What to Consider When Writing an Email to a Professor?

Miriam Kinfe

Subject Header Should Be Informative

You are composing an email for a reason. To inform the recipient/professor about your main reason for writing the email, write the purpose of your message. This is not a salutation line, therefore clearly state the main concern the email intends to address. For example: “Request to enroll in your class”.


Make a polite and formal salutation that sounds good to the ears and looks great to the eyes. Do not write ‘Hi professor’ or ‘Hey there’. Instead, address your professor politely and professionally including title and last name. For example: ‘Dear Professor Jones,’ (followed by a comma), ‘Professor Jones’ are polite and professional ways of addressing a professor.

Do Not Use Smiley Faces or Other Emoji, Internet Acronyms and Abbreviations

Email style is not the same as text message style. All Electronic shorthand signals such as LOL, U for “you”, smiley faces and emojis such as 😀 😁🤔 should be avoided.

Avoid Silly Mistakes

Spell correctly and write grammatically correct messages. Show that you care about how you present yourself and writing to your professor.

Paragraph Breaks

If you have more than one concern, use paragraph breaks to help organize your message. It is hard and boring to read a long paragraph addressing a lot of concerns. Paragraph breaks make your message clearer and easier to read.

Appropriate Closing

Once you compose your email and are ready to send it, make sure you use appropriate closure to your message. The most appropriate ways are ‘Sincerely’, ‘Regards’, ‘Best Regards’ followed by a comma.

Sender’s Information

If it is your first time to email your professor, clearly identify yourself at the beginning of your email by saying: ‘My name is Betty Steve, an undergraduate student in your International Composition class’… etc. At the beginning of your message, right underneath your salutation, write your name.

Another thing that you need to consider is to make your name appear as the sender of an email rather than your email address or username. This means that the recipient of the email knows that the message is from Betty Steve instead of ‘beti_steve12@okstate.edu’.


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What to Consider When Writing an Email to a Professor? Copyright © 2020 by Miriam Kinfe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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