The Ivy Coach Daily

July 27, 2023

Haven’t Received Your College Decision Email Yet? Check Your Spam Folder.

College Applicants Should Check Their Spam Folders
College applicants should always check their spam folders.

Previously Published on July 7, 2019:

A few years ago, some headlines ran in major publications that suggested it was important to respond to mass emails sent out by colleges to demonstrate interest. The headlines, unsurprisingly, were misleading as it does not benefit applicants to America’s highly selective universities to reply to mass emails.

It’s Fine to Send Mass Emails from Colleges to Spam

Maybe it helps at schools in desperate search of students — but it certainly doesn’t help at schools that deny many more applicants than they accept. At the highly selective schools, the majority of which indeed measure Demonstrated Interest, responding to mass emails would certainly not qualify as a means of demonstrating interest.

Just think about it. Imagine replying to every mass email sent by Costco: “Thank you for all of the fantastic information about your Gala apples. They look delicious. I appreciate all that you do in selling great apples, Costco.” That person is going to look ridiculous.

But on the subject of receiving emails from America’s elite colleges, we at Ivy Coach thought we’d share a story with our readers. So gather ’round as we have a tale to tell — one with a valuable lesson.

But Monitor Your Spam Folder for Important Emails from Colleges

Once upon a time, we had a student applying as a transfer student. All the colleges she applied to were much more selective than her then-current institution, and many, she knew, were likely out of reach. But we were ok with her submitting applications to many reach schools because there were also schools on her transfer list that were more reasonable. And, in the transfer process, it’s not uncommon for students to sometimes get into a tippy-top school while not getting into a school lower down the list. It’s not uncommon for students to go 4/20 and earn admission to Yale or UPenn, Brown, or Duke.

Yet when our student’s decisions started coming in, and they were all rejections, we began to get nervous. And we rarely get nervous in the college admissions process — even when a student doesn’t earn admission in the Early round of admissions — because we know it always works out. Even still, we were getting nervous. Did a professor write something in a letter of recommendation that’s hurting the student’s case? We lost sleep. 

And then we got the email: “Oops, I forgot to check my spam. There were two acceptances in there. Sorry!” And, sure enough, the acceptances were from two of our nation’s most selective universities.

So what’s the lesson? When applying for college admission, it’s unnecessary to respond to mass emails from colleges that you can file away in your spam folder. However, always check your spam folder because there might be a critical email from a college of your dreams. It will save the people who care about you lost sleep, if nothing else.

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