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How to Craft an Incomplete Application Email: A Guide for Effective Communication

One of the best features when you have an automated online registration software is that you will see more completed applications. Furthermore, you will get payments faster and on time than you will with paper applications, phone applicants, or any other type of application process for that matter.

Although you will see quicker and more completed applications, it doesn’t always mean that each applicant will complete their application in one shot. So while the process is easier, it doesn’t remove the step of reminding applicants to finish up their application or make a payment. That’s where a good incomplete application email comes in.

Crafting an incomplete application email is a crucial task for many organizations, including educational institutions, financial institutions, and businesses that handle various application processes. Thankfully, with great online registration software, you can easily program your system to communicate with applicants without you lifting a finger.

When a user hasn’t completed a section of their application or when a payment is outstanding, having a triggered incomplete application email can be a great asset to gently encourage the applicant to complete what they are missing.

These emails can help correct problems in your application process and ensure that all necessary information is provided within limited circumstances. By doing so, you can streamline the review process and keep the application status updated, ultimately leading to more successful and timely completions.

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Understanding Incomplete Applications

An incomplete application refers to any application that lacks the necessary information or documents required to process or make a decision on the application.

Key Elements of an Incomplete Application:

What Makes a Good Incomplete Application Email?

The key to this message is including certain information that is easy to find and understand, so the applicant knows exactly what is expected of them.

Personalize the Email

Having an automated online registration software makes this simple. People like to read an email written specifically to them and are more likely to read it if it’s addressed to them. People tend to skim and sometimes completely skip emails that look like a bulk message. By filling in the blanks of the email with specific information, like their name, specific balance or forms they are missing they will be more likely to complete the application.

Having a List of What They Have and Haven’t Completed

This helps the reader get an idea of how much they need to complete and the investment of time they might have to make once they click on the link.

Making each item a link is also super convenient for the applicant. They can click directly on the form they need to complete and go from there, so they don’t have to search once they login what exact forms you were talking about.

Making sure the system presents the completed items in green and the incomplete in red is even more helpful. As we’ve mentioned, people tend to skim emails so color coding the most important part of the message, what they have and still need to complete, will help them focus on each action item.

Give Several Options to Go to Their Application

Many people, even if it’s addressed to them, will still skim the email so giving the link and repeating the action you’d like (go to their dashboard and finish!) is helpful. Also including the email they logged in with will help them to log in faster. This is an easy line of information to include if these messages are automated.

Elements of an Incomplete Application Email

When drafting an incomplete application email, clarity, politeness, and thoroughness are key. Here’s how to structure your email:

Example of a Good Incomplete Application Email


What Does a Bad Incomplete Application Email Look Like?

Even though you already know what a good email looks like, take those skills and see how the email below is considered “bad”.

Dear Applicant,

We are writing to let you know you have yet to complete your application.


The Project Team

Why is this email bad?


An incomplete application email is more than just a notification; it’s an integral part of your institution’s communication strategy. It should be crafted to encourage a response and completion of the application process, maintaining a tone that is both professional and supportive. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can ensure that your emails are clear, informative, and effective in getting the necessary responses from applicants.

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