I got accepted for graduate school(MS program) at my top choice (got accepted in few other as well). I have not visited the campus yet (its top 3 program in US, so i just applied). The school will be out of state for me so it will be expensive.

During the application it said that if i applied before a certain date, i would be considered for funding (i did apply before the date). But i have read the acceptance letter and even browsed around and it states nothing about any assistance offered. So, i want to email the coordinator (who emailed me my acceptance letter), asking him if i got any funding. Is it ok to ask for this and any tips on not to come off as arrogant/rude? Essentially, what i want to achieve from the email is:

  • Thank you for considering me for application.
  • Have i qualified for any fellowship/assitanship
  • I would like to visit the campus so i can meet staff and see if i will fit in. I have checked the website and cannot find any event, that is why i am asking this in email. Currently, I am working and can afford to go there and stay in a hotel but it would be nice if they reimburse something.

How to ask for the last two parts and is it common?

3 Answers 3


Two things here:

  1. It is never wrong to ask your question from the person at the university about something, which your are waiting for, or wanting to know. They are there to help you, in fact it is their job to do so.

  2. Never dance around the topic, ask what you want to know. This is because it will save your and the person time; and of course with clear a subject.

I would write the following:

Subject: Fellowship Outcome 

Dear <name of contact>, 

Could you please let me know if I did qualify for the applied fellowship? 
Also is there any available funding for me to come to the campus?

Kind Regards,
  • 1
    @ChrisWhite "Dear Sir or Madam" is the standard opening for a letter to an unknown recipient in British English, the American equivalent is "to whom it may concern".
    – Davidmh
    Feb 22, 2016 at 7:49
  • 3
    But if you know the name of the contact, you should never use "SIr or Madam", or "to whom it may concern". In fact, even if you don't know the name, position may still be preferable, eg "Dear Registrar" Feb 22, 2016 at 8:07
  • @ChrisWhite updated.
    – o-0
    Feb 22, 2016 at 12:10
  • @Davidmh That's what I thought! I always use Sir/Madam, and worked fine. Regardless, updated it.
    – o-0
    Feb 22, 2016 at 12:13

You can certainly ask all of the questions that you have above in a friendly, politely worded email. There isn't anything listed that would be considered entirely out of bounds for a prospective graduate student to ask.

There is one suggestion that you might want to consider. If you can afford the flight costs, you might want to ask the program if they are willing to cover your local costs—hotels, meals, and possibly local transportation—for your visit. If they can't, you might want to ask them if they could book the hotel for you. (Many schools have agreements with nearby hotels to provide accommodations at reduced rates.)


What's the issue with just asking? With the exception of things like contents of recommendation letters, etc, you have the right to know that kind of stuff (especially when concerning anything financial). They won't think of it as rude at all, and will give you one of three possible answers: "Yes", "No", or "I don't know [yet]".

Don't wait on asking any kind of important question. It will save you time and trouble, and being direct is the best way to keep a respectful relationship with anyone.

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