How to Email a Professor
For undergraduates just starting out on their academic journey, there’s a lot to take in. From student orientation to your first class, there’s a steep learning curve that has little to do with your academic skills and much more to do with your ability to navigate bureaucracy and a (scary?) new campus. There are forms to sign, boxes to check, and people to meet. Friends to make and professors to get on the good side of!
Sadly, we can’t tell you how to make new friends while at college, however, we can give you some advice on how to write an email to a professor. Trust us, it’s an invaluable skill to have when you first arrive on campus and making the right first impression with the people who will mark your work and assess your academic development is a great way to begin student life. Join us on an email etiquette campus tour of sorts as we walk you through how to email your professor so you can start off on the right foot and rock those A’s!
Before you think about how to write an email to a professor, you should probably consider whether you actually WANT to. Teachers and professors are usually a busy bunch, and wasting their time is not a great way to get into their good graces. When you first begin your course, ensure you read all of the literature provided, especially the course syllabus and reading lists. If you have further questions (or even if you simply want to introduce yourself), then read the following steps detailing how to email a professor.
How to Write an Email to a Professor
When writing an email to a professor, you should approach your first interaction with the utmost professionalism. Sure, later in the year you may become more friendly with your teachers, but when you make initial contact, first impressions count. Here, we detail how to write an email to your professor for the first time, and how to put across a professional and dedicated first impression.
When you first start university, you will be given a student email account. It is important that you use this account, and only this account, when emailing your professors. If you use another account, there is a chance that your email will be sent to the spam folder, or simply disregarded. Your student email will also contain your name, which will make it easier for your professor to identify you.
How to Start an Email to a Professor
- Include an Informational Subject Line – Your subject line should be succinct while indicating what your email is about.
- Use the Professors Title and Surname – Especially when contacting your professor for the first time, it is crucial that you include their title (Dr., Professor, etc.) and their surname.
- Introduce Yourself Professionally – Use a formal greeting and introduce yourself with your name and your course/year. For more information on email introductions, read this step-by-step guide.
How to Write the Content of an Email to Your Professor
- Stay on Point – Don’t write a long and rambling email. Stick to the point and ask clearly defined questions in a polite and respectful way.
- Use Full Sentences – You’re not writing to your best friend on WhatsApp, so make sure you use proper English and write well-crafted sentences.
- Use Proper Punctuation – You’re a student. At college. And you are emailing someone who has expertise in writing research papers. Now is not the time to drop your full stops and confuse your commas.
- Be Polite – It pays to be polite in almost any situation, however, this is doubly true when learning how to write an email to a professor. They can be a cranky bunch, so always be extra polite when asking for information.
- Include a Call to Action – If there is an action you need your professors to complete upon receiving the email, such as sending more information or connecting you to another colleague, then make sure you clearly state this in your message.
How to End an Email to a Professor
- Use a Formal Closing – Now you’ve done all the hard work, it’s time to close your email in a professional manner. Check out this step-by-step guide and give your email the perfect finish.
- Include a Signature – If you have an email signature with your contact details and other information, make sure you add it on to the end for an extra touch of class.
- Proofread Your Email (Twice) – For students, this should really go without saying. Proofread everything you ever write, including emails to your professor, at least twice.
Remember, learning how to email your professor is a vital skill to have, not just while you’re at university, but also when you need to write professional emails in the big, wide world. If you want to give your email writing, management, and general productivity a boost, then download Spike today. It’s the ideal email app for students, including everything you need to stay organized during your studies.
💡For more tips & tricks to help you through your studies, and much more besides, check out the Spike blog. We know you’re going to love it!