Mistakes to Avoid When Emailing a Professor

There are a few common mistakes to be avoided when you are emailing your professors at school. Overall, a sense of professionalism and respect should be established and maintained in your emails. Schools offering Adult Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Appropriate Way to Email a Professor

Modern technology is great, right? Well, thirty years ago students had to rely on a professor's office hours for after-class communication. Today, e-mail makes it possible to contact your instructors at any time. However, with technology comes great responsibility. Understand that acceptable professional and social behavior is as important at the keyboard as it is in the classroom.

Be a Word Economist

If you're e-mailing your English Lit professor about a specific assignment, don't go on about how much you love Shakespeare, or how annoying it is that your roommate plays the radio too loud when you're trying to read Charles Dickens. Keep it concise and focused. However, don't confuse brevity with ambiguity. State clearly your question or concern. Three or four short sentences giving pertinent and detailed information should do it.

OMG, Informal is So Not the Way to Go

Remember, you're not e-mailing your friends about getting together Saturday night. Avoid text talk and personal references. Your professor is not likely to LOL at jokes, witty observations or crude remarks. Punctuation and grammar rules apply! And always address your instructor as Professor or Doctor. Never use his or her first name unless otherwise established.

Time is Valuable

Don't waste your professor's time by asking for something that might already be clarified in the course syllabus, hounding him or her for grades or test results, or expecting a critique of the first draft of your research paper. While technology might make your professor more accessible, realize that he or she has a life beyond the campus. So if you're sending an e-mail at 3 AM, don't expect a reply before the sun rises. Allow ample time for a response before sending another message.

Keep Your Voice Down

In other words, don't TYPE LIKE THIS. It's not only unprofessional - typing in all capitals makes it seem as if you are yelling, even if you don't intend it that way.

Think Before You Send

Read over your e-mail before sending it. This will help you catch any possible grammatical mistakes or typos. Also use this proofreading opportunity to make sure your e-mail is clear and gets your message across without being demanding, misleading or rude.

Find out interesting details about how Facebook, Twitter and other social media are being utilized in and outside the classroom.

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