Writing an Email to Your Professor: Guide for College Freshman

When you’re in college, writing to your professor is a frequent task. Perhaps, you’d like to contact your professor less frequently. However, students have to send emails quite often, so you should be prepared to express your thoughts in the right manner. College-writers team is here to get to the bottom of this.

The main thing you need to know about writing an email to your professor is that it should be written in a professional tone. Your professor has a strong influence on your education. Your professor is also a person who knows a lot about your field and so is able to help you understand in what direction your academic career should go. Every time you contact your professor, try to create a positive impression because you can always benefit from such good relationships. For example, assistantships and internships can give you a lot of opportunity for further academic growth.

If you’re not sure that you can write a professional email, don’t worry because there are many tools available online that can help you correct any mistakes and give you more confidence. For example, the Grammarly text editor allows you to check your punctuation, grammar, style, and spelling. The program offers explanations and suggests better alternatives. Students can use such tools not only when writing emails but also when proofreading their assignments, as well.

Tips on Writing an Email

  • Use an academic email account
    If you have a .edu address, we suggest that you use it instead of your personal email.
  • Write a clear subject line
    Professors are busy so make sure they understand what you’re talking about as soon as possible.
  • Use professional greetings
    Use correct titles and always address your professor as “Mrs.” or “Mr.”
  • Identify yourself properly
    Every professor has many classes and students. Even if your class is relatively small, include the section number of your class after its title and your first and last name.
  • Keep it formal
    An email to your professor should be written in a formal tone, without emojis, abbreviations, or slang. Obviously, you should also be polite.
  • Be concise and clear
    If your need is too complex to express it in two sentences, explain it in general terms and ask for a face-to-face meeting.
  • Add a formal acknowledgment at the end
    “Sincerely,” “Best,” or “Thank you,” with your first and last name, are good options.
  • Follow up
    If your professor doesn’t respond quickly, follow up in person when you see them next time. Professors have many responsibilities and have to work with hundreds of students.

Asking About Your Grade

If you want to talk about your grade, keep in mind that your professor may not share certain information with you via email because of the privacy concerns. If you can’t visit your professors office during the office hours, request an appointment that will fit both their and your schedules.

Asking for a Reference

You may also contact your professor via email if you need a professional reference. Given that your professor is an expert in your field, sometimes their recommendations can help your professional and academic growth. At the same time, your request for a reference should be easy for them. Professors usually get many similar requests. Make it concise, and polite, clearly indicating what exactly do you need. If you need a reference before a certain deadline, don’t forget to mention it in your request.

Asking General Questions

Finally, you may also ask your professor some general questions. In this case, we suggest that you check your assignment instructions and class syllabus before sending an email. It may turn out that your professor has already addressed some frequently asked questions, so make sure to review all the materials related to your class, starting from the very first days. You shouldn’t bother your professor if they’ve already given the answers you’re looking for. Make sure that you contact your professor only when necessary and be respectful.

Don’t forget that your classmates are also a very valuable source of information.  Professors may teach different classes, conduct researches, and do other work. They don’t have to repeat the same things multiple times. If you couldn’t attend a class, don’t ask your professor about things you’ve missed. Instead, talk to your classmates.

Professors want their students to succeed, it’s their primary goals. However, it’s not their responsibility. Show them your respect and dedication by preparing and using the right language. If you learn to write professional emails to your professors, this skill will also help you a lot when you become an employee.

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