There may come a time where you find yourself with a question that can only be answered by emailing your professor. We’ve got a few tips on how to craft the perfect email!

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Do some research ahead of time 

Before you send that question to your professor, ask yourself a few things. Have you already checked the syllabus for this information? Have you checked Canvas? Did you double check your inbox to make sure the question hasn’t already been answered? If you can confidently say "yes" to all three of these questions, you should move forward with emailing your professor.

The Name Game

If you’ve been to class enough, you’ll probably know the appropriate title for your professor. There are occasions when you’ll need to double check, and that’s what the internet is for! All faculty will be listed on the school website. Once you find them, their credentials will be listed and you can figure out how to address your email.

set the Tone

How formal or informal should you be with your email? You don’t want to sound too stuffy, but you also don’t want to come off as disrespectful. Look back on emails your professor has sent you and match their level of formality. If your professor sends very informal emails without formatting, go a step above and make sure to format your email properly with a greeting and a sign off. When in doubt beginning your email with “Hello Professor’s Name” and ending with “Thank you, Your Name” are safe bets.

Be Specific

Your professor is probably getting a lot of emails right now. Even if the professor knows who you are, they may not remember the exact class and section you’re in. Putting your class name and section in the opening sentence makes it a lot easier for the professor to understand your question, and give you the most relevant answer.

Do a Final Read Through

You’ve finally finished the email! But before you hit send, make sure to read over what you wrote aloud. Reading the email aloud can help you find mistakes or awkward wording. Double check your spelling and make sure you’ve used the right forms of words like “your” and “you’re”.

Remember, Your Professor is a Person

You’re sending an email to another person, not a grammar robot. As long as your email is respectful, conveys the proper information, and has decent formatting, you’ll be fine. It’s easy to get worked up over writing an email, but at the end of the day, your professor will likely spend a few seconds reading over the email before replying.