This form does not yet contain any fields.

    Main | Fall 2019 Course Materials Available. »

    How to Email Your Prof

    It’s the start of term!  OK, so that means that I am going to receive a lot of emails from students.  I think many students could use a few tips in this area.

    1. I’m not your buddy.  I’m not your friend (I’m friendly enough, but, you know, we don’t hang out…)  So, when writing an email to me, don’t start out with ‘Hey’ or ‘Dude’ or anything like that.  Here’s a pretty straightforward tip: have a salutation. So ‘Dear Dr. Brodbeck’ is a good start.  Now, on the first day I’m going to let you know that I prefer being called by my first name, so ‘Dear Dave’ is fine with me.  Frankly, 'Hi Dave' is good too.  Others may prefer their title. You can’t go wrong being too formal. So your default should be ‘Dear Dr.’ Again, call me Dave, that’s fine, but others may not like the first name thing, follow their preferences..  Oh, don't go with 'Dear Professor' or 'Teacher'.  The first one there just seems clumsy to me, and the latter, umm, well, it makes me think I'm teaching elementary school or something....  

    2. Try to use complete English sentences.  So ‘gotta pick courses’ is not as good as ‘Can we meet to look at courses for the coming term?’

    3. Use actual English words.  You’re not texting to me. B4 is not a word.  Thx is not a word.

    4. Related to number 1 above, sign your emails.  ‘Sincerely, Eddie Smith’ (assuming that’s your name) is how you end it.  Or, maybe ‘Eddie’.  

    5. Let me know what class you are in if it is course related.  ‘Can we meet to talk about the essay’ is not nearly as good as ‘Can we meet to talk about the essay in BIOL 2606?’

    6. No emojis, they make you look like you aren’t serious.

    7. LOL.  You actually typed LOL?  Really?  Were you actually laughing out loud?

    8. Punctuation is your friend.  

    9. You are going to get a better reply if you have a question I can answer.  Now, that’s not always going to be the case, as sometimes you are asking to meet to pick classes or something. However, ‘I didn’t understand the last lecture’ is not nearly as good as ‘can you explain that part about spatial and temporal summation again, I didn’t really get it’.  

    10. Don’t expect me to answer right away.  I’m pretty good with answering emails, but, when the work day is done, I’m at home.  I’m not at work.

    11. Your and you're are two different words.  (Now I'm looking frantically to see it I've made any dumb mistakes, I probably have, hey, I just found a place where I wrote 'to' instead of 'two'!)

    That’s all I can think of now.  If anyone has any other tips, let me know and I’ll add them with credit to the person of course.


    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>