding to an email from a person I didn't know, in a rude or less considered way, just because of how they wrote it. If they didn't know how to write a formal letter, or if they couldn't spell, or their English wasn't very good, I would still reply to them as politely and carefully as anyone else.

But, if you're in the position of writing the email, definitely I'd recommend writing it with formal phrasing, because it is considered more polite. And, sadly, sooner or later someone will judge you for the informality, so it's best to know.

FWIW you can usually tell who's being rude/lazy and who simply doesn't know: the whole tone of the letter can be very polite despite having a 'Hello there' at the start. But often, someone who starts off by being informal will also not show much awareness that they're in a formal context, and that can be annoying.

eatyourveg Mon 29-Oct-12 12:15:59

Oh well - damage done now. I don't think I would ever use email for something formal. I use email more like a messaging mode of communication - short concise stuff. Anything requiring more than one paragraph goes in a letter. Much prefer pen and paper for that sort of stuff. Interesting to read different takes.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 29-Oct-12 12:19:19

Oh, no, don't worry, honestly, they're not going to hold it against you for one email!

Email is the standard way of communicating at university, so it get used for everything formal. I don't think I've ever had a paper letter from my university, except the ones about salary for teaching and my formal acceptance letter.

So I think people are in the habit of being formal rather than chatty.

But I am sure people will understand because you will have been nice in the email, so they'll know you were just being casual rather than rude.

LondonMother Mon 29-Oct-12 19:59:55

I work in a university. I dealt with a query recently that (in its entirety) read '<< i am from pakistan i want to study>>'. Not impressive.

purplepenguin86 Mon 29-Oct-12 20:25:30

Thanks everyone. I will try to find titles where possible, and otherwise do firstname lastname.

Collie don't worry - I won't be asking anything that is already stated on the website, I spend dozens of hours researching things, so when I have questions they are usually pretty specific! It is just several unis say they have different criteria for mature students and to contact the admissions tutor if you are unsure.

TheCollieDog Tue 30-Oct-12 14:39:59

Good luck! I hope you get useful answers. As I said, I really enjoy teaching mature age students. A couple of my current PhD supervisees are "mature" and boy, can they work and think! It's great.

purplepenguin86 Tue 30-Oct-12 18:16:46

Thanks Collie. What subject do you teach?

purplepenguin86 Tue 30-Oct-12 23:29:51

Another question - one of the places I want to email (Kent) has absolutely no names or email addresses for admission tutors, just a general admissions address for the whole uni. What do I do in this case? Would I email them asking for details of the relevant person, or do I just ask them, and how do I address them when there's no name anywhere?

BlueyDragon Tue 30-Oct-12 23:39:53

For letter writing, if you start "Dear Dr Lastname" the correct sign off is "Yours Sincerely". I would think if you use "Dear Firstname Lastname" that would still be correct.

For a general email enquiries address I would use "Dear Sir or Madam" and the sign off is "Yours Faithfully".

Yes it is very formal but preferable (to me, anyway) to start formal and then respond appropriately to whatever tone you get back - so if the response begins "Hi there" and signs off "Best wishes, Firstname" you can use similar informality.

I was listening in my English lessons after all!

Cahoots Tue 30-Oct-12 23:43:32

Having had to write dozens of emails to Uni Admissions departments deducationally usual educational history I know that it's often difficult to find out actual names or titles of Admissions staff. I ended up addressing a lot of Emails with Dear Admissions. I tried to make up for it by being extra polite.
I quickly gave up phoning when I realised I was regularly being given incorrect or conflicting advice. I got everything in writing.

Cahoots Tue 30-Oct-12 23:44:09

Having had to write dozens of emails to Uni Admissions departments due to DD's unusual educational history I know that it's often difficult to find out actual names or titles of Admissions staff. I ended up addressing a lot of Emails with Dear Admissions. I tried to make up for it by being extra polite.
I quickly gave up phoning when I realised I was regularly being given incorrect or conflicting advice. I got everything in writing.

helpyourself Tue 30-Oct-12 23:54:28

If you end with
Yours sincerely or faithfully there's no capital letter on the 'sincerely' or 'faithfully'.

Parietal Tue 30-Oct-12 23:55:45

I've recently been an admissions tutor at a Russell gp uni.

Start the email with Dear Prof Lastname or Dear Dr Lastname if you can find a name. Go with Prof if you aren't sure of title. If you can't find a name, Dear admissions tutor would be fine.

Try to ask concise questions that are answerable. "how do I get in to uni." is too vague. Saying - "I have xx yy and zz qualifications, would you consider me for the course? If not, are there other qualifications you'd recommend" is better

Remember admissions tutors want to help, especially mature students & those from unusual backgrounds. But we are normally busy with other roles too.

If you'd rather speak to someone, you could give a phone no in your email & ask for a callback.

Good luck

drcrab Wed 31-Oct-12 02:29:50

Purple penguin - there are admission tutors within departments at kent - if you go directly to the dept webpage they tend to list them by name.

fussychica Wed 31-Oct-12 13:44:31

Gosh think DS wrote using first names and signed off regards.

He had to write to every uni he was interested in due to his Spanish education. We were actually quite shocked at the lack of knowledge of educational equivalents at some places even though they claim to have specialist international offices. Others were really helpful and able to give an immediate response. These initial contacts certainly put him off applying to one place, in particular. I was surprised that each uni had a different response to what would equate to their standard UK offer eg AAB at one uni would require a 7.5 at Bachillerato whereas another might want a 9.

purplepenguin86 Wed 31-Oct-12 16:09:41

drcrab - I was looking at the psychology department but I've not managed top find anything yet, they are just giving the general admissions address.

Sorry, I do know not to capitalise faithfully and sincerely and how to use them correctly etc, just wasn't thinking when I wrote the OP!

Parietal, thanks for your post, it was particularly useful as many of the unis I'm looking at are Russell Group. It is about particular qualifications etc that I want to ask rather than general questions

LondonMother Wed 31-Oct-12 16:14:15

Having had a quick squizz at the Kent Psychology website, I'd try this email address: and ask if it could be forwarded to the right person. Good luck!

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