Grammar Do’s and Don’ts

When you communicate with a college, whether by formal application or emailed correspondence, you are adding to a picture of yourself. Think of each step as part of a job application. While you know it is essential that your application and essay portray you in the best light possible, email inquiries are important too. Naturally, you want to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons. Here is a reminder of some tips to keep in mind every time you communicate with the colleges you are interested in:


  • Use proper English, including full sentences.
  • Punctuate appropriately! Avoid overuse of exclamation points.
  • Check your grammar.
  • Have a friend or family member proofread for you. Spell check cannot tell the difference between too and two.
  • Treat even casual contact (email) in a formal manner.


  • Abbreviate unnecessarily.
  • Use acronyms when you can spell things out.
  • Forget to capitalize at the beginning of sentences and capitalize proper nouns.
  • Use run-on sentences that lack clarity.
  • Use slang or jargon.
  • Assume familiarity with your contact at a college or university. “Hey” is not a proper salutation.

In this day and age of rapidly accelerating communication there are instances when casual text and email messages are appropriate, but communicating with a college is not one of them. You can make it clear that you care about the college or university you are applying to by showing that you’ve taken care with each and every communication with them. Taking just a little time to double-check your work before you send it on will pay dividends in the long run.

Contact us for more advice and guidance about college planning.

Photo courtesy of Andy N.

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