Sending an Email to your Professor? Follow these five simple steps!

When emailing professors, I felt that I did not know how to address them, be professional, or make sure that my questions were clear…etc. I thought to myself that maybe others have felt the same way. Therefore, I decided to provide a guideline with five simple steps that will make this process easier.

Step 1: Make sure to use the proper salutation with the right honorific status of your professor.

Ex: “Dear Professor (blank),”

Do Not use salutations that are informal – ex) Hey Prof (blank)

* Remember to address your professors by their last name, and do not refer to them as Mr. or Ms. or Mrs….or as a professor if they are adjuncts. However, make sure you know how your Professor likes to be called and spell it out correctly.

Step 2: Describe the purpose of your email

Ex: “I had a question regarding…. or I would like to schedule an appointment with you outside of office hours.”

Do Not ask something that is already answered in the syllabus and make sure that you have gathered information to answer your question before asking your Professor.

* Remember to not add too much detail with your reason for emailing- get to the point.

Step 3: Provide your name. If your professor knows you provide them with details as to how they know you.

Ex: “My name is _____, from Honors 123…”

*Remember that if it’s your first time contacting the Professor make sure you are stating this and if you plan on enrolling let him or her know this as well.

Step 4: Remind your Professor of your request – Politely

Ex: “I would really appreciate it, if you could let me know…”

*Remember, if you need a reply by a certain date let your Professor know. Be as clear as possible.

Step 5: Sign off Time

Ex: “Best”, or “Thank you”….

Remember to thank your Professors as kindly as you can.

Tips: Make sure to give your professors twenty- four hours to reply back to your email. If your professors does not reply within twenty-four hours, you can send a follow-up email regarding your previous unread email.

Click on the following links for a guide on elements that I compiled for this blog post and key conventions for emailing professors. (Link 1, and Link 2)

Emailing professors can take time, but this is a skill that as students we will need in the future. Also, think about all of the students that are emailing your professors. They need to reply to other emails just as you need to do the same. Be clear, straight to the point, and kind.

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