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7 Ideas to Write a Formal Email to Your Teachers

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how to email a professor
 Admin  December 8, 2020  Assignment  0

At a time when virtual interactions are everything, every student is expected to know the email etiquette and language skills necessary to liaise with their teachers. But maintaining email communications with your professors differs starkly from how you usually communicate through these instant messaging apps and services. Even if you're excellent at communicating, you may still fumble while writing an email to your professor.

So, if you have any confusion over how to email a professor, then we’ve got some ideas and steps that will be useful for you. So, without further ado, let’s shed light on the art of emailing your teacher.

How to email a professor from college/university

  1. Write a coherent email subject

It’s possible that your professor receives countless emails every day, so it's necessary for you to mention who you are and why you're writing the email. Make sure you add your name and the class you’re in while writing the subject line for email to your professors. If you’re emailing about a particular task assigned to you, you can write the title of that assignment. For instance, Claire Smith 5th Period English – Term paper.

If you're simply emailing about a specific question or informing your professor that you’ll be absent in class for some reason, the subject should be something like, "[Name] [Class] [Date] Quick Note."

  1. Address your professors in a formal tone

When you’re contemplating how to address a professor in an email, it's pivotal to maintain a respectful tone in yours. So, you can start the email with "Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs. [Last Name]" at the top before writing the message.

For example, you may begin your email by typing "Dear Ms. Peterson," and then click enter twice before writing the body of your email.

Don’t use any alternatives for "Dear"; specifically not "Hi," "Hey," or similar. Also, never call your teacher by his/her first name unless they have asked every student to do so. This formality is applicable in case of parents emailing a teacher on behalf of their child.

  1. Take a straightforward approach

Professors only get a limited time every day to answer your questions, so make sure your message is simple and on point if you're wondering how to send an email to a professor appropriately.

  • Start by elaborating why you're sending the email in a sentence or two.
  • Ask any questions that you have to ask.
  • Wrap up your message in five sentences or fewer, unless you have an elaborate question.

For instance, your email's body might read: "I'm emailing to ask you about next Thursday's homework. I'm unsure about a question. Could you please explain what it means?"

  1. Maintain grammatical accuracy

Your message should be well-crafted, correctly spelled and capitalized, and grammatically correct, even if the actual message is only a sentence long. Don’t use chat acronyms in your email message; always maintain formality, even if your teacher is casual and friendly.

For example, even if you're just submitting an academic paper, writing "Here is my paper for Wednesday." is better than writing "assignment for Wednesday" in the body section.

  1. Conclude the email

There are multiple ways to end most emails, but you should always wrap up your emails to professors with some variation of "Thank you" on its own line and then your name on a separate line.

Find alternatives for "Thank you," such as "Regards," "Sincerely," and "Best." Don't use "Cheers," "Thanks," or any other casual language. For instance, you might write "Thank you" on one line, click enter, and then write your full name on the next line.

  1. Write a follow-up email if possible

If you have an urgent requirement from your professor, and you haven't received a reply within three days, then you can write a follow-up email.

When following up, be polite and brief, mention the first email, explain your requirement and why it’s urgent, and write, "I just needed to check back with you in case you didn't receive my first email." (or something similar). Don’t send more than one follow-up email.

  1. Acknowledge a reply

Once you receive from your professor’s end, make sure you acknowledge that you received the email. A simple "Thank you" would be sufficient. If necessary, write an elaborate email using the same guidelines to make it professional.

If your problem or question hasn’t been properly resolved by email, seek an appointment to meet in person.  For instance, "Thank you for responding to my question. I'll see you in class."

Example of how to email a professor

Subject: Question about the History 1B assignment

Dear Professor Holker,

I am Alexis Jordan, from History 1B, Section 1. In the syllabus, the deadline for our latest assignment is stated as April 13th. However, in class on Tuesday, you mentioned April 16th as the deadline.

Could you please clarify the exact deadline?

Thank you so much for your time.

Sincerely,
Alexis Jordan

Parting thoughts,

Writing a concise and correct email to your professors requires that you go through some steps. Once you develop familiarity with these steps, sending a thoroughly professional email to your professor would be as easy as a breeze for you.

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