Helpful Hints-Postal Services - Carnegie Mellon University

Helpful Hints for Addressing Domestic and International Mail

Tips for students and parents when sending, tracking, and receiving packages.

There are over 9,000 students at Carnegie Mellon, and we get a lot of packages. To ensure ease of package delivery and pick-up, please keep the following things in mind:

1. Double check student name, SMC number, and the University Zip Code. Always be sure that the name is spelled correctly and is in agreement with what might appear on a student ID card. Also be sure to check the SMC—that’s Student Mail Code—number for the receiving student. We wouldn’t want to refuse a package to the right student or give a package to the wrong student!

2. The Carnegie Mellon University Post Office is in Pittsburgh, but not all Pittsburgh Post Offices are the Carnegie Mellon University Post Office. If your package has a USPS tracking number on it—and not all packages do—it may be tracked to a Pittsburgh USPS office or station. However, this does not necessarily mean that it has been received at the Carnegie Mellon University Post Office. We will be sure to let the student know that their package has arrived the moment it has been received and checked in at our facilities. This is done through email with the subject line, “Package Notification from CMU Postal Services.” If your package does not have a tracking number, we are unable to track your package or verify that the specific package has arrived on our premises.

3. E-mail Problems? Technology is great, but only when used properly and respected. Our email notification system is operational. If you are having trouble with your email or are concerned about not having received a notification for an expected package, please let us know. The University provides Postal Services with the email assigned to the student as a first-year student and we send out an email for each package we receive. If you have changed your email from what was assigned to you upon entry at the university (, then we likely do not have the correct email address in our system. Please contact us as with any updated information.

4. Received more than one notification email? Let the person at the pick-up window know. We’ll be able to save everybody time and energy, including those in line behind you. And don’t forget to check your email! There are more computers on campus than students, so there should be ample opportunity to check!

5. Perishables: It’s great to be on the receiving end of a care package, but it’s not great if the contents have gone bad due to lack of refrigeration. Please note that we do not have the capacity to refrigerate packages. Steaks, seafood, fruit, flowers, and home-made treats are wonderful, but be sure to think before you click & ship!

6. Additional tips for mailing items:

  • Type or machine print all address information
  • Print clearly and sharply
  • Omit all punctuation such as periods and commas
  • Do not overlap address characters
  • Maintain a uniform left margin
  • Put either the foreign country (in all capital letters) or the city, state, and zip code on the bottom line
  • Use standard two letter state abbreviations

The following are the standard two letter state abbreviations:

AK Alaska   MT Montana
AL Alabama   NE Nebraska
AZ Arizona   NV Nevada
AR Arkansas   NH New Hampshire
CA California   NJ New Jersey
CO Colorado   NM New Mexico
CT Connecticut   NY New York
DE Delaware   NC North Carolina
DC District of Columbia   ND North Dakota
FL Florida   OH Ohio
GA Georgia   OK Oaklahoma
HI Hawaii   OR Oregon
ID Idaho   PA Pensylvania
IL Illinois   RI Rhose Island
IN Indiana   SC South Carolina
IA Iowa   SD South Dakota
KS Kansas   TN Tennessee
KY Kentucky   TX Texas
LA Louisiana   UT Utah
ME Maine   VT Vermont
MD Maryland   VA Virginia
MA Massachusetts   WA Washington (state)
MI Michigan   WV West Virginia
MN Minnesota   WI Wisconsin
MS Mississippi   WY Wyoming
MO Missouri      
For more information, please visit:
United States Postal Service -
USPS Zip Code Look Up -