Date: 22 November, 2019
TO: Evan Crisp, UBC student
FROM: Emily Leung, Student of ENGL 301
Subject: Writing Effective E-mail Messages to Professor
Thank you for reaching out for advice on improving your e-mail to Professor Lambert. Registering for an already-full class can be a stressful process. Here is a list of some best practices for writing an e-mail to a professor. These principles result in more professional-looking e-mails and a higher chance of getting responses.
Tips for writing an e-mail
Effective student writers follow these guidelines when sending e-mails to professors:
- Using an academic or professional e-mail address for easier identification of the e-mail’s source, this also reduces the chance of reaching a professor’s spam inbox.
- Ensuring your full name is displayed in the “From” field.
- Adding an informative and concise subject line to inform the professor of the purpose, urgency and importance of the e-mail. Communicating a reasonable request in the subject line ensures the e-mail gets opened.
- Addressing the professor by name and title with a polite salutation. In this case, using “ Dear Professor Lambert” instead of “Hey there” would be more professional and appropriate.
- Ending the e-mail with a signature block consisting of the full name and contact information for easier follow-up.
- Incorporating postscript to the body of the e-mail where possible.
- Beginning the e-mail with a clear purpose to help professors understand the context of the request.
- Framing the request to reflect your interest and need for the class, instead of being at a matter of convenience, can effectively increase the professor’s willingness to offer assistance.
- Being specific about the class of interest. As mentioned in the e-mail, Professor Lambert teaches more than one English class. Using detailed information on the specific class, such as course name and times, allows for an explicit request.
- Closing with an appreciation for the professor’s time and consideration can show respect. For example, using the phrase “I would very much appreciate your permission to take this class.”
- Being mindful of professors’ busy schedules and asking politely when communicating a necessary deadline for their actions.
- Maintaining a courteous, professional and respectful tone throughout the e-mail.
- Avoiding the use of slang and abbreviations such as “ttfn” to demonstrate professionalism and enhance clarity.
- Proofreading the e-mail to enhance grammatical and spelling accuracy.
E-mail is an effective communication tool between students and professors. Following these tips can help us build a stronger relationship with professors. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.