Don’t Let “Text Type” Take Over Your Writing

Text Type

Last week I traveled to Southern California to visit with family and friends. While there, I ran into some of my high school friends who now have children in high school themselves. These friends did not have the opportunity to go to college themselves, so they had a lot of questions about the college admissions process. Instead of telling the parents everything, I gave them my business card and told them that their students could call or email me with their questions.

A few days after running into my friends, I received the following email from one of the students:

so my mom gave me your card and told me to email you.
i want to go to colege what should i do. thx for your help.

Do you see any problems with this email? I do.

  • No capitalization.
  • Misspelled word.
  • Run-on sentence.
  • Assumed I knew what he wanted.
  • Wrong punctuation.
  • Abbreviation/Text-type used for the word thanks.

I forgot to mention that the student also did not include his name and he had a questionable email address.

Some would say that the above email was very informal because the student knows me. I actually don’t know him. Others would say it was informal because the student knew nothing was at stake while emailing me. That may be true, but would it surprise you that I used to receive emails like this from students when I worked in admissions at a few different universities?

Like it or not, every interaction that you have with the Admissions Office at colleges you are considering can make a lasting impression. I started working in higher education about ten years ago and I still remember some of my first in-person interactions, emails and admissions essays – the good and the bad. As the one making the decision on admissions applications, some of those impressions came into play when making a decision on an application.

I know that many of us have become lazy in the age of texting. However, that is not an excuse to write informal and grammatically incorrect messages to anyone. Start today changing your writing habits. You never know who may be reading your message and the influence they may have in the future.

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