Memo to Evan Crisp - Alison Ma


To: Evan Crisp, UBC Student
From: Alison Ma, UBC Student
Date: July 20, 2020
Subject: Best Practices in Writing E-mails to Professor


As requested, here is the memo you wanted on writing effective email messages to professors.

Tips for writing e-mail messages to professors

Effective email messages to professors follow these guidelines:

Opening remark:

  • Writing the subject line helps your reader understand the main purpose of this email message
  • Addressing the professor’s last name with honorifics demonstrates your respect

Main paragraph remark:

  • Focusing on the reader by highlighting what the professor could do. For example, ask if he would accept extra students into his class.
  • Emphasizing the positive, such as “This course has been registered full due to high popularity amongst students.”
  • Explaining reasons other than the graduation requirement, such as your passion and interest in some of the topics that will be covered in this class.
  • Showing enthusiasm instead of a negative refusal statement motivates the professor to assist you with his ability.
  • Showing your cooperation strengthens your impression to the professor.
  • Specifying your goal by highlighting your expected graduation date.
  • Organizing your paragraphs by keeping sentences with the same purpose in one paragraph. Using appropriate breaks helps the professor understand your message too.
  • Writing in a respectful tone instead of requesting a prompt reply.

Closing remark:

  • Using a full name in the signature helps the reader know who we are. Using full forms also makes sure the reader understands our purpose in the message.
  • Expressing all your messages in the main paragraph.

Following these tips help us maintain courtesy and respect while making a request to professors. If you have any questions, please email me at Best of luck with your remaining courses at UBC.

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