Sending well-drafted emails to your professors in college is such a crucial thing that I believe every student should be taught. It’s not like sending a text message to your best friend or even your parents. You’re sending an email to someone who is in charge of your GRADE and can make an instant judgment about you based on your writing skills in about three seconds. Imagine receiving an email like this:
“hi Mrs. Smith, so I missed class the yesterday cause I uh, slept in. Oops. is there any way that you could uh, maybe send me the work tht I missed? You’d seriously rock. I owe you one.”
Would you take an email like this seriously as a teacher?
In this post, I’ll break down the important aspects of sending a great professional email to your professors! Throughout this post, I’ll use an example of asking your professor a class based question!
Before You Send Your Email
Find Your Class Information
First off, if you’re wanting to email your professor, make sure you locate their correct email address. This can usually be found on your school’s website or syllabus. Next, you should probably email them through your student email with your college, as sending from other email address might cause your messages to end up in their spam folder or trash.
Clean Up Your Email Address
You should also make sure your email address is professional sounding. Most people use their name, middle initial, and last name in their email address. I think it looks the cleanest this way, and if possible, try to eliminate weird numbers or symbols in your email address. ClarkJSmith@email.com looks a lot cleaner and professional than Clark1234Smithfirstname.lastname@example.org.
Make Sure The Answer To Your Question Can’t Be Found Anywhere Else
Before you start typing out your email about your question, make sure to look over the assignment, your planner, and your syllabus one more time. I remember typing out an elaborate email to one of my professors and then realizing after I hit send that the information I needed was in bold letters on my syllabus. Talk about embarrassing, especially when they respond to your email with “Well did you look at the syllabus?” Professors are busy and a response back from them could take several hours or days! It never hurts to double check all your resources because you could save yourself a ton of time instead of having to wait for a response back.
While Writing Your Email
Use Correct Grammar/NO SLANG
Imagine writing an email to a teacher using texting language that you use with your best friend. I would be HORRIFIED if that email was sent to someone who is in control of my grade! If you’ve never met them face to face, a poorly written email with grammar mistakes and unprofessional slang is the easiest way to lose your credibility. What if they sent me a similar email? I certainly wouldn’t take them seriously! I suggest proofreading your email a few times before you hit that send button so you can catch any mistakes!
Address Them Correctly
I remember back in high school where you would just refer to your teacher as Mr. Or Mrs. (Last Name). Just one or the other. In college, it’s hard to know what title your professors go by if you don’t know if they have a doctorate or not. You don’t want to accidentally refer to a professor as “Dr.” if they actually haven’t gotten their doctorate. The best way to go about addressing your professor is to just refer to them as a professor.
“Hi Professor (Blank).”
This way you don’t have to figure out titles or other official jargon and you can move on to getting straight to the point with your message.
Introduce Who You Are/Class Info
Your Professor could have hundreds of other students, so it’s important you’re very specific when you introduce yourself by also including the class section and time in your email to them.
“Hello Professor (Their Name), my name is (full name) and I’m in your English 100 Class, Section 001 from 9-9:50 AM.”
With this information, you’re letting them know who you are, and what class you’re in so they can better identify you. By telling them the class section and time they can also easily find all that information for that class if you’re asking about homework assigned or anything you missed that day.
I’ve also learned that it’s helpful to include your student ID number in the email as well. I had a professor who taught classes with over 200 students in each lecture. There’s no way she knew every single one of them! If I sent her just my name, there’s a good chance she’d still have to do some digging to find out what class I was in. Including your student ID number helps them find you in the system way faster so that they can spend more time focusing on answering your email.
“Hello Professor (their name), my name is (full name) and I’m in your English 100 Class, Section 001 from 9-9:50 AM. My student ID number is 5555555.”
Ask Your Question Quickly
Your professors are very busy people; they don’t have a lot of time to read your multiple paragraph email. Just get straight to the point and ask your question immediately after your introduction.
“I have a question about the test we took last Friday in your section 001. I would like to know when we are getting our tests back, as I would like to look over it before our final in two weeks.”
Short, and sweet! I got to the point and asked my question in just two sentences and it was specific. I also included the section number of the class again so that they knew what class I was talking about.
Send Your Farewell
You’ve finally written out your email, now it’s time to end it! It’s as simple thanking them for their time or wishing them a great rest of their day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, as long you’re relaying that you appreciate the time they are dedicating to you to help solve your problem.
What are your tips to sending emails to your professors? Leave a comment below!