Decision Notification Status Update Email
  • 25 Mar 2024
  • 5 minute read
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Decision Notification Status Update Email

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  • PDF

Article Summary

The Decision notification status update email is used to automatically notify applicants when a new decision letter is available for viewing on the applicant status page. The email will include a link to the applicant status page, where their decision letter will be available for viewing. The email should also include brief instructions on accessing and viewing the decision letter.

Best Practice

The status update email should be short and to the point. There is no need to clutter the status update email with information such as PIN or password instructions. Applicants who have forgotten their passwords can select the self-service password reset link once on their status portal login page.

Creating the Email

  1. Select Deliver on the top navigation bar.

  2. Select New Mailing.

  3. Enter the following Deliver configurations in the dialog box:

    • Name: Give the mailing a clear title, like "Decision Notification Email." 

    • Key: Leave this blank. This field automatically populates based on the Template selection below.

    • Folder: Important: Select the System folder.

    • Template: Select /apply/ Decision Notification.

    • User (optional): Select a user.

    • Method: Select Email.

    • UTM Tracking: Set to Disabled.

  4. Select Save.

  5. Select Edit Message and set up the content and delivery instructions for the automatic decision notification email:

    • Email: Remember to include the email merge field in the recipient field.

    • Link: Include the link merge field in the message. When the message is sent, this field will have the specific link to the applicant’s status page. 

Click the Slate Scholar Lightbulb    in the top left corner for a complete listing of all setting descriptions.

You can create a single generic decision notification email that can be used for all applicant types or multiple versions of this email that are more specific based on the round. To create round-specific versions of this email, select the decision notification template that includes the proper round key. For example: /apply/EA/Decision Notification

Remember that this message will be sent to an applicant with any released decision with an assigned letter (such as admit, deny, or waitlist). Therefore, the status update subject line and message should not include specific decision information. That information should be conveyed solely in the decision letter.

When Does a Status Update Email Send?

This notification will be delivered to applicants when ALL of the following conditions are met:

  1. The decision has been confirmed.

  2. The decision has been released.

  3. The decision was released in the past 24 hours.

  4. The decision release date has passed (that is, the decision release date is no longer in the future).

  5. The decision release date occurred at least 15 minutes ago. (This is to provide a short window of opportunity to unrelease a decision before an email is sent.)

  6. The decision is associated with a letter or a custom letter upload.

  7. The effective date of the associated decision letter template is the same as the decision release date or a date in the past (that is, the effective date is not in the future).

  8. The decision is for an application in an active period.

  9. The decision has yet to be viewed or marked as received.

  10. The applicant has an email address.

  11. A decision notification has yet to be sent to the person within the past 24 hours.

Best Practices & Recommendations

To help ensure a successful decision launch, observe the following best practice guidelines and recommendations:

  • Do not include any reference to a specific program or decision in the email notification. This email is intended to be generic and should use phrasing such as "There has been an update to your application."  This provides some coverage should a decision need to be removed for any reason or a change needs to be made to a decision.

  • Only one notification email will be sent to a recipient in a 24-hour period. This allows the safe release of financial aid award letters simultaneously as admit letters, and the person will only receive a single email.

  • The emails will only be sent if the person has yet to view their letter, so people may view their decisions before the mailing runs and will thus not receive the email. This is intentional and by design, since people don't need to be reminded of an update to their application if they have already viewed that update.

  • Choose an appropriate From address for these communications. Since the email will go to those admitted and those denied, the email inbox name should be appropriate for handling some diversity of replies.

  • Notification emails will be sent for decisions and correspondence/letter-type decisions (for example, financial aid letters), so the verbiage in this update notification should be appropriate for both letters.

Never send a preliminary decision notification by email. An email notification that an update is available in their application status portal is fine, but any email communication of the preliminary decision is problematic for a variety of reasons:

  • Emails may be routed to a junk mail folder, which is not wanted for a congratulatory admit letter. 

  • Emails are not secure. Emails are not encrypted and are unprotected on most mobile devices. For a sensitive part of the admission process, this should be communicated through a secure portal.

  • Emails are intrusive. An applicant cannot prepare or plan for viewing their decision when it is sent by email. When this email arrives, the applicant may be in a public space (such as a classroom). Many educators find email communications regarding decisions to be extremely disruptive to their classes.

  • Emails will be rendered differently across different devices (mobiles phones will render emails completely differently than a webmail client) and across email clients (messages in Outlook will appear differently than messages in Gmail).

  • Emails do not support video, animation, or other interactive content.

  • Emails do not provide single sign-on to reply forms and enrollment deposit links, so it requires an additional step to confirm enrollment.

Online decision letters, on the other hand, offer many advantages over email. These advantages include:

  • Online letters are fully testable.

  • Online letters go through a multi-stage release process, including confirmation, letter assignment, and release. These stages are designed to minimize the potential for any human error along the way.

  • Online letters can be recalled if necessary. Emails cannot be recalled.

  • Online letters are marked as "received" when viewed by the applicant. Emails may or may not be recorded as "opened".

🔔 Important

While we strongly advise against using email for the first communication of an admissions decision, follow-up communications after a decision release through online letters are acceptable, provided that appropriate due diligence is exercised to ensure that the email is sent to the precise and correct population.

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