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Questions about contacting universities via email watch

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    Hi!
    First of all I apologize if this is the wrong forum to post this, I wasn't quite sure which would be the correct one. I have a few questions that might seem irrelevant but I want to ask them anyway.

    So, I'm a student from Finland wanting to come to study in the UK. I've been looking into the schools I will apply to but before I complete my UCAS application I want to contact the schools and make sure I meet the entry requirements. Because I am taking a non-UK qualification the A levels requirements they list are not compatible with my grades.

    My problem is I'm not very familiar with the etiquette of writing a formal email in English as it is not my first language. I have no idea how to start and end the emails. As I am not contacting a specific person I cannot address any title or name. Which one would be more advisable, ”Dear Sir/Madam”or ”To Whomever It May Concern” or are neither appropriate? What about concluding a formal email? I remember being taught phrases like ”Sincerely Yours” and ”Yours Faithfully”,are either of these the correct one? Also, am I like supposed to introduce myself in the first paragraph? Is it enough to tell my name and why I'm contacting them?

    I sincerely just don't want to come across rude or anything like that. I'd really appreciate it if anyone could help me!
    • TSR Support Team
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    Most universities will have international qualification information somewhere on their website. Have you tried googling "university name international requirements". If you want to email the admissions tutor and you don't know their name, just say:

    Hello,

    Ask question here.

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    Universities will be used to receiving emails from potential international students with varying standards of English (yours is great, btw), and as it won't form any part of the application process you don't need to be formal. As long as you don't start with Yo! or a Whassup! you'll be fine. 'Hello' is perfectly acceptable in an email. You can finish with 'Regards'. Good luck!
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    (Original post by kahvikuppi)
    Hi!
    First of all I apologize if this is the wrong forum to post this, I wasn't quite sure which would be the correct one. I have a few questions that might seem irrelevant but I want to ask them anyway.

    So, I'm a student from Finland wanting to come to study in the UK. I've been looking into the schools I will apply to but before I complete my UCAS application I want to contact the schools and make sure I meet the entry requirements. Because I am taking a non-UK qualification the A levels requirements they list are not compatible with my grades.

    My problem is I'm not very familiar with the etiquette of writing a formal email in English as it is not my first language. I have no idea how to start and end the emails. As I am not contacting a specific person I cannot address any title or name. Which one would be more advisable, ”Dear Sir/Madam”or ”To Whomever It May Concern” or are neither appropriate? What about concluding a formal email? I remember being taught phrases like ”Sincerely Yours” and ”Yours Faithfully”,are either of these the correct one? Also, am I like supposed to introduce myself in the first paragraph? Is it enough to tell my name and why I'm contacting them?

    I sincerely just don't want to come across rude or anything like that. I'd really appreciate it if anyone could help me!
    'To whom it may concern' and 'Dear Sir / Madam' are both fine. Just don't write 'Dear Sir' - there's nothing worse than someone assuming that you're male (especially when most staff in these roles are female!)

    You should use 'Yours faithfully' if you don't know the name of the recipient (as is the case here) and 'Yours sincerely' when you do know the name of the person you're writing to.

    Ensure that you include
    - your name
    - which qualifications you're studying
    - the grades you have already achieved
    - your predicted grades
    - what subject you wish to apply for
    - that you want to know whether or not your grades would be considered suitable for admission to that degree programme.

    Note that the reply will never contain a guarantee of an offer, or an outright rejection - you will need to read between the lines and understand the meaning of 'the information you have supplied in your email suggests that you would be able to make a competitive application' vs 'while we are unable to give a final decision at this stage, you should note that in the past successful Finnish applicants for this programme have achieved grades in the region of [grades which are much higher than yours]'
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    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    You should use 'Yours faithfully' if you don't know the name of the recipient (as is the case here) and 'Yours sincerely' when you do know the name of the person you're writing to.
    I have never used these when e-mailing universities, or anybody else for that matter. And nobody has ever used them when e-mailing me. They're rather formal and out-dated. I probably would only use them if I were e-mailing someone about a job.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    I have never used these when e-mailing universities, or anybody else for that matter. And nobody has ever used them when e-mailing me. They're rather formal and out-dated. I probably would only use them if I were e-mailing someone about a job.
    People use a whole range of different levels of formality when emailing universities, but there's nothing wrong with using a bit of formality in these situations (and hey, you never know who's going to be on the other end of the email - it might be someone who doesn't care too much, or it might be someone a bit more old school).
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    Thank you all so much! I appreciate the help

    (Original post by Snufkin)
    Most universities will have international qualification information somewhere on their website. Have you tried googling "university name international requirements".
    I've done my research. Unis have those international qualifications listings but the Finnish matriculation examination (the qualification I'm taking) is rarely listed. I suppose they just don't have that many Finnish applicants they'd consider it worth mentioning. I wish they did. But thank you so much!

    (Original post by Duncan2012)
    Universities will be used to receiving emails from potential international students with varying standards of English (yours is great, btw), and as it won't form any part of the application process you don't need to be formal. As long as you don't start with Yo! or a Whassup! you'll be fine. 'Hello' is perfectly acceptable in an email. You can finish with 'Regards'. Good luck!
    I know it doesn't really have any significance on my application but I suffer from anxiety and I'm stupidly nervous about these kinda things. I feel at ease now after having someone assure me it's not a big deal

    (Original post by Origami Bullets)
    Note that the reply will never contain a guarantee of an offer, or an outright rejection -
    Yes, I just want to ask to have some sort of a guideline whether the course is my level, you know. Thanks for your thorough list!
 
 
 
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