You Want Me to Read Your Email?

The Don’ts of Sending an E-mail to Your Professor

“What are you trying to say?”  A question college professors ask themselves multiple times a day when they open an e-mail from one of their students as they try to decipher a code that at times can be something out-of-this-world. . . . I didn’t know they had email on Mars.

Throughout the entire quarter I remind my students that “Your professors will remember your e-mails, and they will be the ones writing recommendation letters for you someday or perhaps not because they have seen what you send out.”

Students, make your e-mails count, so you stand out no matter what program you are studying in, from Veterinary Technology to Criminal Justice. Eventually, you will be sending inquiry e-mails about job openings. Start writing “solid” emails now, so you can “wow” potential employers later because that email could be your first impression.

Some quick email don’ts:

  • Don’t write in all caps: I FORGOT MY TEXTBOOK FOR CLASS TODAY! All caps and exclamation points means you’re shouting. Unless you are on fire, don’t shout. And, if you are on fire, don’t e-mail your instructor, call 911.
  • Don’t forget to check the “To” box: You do not want your personal e-mail to your friend detailing last Saturday night going to your instructor who will, more than likely, save your email as a reminder to them why not to be a reference for you.
  • Don’t write a novel: Your instructor doesn’t need to know the color, size, or texture of what is coming out of your nose if you are sick. Keep it short.
  • Don’t use text language: lol, omg, txt, awcigo (Can you figure that last one out?). Instructors have a lot of papers to grade; they don’t have time for Sudoku text-talk.
  • Don’t put anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t want printed in your local newspaper: Need I say more?