Decision Notification Status Update Email

Use the Deliver module to create an email campaign that will automatically notify an applicant when there is a new decision letter to view on the applicant status 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 name, 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.


Decision notification emails can be customized for certain application rounds only. When picking the template, 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 type of released decision that has 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.

  Best Practice

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

When Does a Status Update Email Send?

This notification will be delivered to applicants when ALL of the following conditions are met:
The decision has been confirmed. 
The decision has been released. 
The decision was released within the past 24 hours. 
The decision release date has passed (that is, the decision release date no longer in the future). 
The decision release date occurred at least 15 minutes ago. (This is to provide a short window of opportunity to unrelease a decision prior to an email being sent.) 
The decision is associated with a letter or a custom letter upload. 
The decision is for an application in an active period. 
The decision has not yet been viewed or marked as received. 
The applicant has an email address. 
A decision notification has not been sent to the person within the past 24 hours.

Best Practices & Recommendations

In order 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 within a 24-hour period. This allows safe release of financial aid award letters at the same time as admit letters, and the person will only receive a single email.
  • The emails will only be sent if the person has not yet viewed his or her letter, so there may be people who 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 that there has been 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 who are admitted and those who are denied, the email inbox name should be appropriate for handling some diversity of replies.
  • Notification emails will be sent for decisions as well as correspondence/letter-type decisions (for example, financial aid letters), so the verbiage in this update notification should be appropriate for both types of 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. The applicant may be in a public space (such as a classroom) when this email arrives. 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".


While we strongly, strongly advise against using email for the first communication of an admissions decision, follow-up communications after a decision release through online letters is acceptable, provided that appropriate due diligence is exercised to ensure that the  email is sending to the precise and correct population.
Was this article helpful?
16 out of 17 found this helpful