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Email is an effective way for many people to communicate with each other, and students and teachers are just two of the groups that can use this communication method to their advantage. Different students might need to coordinate their schedules for a group project outside of class, and teachers may need to get in touch with students about particular things on an assignment that they need to grade.
Whatever the case, some schools give out email accounts for each student to use during their tenure there. You may find this to be common at the college or university level, but many secondary schools below that will do it, too. These school email accounts tie into the server the school uses.
With all that in mind, some students who have emails like these may wonder if their school of choice even allows them to use their accounts for more personal exchanges of information. We will go over the nuances of this topic in today’s article. Further, we will talk about whether schools might monitor your email account, how they might do it, and what sorts of traffic they may see if they choose to take a look.
We can also discuss the perceived optics of using a school email for personal things, such as how professional it might look, and we will go over what happens to that email when you are no longer affiliated with the school in some way.
Generally, there might be nothing wrong with using your school email for personal things. This can depend on several factors, however. Some schools may restrict the use of such accounts to only cover data that pertains to academic matters.
The nature of what is personal can vary from one definition to the next, and it may be too ambiguous for the school to bother doing this, though.
On a related note, some schools may not care that you use your email for both. Given that a larger institution may be dealing with hundreds or even thousands of students, the department that deals with such traffic may not have the time or resources to sort through all of it.
However, while you can use your school email for personal things, that doesn’t mean that you should by default. Depending on what kinds of emails are going in or out, what information they might contain, and where they come from, a school might restrict which kinds of data can move across its servers.
This can make it tricky to get some of the information you might want, and some of the personal matters to which you attend might be important or time-sensitive.
Additionally, what is personal to you could also include professional ventures that the school may not consider to be in the best interest of academia.
While you may think these things are good for your own growth, this whole category represents something that the school may think falls outside of the narrow terms and conditions by which you can use their email server.
We would recommend that most students use school email accounts only for communications that relate to school matters directly. If you ever have any doubts, it is probably best to find a different email or communication method that you can use.
Yes, in a way, schools may monitor the activity coming from your academic email account. The most common setup for this allows the school to see some of the traffic that comes across its server directly.
For example, they can see some information about when you send or receive messages, and they should be able to see some basic data about the origins of messages that come to you.
Within their own email server, they may see data such as a search term that you use to find specific information in your inbox. This query should not be something the email server holds onto, though, and it would not be something anyone working at the school would consider essential information, either.
If you are using the school’s internet network to get your device online in general, they may have access to more data from your traffic than if you’re just using the email client by itself. This is necessary in order to access websites and network files through their Wi-Fi, but it also exposes a greater amount of your network activity.
Conversely, if you just access the email that the school gives you using an app, but you log into it from a different network, the school should not have a history of searches, websites visited, and other information.
Most of the monitoring that a school does for email accounts that it gives to students is fairly passive. The relevant departments are not there looking for anything particularly suspicious, although they may have experts who are supposed to keep an eye out for some types of activity.
Per school rules, the institution may prohibit certain things its students can do online. We mentioned one possible choice when it comes to using your school email for anything that the college might consider personal.
However, in the interest of safety, some schools will also block access to certain websites, or they may log certain search terms that a student repeats. If a student makes continued efforts to access content that the school blocked, there could be some issues.
It may be hard for you to get a clear consensus on whether it is unprofessional to use a school email. In most cases, you will probably find that it depends on the situation.
For anything related to academic studies, a school certainly expects current students to make use of the email accounts it provides, along with the servers that help them get online. Similarly, you will probably notice that most academic professionals working at a school have a school email address with a .edu domain ending.
It is not uncommon for professionals in this field to use their school email address for all kinds of business communications. Much of what they do will have some connection to academia, and that includes most of the professional matters in which they take part.
However, some companies, groups, or individuals may see using a school email outside this context as less professional than getting a different domain.
School emails outside of academically professional roles are the province of students, and those who graduate from their institutions might find that there is some expectation of having a different email for their business.
This is a separate but related issue to using your email for business or personal purposes while you are still in school, but it can still be something that many consider to be a lack of professionalism.
Mostly, we recommend that alumni students no longer involved in academia get a different email address to use for their other endeavors.
This section relates to the previous one, and it helps us to further illustrate why it is a good idea to use email domains other than the one that your school provides to you. Sometimes, a school may shut down or suspend your email account shortly after you complete your studies.
For others, you may find that the institution keeps this account open for a couple of years after your date of graduation. In either scenario, the likelihood is still high that you will lose access to the account at some point.
Part of this change in access may be a security measure that the school sets up for itself. It is also not uncommon for schools to re-assign email addresses that contain at least part of a student’s own name or student id.
In order to prevent the servers from keeping inactive email accounts that former students control or ignore, the school might set a specific date for account expiration.
After this date, the email goes back into the pool of available addresses. That way, a student who may have a similar name might be able to make use of the account in the future, preventing the client from handing out longer, needlessly complex emails via an algorithm.
This is also why, it’s important to keep your important information on a separate email. So when you graduate, you still have access to it and have no need to transfer it over from your student email .
The precise steps for transferring your school account data to a personal one can vary. It is a good idea to check for the proper procedure by visiting your own school’s website and looking at this search query.
However, many institutions implement ways of transferring this data that are similar across the board. Here are a few guidelines we can offer that may work for you:
1. Log into your school account first. Once there, you can look for something called ’Transfer Your Content’.
2. Your school may have something different set up, but it is common to work with Google Takeout in order to back up or transfer data from one account to another.
3. Click on the appropriate link, then you can follow the steps to start the transfer process.
4. You may need to get a code from your school that you will have to verify before you can start copying things over.
5. It is common to transfer emails, documents on the email server, and certain files in Drive over to a personal account, especially if it is between two Google accounts.
6. Depending on how much data you need to copy, the process can take hours or days, so you should prepare for a wait of some length.
It’s best to transfer your stuff before you lose access to your student email. otherwise, once you lose access to that email, there’s a good chance whatever you have on there has been deleted and put back into the list of emails to be re-assign to new students.
School email accounts are excellent resources for incoming students. They are free, provided for school use, and make it easy to get right to work navigating some of the intricacies of school life. However, they may not be the best option for personal or business matters outside of academia. Your school can monitor or restrict some of this traffic, so it is best to go with a different account for anything that doesn’t tie into your work at the school.