On the first day of class, many professors will tell you their preferred method of communication outside of class is e-mail. The ability to communicate your ideas and questions effectively through email is a valuable skill to develop. Use the following tips to help you develop quality e-mails.
Address yourself well.
Write from an academic account (.edu) or develop a professional e-mail address on a free site. You are in college now, so drop the crazy e-mail names. Your professor shouldn’t be receiving e-mail from Stud_muffin@yahoo.com or rowdygirl2000 @gmail.com. A simple address at a site like Gmail or Yahoo that is composed of a variation on your full name is a good way to present yourself.
Check your class resources first.
Before sending your e-mail, be sure you don’t already have the information you need. Did you check your syllabus? Did you check your professor’s website or TalonNet? You might already have what you need; if you do, asking for it again will make you seem lazy or unfocused.
Use the subject line.
The subject line of the e-mail should be informative. Most professors receive a lot of e-mail and are looking to delete spam as quickly as possible. Do not leave the subject line blank. If you have nothing in the subject line, your e-mail may be tossed out with the other trash. The best subject lines will, in a few words, state the purpose of your message. “Question about Essay #3 for English 52” or “Need to meet during office hours.”
Greet the professor politely by name and title.
“Dear Professor Jackson” is probably too formal. Try “Hello Professor Jackson” or “Hi Dr. Jackson.” Never greet your professor with “Hey,” and avoid using the last name without a title. “Hey Jackson” is not a good way to start, and never address your professor by his or her first name unless you have been explicitly invited to do so.
Briefly and politely explain why you are e-mailing.
Think about your audience. What does...