I have sat in a number of college courses where the professor talks about how much it bothers them when a student is not well-mannered in an email. It seems like common sense to some, but a lot of students do not know how to interact with a professor. Maybe you are one of them. Continue reading for a fool-proof way to send an email and ensure the professor is pleased.
Let us start out with the basics. The subject line. Be sure to include the subject. I would suggest including the subject name and the general content of the message. Example: Anthropology 111, will not be in class today.
Next, the salutation. I would suggest using “Dear.” You could also say “good morning,” or something of that manner. Following that should be “Professor (and their name).” Some professors prefer you to use their first name, but only do this if they specifically permitted it at one point. If the professor has a doctorate, you may want to say “Dr. (and their name).”
What not to do: Do not write “hi what’s up?” The salutation is very important. Your professor is not your friend, and you should not address them as if they are.
As far as the actual content of the message goes, just remember to be polite! If you want your professor to take you seriously or comply with your request, you have to be respectful and appreciative. One of the most common reasons you may have to email your teacher is due to an absence. It is not your professor’s problem that you will not be in class, and if you want them to let you make something up, you have to take the email seriously and conduct yourself professionally.
What not to do: If by chance you cannot email your professor in advance, do not write something such as: “I was not in class today. What did I miss?” That will really annoy the teacher. Like I said, it is your problem that you were not in class. If you want to know what went on, get in touch with a fellow classmate.
Finally, end with a polite closing. Generally you want to express thanks. Then, it would be extra nice for you to say “have a great day.”
What not to do: Do not send the email without proofreading it first. It is lazy and does not send out a good message!
Here is a sample email that would be appropriate:
Dear Professor Jones,
I am writing to inform you that I will not be able to be in class Friday due to a doctor’s appointment that cannot be rescheduled. I know you said we are having a quiz that day. I was wondering if it would be possible for me to take the exam Thursday or at a time most convenient for you? I would really appreciate it. Have a great weekend.
See, it is not that hard. It is not necessary for you to ramble on and on; just be polite. If you follow these basic guidelines, you should not ever have any problem with a professor!