When I was a freshman, one of the things that I struggled with the most was emailing my professors. It was so hard to find a balance between being too professional and too casual, so my emails probably ended up looking something like this:
heeeeeyyy tom! I regret to inform you that I will be unable to attend class tomorrow morning. sooo it would be amazeballs if you could like send me the work that i didnt get. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.
Okay, so my emails probably didn’t sound THAT bad, but luckily I’ve picked up on a few things that can help make your life (and your professor’s lives) a little easier. Here are some tips on how to email your professor!
Start with the syllabus.
The best place to start to find your professor’s email address is going to be the course syllabus. Most likely it will be located at the top of the first page. If for some reason you cannot find it on your syllabus, your school’s website would be another good option.
It’s also important for you to use your academic email address (or at least a professional one). Let’s just say that firstname.lastname@example.org sounds a lot better than email@example.com.
If your professor has stated what he or she prefers to be called, then you can address them accordingly in your email. But, if they haven’t made it so clear, it’s always better to go with the more formal option. If you don’t know their title (Dr., etc.) a neutral “Professor _________” always does the trick.
Pro tip: If you don’t know for sure if your professor has their doctorate, it’s probably best to not address them as such. I did that once. Not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.
Be sure to start the email on a nice and friendly note. A simple “I hope you’re having a great morning!” or “I hope this email finds you well” are great and professional greetings. Don’t lay it on too thick, but be sure to be pleasant, especially if you’re going to be asking them for something later in the email!
The good stuff.
Okay, now we’ve made it to the important part of the email — what you’re wanting to communicate with your professor.
Professors don’t want to read through paragraphs of explanation, so do them a favor and keep your emails short and sweet. Get to the point of the purpose of your email while giving as much detail and necessary, but not more than is needed. It’s a fine line, but if they need more information from you, that’s what the reply button is for!
Now that you’ve reached the end of your email, it’s time to thank your professor for actually taking the time to read the whole thing. A positive sentiment or thank you would be a great addition here, whether it be “Thank you for you time” or “Have a great rest of your day”.
It’s important to let your professor know that their time is valuable and you appreciate everything that they do for you and your class. Your professor is going to be more likely to help you out if he or she feels empowered and respected.