How to Write an Email to a Professor

student writing e mail her professor
July 2021 by

 

There can be a lot of pressure when it comes to emailing your teachers. You want to make your emails sound professional, but it’s not always that easy. You might find yourself overthinking your responses, and you’re not alone in that, of course, it’s always important to make a good impression. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you when putting together those emails. Everything you need to know is right here!

When do you need a professional email?

It’s important to note that with some teachers, emailing more casually is okay. That being said, it’s up to your teacher to establish that tone. You don’t want to go in casual as it is a professional relationship. Mainly if you’re contacting them for the first time, you need to put thought and effort into what you write. First impressions are everything!

So what do you need to do?

Make your subject line clear

The first thing a teacher will see when they open their inbox is the subject line. This is important because it could depend on how soon they open or reply to your email. Make sure it is as relatable to the topic as possible while also being quite short. Here are some examples depending on what you’re sending.

  • Assignment files
  • Options advice
  • 1st draft feedback
  • Upload help

All of these clearly show what you’re asking or what you’re sending. This way the teacher knows exactly what to expect and can go into the email with an idea in mind.

Appropriate greetings

Using the correct greetings can sometimes be challenging in school. If you’re in high school, you might find you call teachers by their last name, but in college or university, it’s their first name that they use. Although you want to be formal in your emails, you can use either if it feels appropriate. However, it would be best always to use their name in the greeting because this sounds more professional. For example:

  • Hi Jennifer
  • Dear Mrs Shaw

You should also include phrases such as “I hope you are well” or “I hope this email finds you well.” This shows you’re polite and that you’re interested to know how your teacher is doing before you talk about your thoughts.

As for signing off, you have way more options to choose from. To keep it professional, though, make sure to use your full name. Especially if they have lots of students, they might need your last name to picture you. To sign off you can use:

  • Yours sincerely
  • Best wishes
  • Kind regards
  • All the best
  • Thank you

These can also depend on the email, but they are all a polite way of drawing it to a close.

Stick to the point

One thing you don’t want to do is waffle in an email. Sometimes too much talk can lead to miscommunication, and your teacher might not be able to help in the way you’d hoped. If you’re clear and concise in what you’re writing, your message should get across better. For a guide, you only need 2 or 3 paragraphs for a standard email. These paragraphs only need to be a couple of sentences long too. By breaking up the text, it will be easier to read, and it may mean you get a quicker response!

Include a small message at least

While getting to the point is important, you should also at least write something. This is mostly for when you’ve got attachments to send. Don’t just send them off with an empty email as that isn’t very helpful, and your teacher could end up being confused. In this case, you might only need a line or two talking about what you’ve attached. If they’re expecting it, even better! Still include a small message, though, to summarise the purpose.

Email in school hours

It’s a bit of a myth as to whether this is important, but some teachers don’t like getting emails after hours. For them, the day is done, and they want to switch off from work until the next day. It isn’t the end of the world if you do have to email them though! Unfortunately, some things just don’t work out that way. But if you’re trying to be professional, then emailing during the school day will save them a lot of grief!

Proofread

As we have our proofreading service for essays and assignments, we know how important it can be! Proofreading can sometimes be the difference between sounding professional and not. Any mistakes could be noted, and it doesn’t look good for you. Make sure you give your email a read through a couple of times because you press send.

As well as proofreading, you should also make sure that any attachments you have included are the right ones. There’s nothing worse than sending the wrong document!

Hopefully, this has solved all your email problems. Any other tips? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

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