At some point in your college career you will have to email your professor(s). There is certainly a right way and a wrong way. Some students might think this is a ridiculous blog post, but I’m tell you, as a higher education professional I have seen some pretty awful emails from students. Email etiquette is a thing! Here is an example of a bad email to a professor…
To: Science Woman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
can u tell me how to do number 4 on the problem set. i no u went over it in class but i have had a VERY LONG week lol tests ha ha ha and i lost my notes. pleeease help
The question is, is this how you will be emailing your supervisor one day? I would hope not! Let’s talk about the right way to email your professor.
Consult Your Syllabus: The syllabus acts as a contract between the professor and his/her students. It provides more information than a semester calendar and attendance policy. Many questions can be answered by reading the syllabus. It also contains the professors contact information.
University Email Address: It’s important to use your university issued email address. The university provides you an email for more reasons than getting student pricing for Amazon Prime. Bonus tip: Don’t use your university email address to sign up for store’s emails. Your inbox will quickly get bogged down with marketing emails and you might miss something important from the university or your professor(s).
Subject Line: Start your email with a clear subject line. Perhaps what class you are enrolled in, followed by the reason for emailing. i.e. ENGL 1301.01: Homework Assignment 15
Greeting: Emails should have the structure of a letter; a greeting, the body of the letter in paragraph form, and a closing with signature line. The lack of a formal greeting or the casual “hey” will not earn your points. Begin your email with Dear Dr. __, or Dear Professor __,. Consider their education and position before omitting a greeting!
Get to the Point: To begin, identify yourself and what class you are referring to. Construct a brief email containing only the necessary details. Professors are very busy and don’t have time to read through paragraphs of unnecessary information. Lastly, clearly state the intent of your email and what you are seeking. This helps the professor easily identify what it is you need.
Closing: It is wise to thank a professor for his/her time. A closing like, “Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.” or “Thank you for your assistance.” are both good examples of a closing. Remember to also use “Sincerely” “Best regards” or other formal closing before your email signature.
Email Signature: Signing your email, like you would a letter, is also crucial. It gives you one more opportunity to identify who yourself how to can be reached. Your full name, student ID number, and an email address are a good place to start. Many students include their various officer positions in student organizations, but this is extra fluff that is irrelevant to emailing a professor. Unless of course you’re communicating something about your student org.
There you have it, the most effective way to email your professor. These same principles can be applied to emailing university staff as well. If you take nothing else away, identifying yourself (with name and student ID), being brief, and being formal are key!
Can it really be that time of year already? Seems like a few weeks ago I was seeing Facebook posts from my teacher friends saying school’s out for summer (currently playing Alice Cooper’s version in my head). Growing up I was always excited for school. I enjoyed learning and liked being with friends. As an adult I still like learning, hence the master’s degree.
Back to school means new clothes, new school supplies, more organization to make sure all the homework and projects get done. Ohhhh how I love a well organized calendar 🙂 p.s. I already bought my 2017 planner and I am over the moon excited to fill it up! Nerd alert! This shirt would be perfect for me!
The start of a fall semester on campus is my favorite. The energy, the new students so cute and lost. I remember calling home after my first couple of classes ended and telling my parents I was walking to the bookstore to get the books I needed. I remember exactly where I was, what bookstore I went to, and how excited it made me to be in college. That’s my hope for all the students starting their first year of college in the coming weeks. Stay excited! It’s hard to keep that enthusiasm when you are bogged down with projects and finals and organization obligations. As someone who isn’t 18 anymore, but still remembers college vividly, when your parents (and other “old” people) say it is the best four years of your life…it’s true. Make the most of it. Study hard, but play hard too. Get to know people all over campus; other students, faculty, staff. Those relationships you build come with memories and maybe some connections down the road.
Of all the students I have worked with and all the situations I have seen I could write a book about surviving college. This experience is about finding out who you are, growing up, and making choices that will lead you to goals. If I had to sum it up I would simply say “stay excited.”
Good luck to all the freshman as you go off on this adventure. To the parents, let them go, let them explore, and let them make mistakes. They will learn. Sure it might feel terrible letting them fail, but I saw a quote recently that said a lot in few words. It said, “Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.”
Let the first day of school pics on facebook begin!!! Until next post…xoxo Becca