Even though we’re living through an age of instant messaging and practically everyone’s accessible through these platforms. But even when you’re trying to get in touch with your professors, it’s best to use emails. In fact, some professors even insist that students reach out to them through emails only.
Now, maintaining email communications with your professors is a far cry from how you usually communicate through these instant messaging services. Even if you’re great at communicating, you may still fumble while writing an email to your professor.
So, if you have any confusion over how to write emails to your professors, then we’ve got some ideas and steps that will be useful for you. So, without further ado, let’s delve into these steps to craft professional emails.
1. Write a clear and straightforward subject line
Your professor probably receives hundreds of emails each day, so it’s essential to be clear about who you are and what’s the purpose of sending an email. So, make sure you include your name, name of the class, and the period if applicable. And if you’re emailing about a particular assignment, mention its title as well.
A good example of an email subject line would be “Claire Bailey 2nd English – Term Paper” or “Peter Smith 3rd Period Calculus Question.” If you’re emailing to let your professor know that you won’t be in class for some reason, write the subject line in this format: “[Name] [Class] [Date] Quick Note.”
2. Address your professor formally
You must always maintain a respectful tone in your emails to your professor. S, you should begin with “Dear Ms./Mrs. Mr./ [Last Name]” before moving on to write the rest of the email. For instance, you might want to start your email by typing “Dear Mrs. Burnham,” and then pressing enter twice before writing the body of your email.
Avoid using other alternatives for “Dear”; like “Hi”, “Hello”, or similar. Never address your professor by his/her first name unless they have suggested you and every other student in your class to do so.
3. Take a straightforward approach
Professors only get a limited amount of time to address your questions, so your email to them should short, quick, coherent and to-the-point. Ponder over the following ideas when writing the body.
- Start with explaining the reason for sending the email in a sentence.
- Ask any questions that you have to ask.
- Try to keep the whole message to five sentences, unless you have a detailed question.
For instance, your email’s body might read: “I’m writing this mail to ask you about this Wednesday’s assignment. I’m having trouble finding proper resources on the topic you’ve assigned- could you please provide some suggestions to start my research?”
4. Learn how to ask for favours
If you need a letter of recommendation, briefly explain the reasons and ask clearly if it’s something they’d be willing to do. It’s also crucial to end your requests with “Thank you” or “I appreciate your consideration” instead of only saying “sincerely” at the end.
In case of a letter of recommendation, for example, you may write “I wanted to ask you for a letter of recommendation if you can spare some time.” You mustn’t try to persuade your professor to do something, especially if it’s a favour; just asking will be enough.
5. Use appropriate spelling and grammar
Your email message needs to be well-written, grammatically accurate and, properly spelt and capitalised, even if your actual message is only a sentence long.
Never use acronyms or abbreviations in your message. Always maintain a formal tone, even if your teacher is friendly.
For example, even if you’re just handing an assignment over, writing “Here’s my assignment for Thursday.” is better than writing “assignment for Thursday” in the body.
6. End the email perfectly
There are several ways to end your formal emails, but you should always conclude emails to your professors by expressing your gratitude and then sign off with your name on a separate line.
Possible alternatives for “Thank you” would be “Sincerely”, “Best”, and “Regards”. Don’t use words like “Thanks”, “Cheers”, as they may come across as too casual. You may write “Thank you,” on one line, press enter, and then writer your full name on the next line.
7. Acknowledge a reply from your professor
Once your professor replies, be sure to acknowledge that you received his/her mail. A simple “Thank you” would suffice. If required, write an extensive email keeping these same guidelines in mind. If your problem or question isn’t properly resolved by email, ask for an appointment to meet your professor in person.
You could say, “Thank you for addressing my query. I’ll see you in class.”
And in case you need more guidance on the topic, you could write, “I appreciate your opinions on this issue. Would it e possible to meet in person and discuss the topic in more detail?”
8. Send a follow-up email if required
If you’ve got an urgent question that you can’t find the answer to, and you haven’t received a reply within three days, you can send a follow-up email.
When following up, be polite and brief, acknowledge the first email you sent out, explain why you have to know the answer soon, and write, “I just needed to check back with you in case you didn’t get my first email.” (or something similar). Don’t send more than one follow-up email.
Writing a clear email to your professors requires you to maintain several steps. Once you become familiar with these steps, sending a thoroughly professional email to your professor would as easy as sending millennial lingos through instant messaging services.
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