How To Email Your Professor in College

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a “seasoned” college student, emailing your professors can be nerve-wracking, especially when you’re trying to ask for an extension, schedule a lunch, or ask for extra help. Take this from me–it will get easier over time! Your first few emails might be scary, but after you’ll be great at it in no time. This post will list out the 5 most important tips to keep in mind when you email your professor in college, along with a template!

I’d like to think that after four years in college, I’m quite the “email expert” when it comes to reaching out to professors. These are the tips to remember when it comes to emailing your professor!

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How To Email Your Professor–5 Tips To Remember:

1. Be considerate

Your professors are in charge of your grades (and your learning), but remember that they’re human! Don’t beat yourself up over creating the PERFECT email, but it’s nice if you ask about their days or wish them a good week. They’ve got lives outside of their jobs, too.

In the open and close of your email, ask about their days and express that you hope they’ve had a good week/day.

**Tip: Open the email by addressing your professor as “Professor” or “Dr.” or however else your professor has asked to be addressed. “Professor” is always safe, especially if you don’t know whether or not your professor has a Ph.D.

Your professors are busy. Aside from teaching multiple classes, they’ve got research, their families, and their own lives. Keep your emails brief and break up the content! I’d say have paragraphs that are 3-4 lines max. This will make your email easier to read.

Example:

Dear Professor/Dr. ____,

I hope your week has been going well so far!

Thank you for your time, and have a great day!

2. Introduce yourself

Depending on your class size, you may or may not want to give a brief introduction of yourself. I always prefer to give one anyway! List out your name, your year (freshman/sophomore/junior/senior), and the class that you’re in. In classes with less than 15 students, I usually left this part out because my professor already knew me.

Example:

Dear Prof. ___,

I hope your week has been going well so far! My name is _________ and I am a sophomore in your 9 AM CHEM 101 course.

3. State your intent

After your introductions, you’ll want to state WHY you’re sending an email in the first place. Your professors are busy, so make sure you’re not dawdling when it comes to this. I always have a statement of intent right after my introduction sentence (if I have an introduction sentence). It might come off a little forward, but a busy professor is going to appreciate it!

Example:

Dear Prof. ___,

I hope your week has been going well so far. My name is _________ and I am a sophomore in your 9 AM CHEM 101 course. I am writing because I’d like to ask for an extension on my final project.

or: I’m writing because I am having trouble with…

4. Thank them for their time

This is a tip that you’ll want to keep with you for all your emails in the future–whether it’s to your professors, recruiters, or co-workers. It’s a good time to get into the habit of thanking people for their time! Everyone is busy, and you should be considerate of the time they’re dedicating to your success.

This is super easy to do–just add a “Thank you!” or a “Thank you for your time.” A “Have a great day!” is also something nice you can add–it’s always a welcome sight.

5. Proofread!

You’ll be surprised by how your professors respond to you sometimes. I’ve gotten tons of emails where nothing was capitalized and things were spelled wrong. YOU shouldn’t do this, but professors can because they’re professors.

It’s a form of respect to make sure what you’re sending does not have any typos. If you’re hoping that your professor will help you, this is the extra step you should take.

One great tool that I actually use is Grammarly, which is a FREE web browser add-on that proofreads what I write as I’m writing it! It checks my tone and my grammar/spelling. I still proofread, but I know Grammarly has got my back if I miss anything!

(I think there’s a paid version, but I added the free one to my Google chrome browser and it does everything I need!).

Email Template:

Dear Professor _____,

I hope your week has been going well so far!

My name is ____ and I am a sophomore in your _____ class. I’m writing because _____.

Thank you for your time, and have a great day!

Best,

______

I hope that you’ve found this post on how to email your professor helpful! It’s definitely a little scary the first time around, but you’ll get used to it soon enough. Good luck!

Related: 9 Things To Know In College

Related: 15 College Essentials That I Couldn’t Live Without

Hello friend!

It's so lovely to meet you! I'm Sunny, a boba connoisseur hailing from Southern California. I graduated from college over a year ago, and currently work full-time for a Big Tech, Fortune 100 company. This website is an outlet for my creative passions, where I hope to share my experiences in post-grad life, college, career, and identity with young women everywhere.

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