Because the way you communicate with your teachers is very important, since it tells a lot about the kind of student you are, and because most professors have gone electronic (just like everyone else), here are a few very helpful etiquette tips for emailing your professor. You should know that most teachers have certain expectations for the emails they receive from their students, which is why you should use a respectful, professional and proper tone. Here are a few very important etiquette tips for emailing your professor that you should consider:
1. Email is Forever
Just keep in mind that email is forever, so once you hit the send button, you can’t get it back. Once your professor has it, they own in and sometimes, they can even forward it onto their colleagues for a good laugh. Use correct grammar and keep the emoticons for your friends. This is one of the most important tips for emailing your professor that you should consider.
2. Be Respectful
Always be respectful when you are emailing your professor or your teaching assistant because you are usually asking for something, so it’s pretty much in your best interest to be polite. Just remember: if you can’t say anything nice, then say nothing at all, and don’t even think about putting it in writing. Use salutations and appropriate titles. Also, use your academic account and forget about your email address from high school, since most professors might not open mail sent from email@example.com.
3. Be Concise
Try to be concise and only ask questions that you can’t answer yourself. Read the syllabus because quite often, a lot of the questions you would like to ask have already been answered in the material your professor or teaching assistant has provided at the beginning of the class.
4. Include a Meaningful Subject Line
Try to put a brief explanation of the nature of your email in the subject line and never include demands like “urgent request” or “immediate response needed.” Even though you should use this piece of advice for your everyday emails, this aspect is very important when you are attempting to communicate with someone whose day is busy enough as it is.
5. Always Use a Greeting
When you’re emailing your professor, don’t begin with “Hey,” “Hi” or any other colloquialisms. Most of the people teaching your classes have doctorates, so use their academic title. Don’t use the professor’s first name unless you’ve been explicitly invited to do so, otherwise is quite impolite.
6. Sign Offs and Signatures Count
Always end your email by thanking your professor for his or her time and close with “Best wishes” or “Regards.” Always sign with your entire real name and you could even include your student ID number. Also, try to include your course and section information below your name so you save them from having to figure out what course and section you are talking about.
7. Read It over
Once you’ve finished writing the email, read it over so you can avoid any typos or grammar errors. If you don’t have spell-check on your email, just copy that text and paste it into a word-processing program and run spell-check there. Try to be concise and strive for a polite tone.
Just keep in mind that to your professor, your emails reflect your intelligence and your professionalism, so pay attention to the way you communicate with them. Do you know any other etiquette tips for emailing your professor? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!