Back when it was my first semester of college, I learned a valuable lesson. A lesson I have come to realize not many college students have learned is how to send a proper email to your professor. This also goes with any authority figure like your boss or a potential employer. Many don’t include important information or they make the email informal. This is not the way to go when you are trying to sound professional.
Here are a few things to remember when sending an email:
Keep your email professional!
Don’t treat the email the way you would talk to your friend. When emailing an authority figure you want to give the best impression! Be polite and respectful, this will help give whoever is receiving your email the best impression of you.
You want to begin your email by addressing your professor by title and name. An example would be “Dear Dr. Smith.” If they go by “Professor” then call them that.
End the email with your name / signature. It is important that you don’t forget to tell them who is emailing. I have heard professors say that students have emailed them and forgotten to mention their name. They can’t respond if they don’t know who they are emailing.
Keep your email clear and concise!
Make your email easy to understand. If they can’t figure out what you are trying to say or ask you might not get the answers or response you need.
Don’t forget to mention what class you are from! Most professors have many classes they teach, so they are going to have a harder time remembering which students are from which class. Include the title of the course and time or the course number.
Check your spelling and grammar before you send!
I am guilty of this as well. You never want to just send the email without looking it over for misspellings or grammar mistakes. This will not go over well with your professors.
Never leave the subject box empty!
You always want to include what the email is about in a few words. If you were sending an email about trying to find a time to meet the professor you could say “Appointment Possibilities.”
Do not waste their time!
Your professors have other classes to teach as well as other responsibilities. You do not want to send ask questions that you can answer for yourself. Make sure you honestly can’t find the answer yourself before contacting your professor. If you can’t find the answer then you ask. Don’t forget they have office hours for a reason.
Do not make demands!
If you need something then request it, do not make demands. Make sure you give them enough time to respond to you. It is important to always be respectful and polite. Make sure that you are not emailing them about something that you could use their office hours for. If you are looking for more tips on how to send a proper email check out:
Emailing a professor should be straightforward. You send emails all the time! But emailing a professor is different from email a friend or family member. Professional email etiquette is not something that is often taught which makes sending that first email all the more stressful.
My name is Stephanie Wenger and I am the Marketing Intern for the Department of Housing and Residential Programs. I am an English BA major with a minor in History.