E-mail is a great tool to connect with people and exchange information quickly and conveniently; this is also true when communicating with your professors and TAs. Although it is convenient and easy to shoot off e-mails, keep in mind that emailing professors is different from e-mailing friends and family. Here are a few tips to help you become and e-mailing wizard!
- Have a professional-sounding e-mail address. Most people choose some variation of their name, which makes it easy to identify and remember. Sending an e-mail from “badboy67” or “lovebug14” does not give a great first impression.
- Start the e-mail with your name, student number, and the number and section of your class/tutorial.
- Address them by “Professor” or “Dr.” _______. Check your syllabus if you are unsure of what their title is.
- Be clear and brief with your request. Professors are busy people, so respect their time by keeping your email brief and to the point. If you find yourself spending hours trying to properly word an email, this is a good indication that your message would be best relayed in person. Accordingly, an email to request a meeting or a visit during your professor’s office hours would be most appropriate.
- Respond promptly when they request a reply. Professors and TAs have too many students to chase you down or wait a week for a response, so be respectful and reply as quickly as possible.
- Be overly familiar or colloquial – use proper grammar and a professional tone. Emails should be written like short letters, with a greeting, clear message in the body, and closing signature line–not like a text message to a friend.
- Demand too much. Professors and TAs have many students, so figure out their policies on reading drafts, advising, etc. before sending them anything to review.