How to Write an Email to a Professor about Your Paper

2 years ago by: Daniel Bosai
-- (m) at 17-01-2018 09:48AM

(18889 | Hero)

Students find it difficult emailing a professor, especially if they are not sure of what to say or even how to present their requests. There are several reasons why students might want to get in touch with a professor. One might have a question concerning his assignment or might want to request for an extension to complete his assignment. Some students can request for academic samples to guide them in writing a professional essay.

Many students use the same format of texting when emailing their professors.  Writing an email is a formal process of communication. Students should be aware that an email is not the same as sending text messages to a friend. A formal email should follow specific guidelines. Even though writing a formal email to a professor can be stressful, following these guidelines, students can establish a formal communication with their professors without having to worry much about how to go about the writing process. The following tips act as a guide that can help you write a formal email to a professor.

Tips on writing a professional  email  
  • Writing emails is like writing a formal letter; it's advisable to use your school email account when contacting your professors. The school email account is more professional as compared to using a personal email account.
  • When writing an email, the reason should be stated, if the main purpose of the email is to inform the professor about your assignment not being submitted in time, get to the point. Use a strong subject line to enable the professor has an idea of what the email entails before reading the whole email. For example, the subject line can read "Request for extension to complete my assignment."
  • Experts at remind that since emails are formal, you need to use proper salutations when emailing your professor even if you know him personally. Use respectful words like Hello or Dear to portray a respectful tone. Start with a formal tone that includes a simple salutation followed by the title and the surname. For example, Dear Dr. Wilson.
  • It's not surprising to find that students do not know the names of their professors. Luckily this information is easy to find, and you can google the name of your professor on the department website to get the correct title and spelling.
  • After completing the first section, the following section needs to inform the professor who you are by introducing yourself and the class you are taking. After introducing yourself, write down your request. Professors serve many students within a semester, citing your name and the class will help the professor be aware where the request is coming from.
  • Present your request by clearly presenting what you want, avoid writing lengthy words and get to the point. For example, you can get to the point by apologizing for missing class on a particular day or request the professor for additional information regarding the class assignment.
  • Students should note that email message is not for ranting or whining, any concern or complaints should be presented using the correct words.  Unlike other informal online posts, when writing an email to a professor, write complete sentences using proper spellings, incomplete sentences make the email unprofessional.
  • Specify which action you want the professor to take, state exactly the request in the last part of an email. For example, if you are requesting for an extension to complete the class assignment, specify how much time you need.
  • Don't be in a hurry to demand a reply; most professors check their emails once a day.  If you need an answer, provide the professor with adequate time to reply your email. You should check back after some days once you have sent the email. If you have not received any reply, you can remind the professor again after some days by sending him a follow-up email to act as a reminder of the first email.
  • As you conclude your email, the final step is to go through the email again to check for grammar mistakes.  Proofread to ensure the email does not have any grammatical or spelling errors. Read through your email to make sure that it doesn't sound very demanding.  The email should be concise; this means the writer  should present what he  needs from the professor without presenting excessive details, which will make the email look unprofessional.
  • End your email with a polite tone, just like at the beginning where you presented a formal greeting, in the end, you need to remain formal.  Use ending words like sincerely followed by your full name.
  • If you happen to receive a reply from the professor, acknowledge the reply once you receive it. For example, you can simply use the word like, thank you. If you feel that the professor did not adequately address your question, write an email asking for an appointment to meet the professor in person.

Wrapping it up
Emailing your professor can be difficult, especially if you are not sure of what to include in an email. Following these few guidelines will help you establish a formal communication with your professors. Learning how to present a professional email is an important skill every student needs to know. When you write a courteous and respectful constructed email, you are more likely to receive a kind feedback from your professor. Learning these tips will help you understand what most professors expect from academic emails.