One of the questions I received at a talk I gave on important technology skills to have before college was about email organization strategies and how to keep up with email. It’s important to know how to keep email organized, especially in college, and I have developed my own tips to organize college email and use the best email folder system. Here is how I organize emails in college and how to keep up with email from professors and other university communication.
How I access my college email
I have my college email account connected to the Mail app on my iPad, which I check several times a day. I don’t like to have my college email on my phone because I find it easier to type responses on my iPad, though I have been known to pull up my email inbox in my web browser so that I can send short messages or check where something is located. In addition, I have my email connected to Microsoft Outlook on my computer, which I use since my college gives all students access to Microsoft Office for free.
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Organizing email into folders
One of the most helpful things I ever did was sit down and start organizing my email into folders so that I don’t lose information. Over time, I was able to find the best email folder system for my needs, and I can easily reference emails or find messages quickly. Since my professors send a lot of information by email, having folders for each class has been super helpful.
Examples of email folders I have include:
- Folders for each class with the professor name, e.g “English 101 Reid”
- Folders for each semester that I move class folders into at the end of the semester, e.g “Fall 2019”
- An entire folder for receipts, software keys, and account activation information- very important as a data science major!
- A folder for interesting articles my professors send me, or study guides
- Other relevant campus information, such as events coming up or new things I want to check out
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Set up email forwarding
My friend was telling me about how they always would miss emails because they didn’t like to check their college email account very often. One of the things that helps them organize college email and keep track of messages to reply to later is having email forwarding set up so that emails are automatically sent to their personal email. Professors still require students to respond to emails through their college email address, but this has been helpful for my friend in staying on top of emails.
Email forwarding can be set up within the email app by clicking the settings button, followed by “view all options”, and then by going to the section labeled “forwarding.”
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Use Immersive Reader for Outlook to make emails easier to read
One of the most helpful tools that helps me read college emails is the Immersive Reader built in to Outlook. My love for Immersive Reader is no secret, as I use it in other Microsoft applications as well, but I especially appreciate being able to listen to my emails or have them enlarged in a format that I can easily read. Users can right click on an email and select the “Show in Immersive Reader” option to open the tool.
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Learn to identify phishing and scam emails
I get at least one phishing or scam email to my college email address per week, even during the summer. Knowing how to identify these types of emails and how to report them to the campus IT or security department is an incredibly important skill, as users can have their accounts compromised if they interact with these emails. Whenever I receive a weird email, I forward it to the designated phishing report email for my college and they confirm whether it is phishing or a scam.
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Make sure you are signed up for important notifications
One time, my brother had no idea that part of campus had been shut down because he wasn’t signed up for emergency alerts from our college. While users can get alerts to their phones by phone call and text, the email alerts often contain extended information about what to do or important phone numbers. I highly recommend ensuring that users are signed up for important notifications at all email addresses before an emergency happens.
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I spend a lot of time checking my college email, though I have found that these email organization strategies have helped me learn how to keep track of my messages and ensure that no message accidentally gets sent to the void or is accidentally overlooked. I hope these tips for how I organize email in college are helpful!