Emailing Professors

When it comes to communicating with professors, I always feel that they have a bunch of pet peeves when it comes to emailing. Email is a great way to set up appointments to meet with professors or just ask a simple question. However, there are some boundaries that you should be aware of. Here is a short list I’ve compiled that will hopefully help you out with those emails.

Begin with “Dear Dr./Professor” or “Hello Dr./Professor”
I would have to say that this is the one that bothers professors the most. Do NOT use greetings such as “Yo”, “Sup”, “Heyyy”, etc. Also, do NOT refer to your professor by a nickname or shortened version of their name. Not only is this unprofessional, but it is disrespectful. The chances of them responding to you after doing that would decrease greatly. Simply start our with a universal greeting of “Dear” or Hello/Hi.” If you are unsure if your professor is a graduate student or has a doctorate, you can look at the syllabus or just claim them as Dr./Professor. If you call them Dr., they will most likely let you know but won’t take it super personal.


Use correct grammar
Reread your email before you send it. If you are unsure if you are using the right word, check synonyms to see if they would make sense. If it’s a lengthy email, chances are there might be a couple mistakes (we’re human), but keep in mind that you are a college student. You should be able to communicate effectively through email.

Do NOT use text lingo
For example, refrain from using “lol” or “ttyl.” You’re relationship with your professor should be professional. Save the text lingo for your friends.


Get to the point
Your professors don’t want to read a super long email with so much detail they don’t know what they are reading. Get straight to the point using only the details that pertain to the situation. If you felt you need to clarify more, add it the end of the email. Put the important stuff at the beginning and then go into detail. Keep it short though. If your professor needs more information, they can always reply and ask for it. However, don’t be so vague that they don’t know what you are asking either. Make your point known!

Thank them & be professional
I usually like to end my emails with, “If you could just let me know at your earliest convenience, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!” By doing so, you aren’t rushing them, but simply letting them know that the earliest they could respond would be appreciated so that you can get your questions answered. Remember to be professional and it will just add to your credibility!

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