Points to keep in mind before sending an e-mail

I get a LOT of e-mail from prospective graduate students. It is nice that so many people are interested in studying here. What follows is a list of things to consider BEFORE sending an e-mail to me (or anyone else, for that matter).

Keep in mind the following points:

Above all, if you are sending an e-mail to faculty member you don't know, be sure it is professional, short, and specific (and that it is really necessary). I think all faculty members are nice people who want to be helpful, but who are also very pressed for time.

Ultimately, acceptance into graduate school is done by people examining your file. I have NEVER heard of someone being accepted into a program because of an e-mail that he/she sent. Computer Science departments like mine are blessed with many, many, good applicants every semester. We can only handle so many students at a time. If you apply, but do not get in, remember that not every deserving student is accepted. Keep a positive attitude.

Here is a related page on e-mail ettiquette, written primarily for undergraduate students.