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How You Can Email Your Professor Without Being an Annoying Pest

Unless you sit in that seat behind the desk in a professor’s office, unless you stand in front of a class of half-dazed students who would rather be anywhere but there, you don’t understand the challenges today’s college professors face. It’s more than simply grading papers and tests and looking out at restless, lost gazes … it’s also about receiving messages from your students.


One of the easiest ways for people to communicate today is through email and it’s a wonderfully convenient way for professors to keep in touch with their students.

However, it’s essential to know the RIGHT WAY to organize and write an email so you don’t look like a complete fool (and not to mention you don’t totally annoy your professor.

Here are several things to keep in mind when you set out to write and send an email to any college professor you have.

Keep it formal.

Never, and I mean NEVER, send an email to your professor like it’s one of your ‘buds.’ The salutation should be formal. The best way to address your professor is to type, ‘Dear Professor [last name]’ … Some people don’t like using ‘dear’ for some reason, and if that’s uncomfortable for you, then simply say, ‘Hello Professor [last name].’

Unless you’ve been given express permission from your professor to address him/her with their first name, do not, under any circumstances, do that. There are resources you can use to help you figure out how you can write more formal, like everycloudtech.

Consider an icebreaker.

Even if you’ve already emailed this professor in the past, it’s a good idea to write something pleasant, such as ‘I hope you’re well,’ or ‘I hope this email finds you well after a relaxing weekend.’

The goal here is to let them know you realize they have a life outside of their job. It establishes a connection and can be an integral aspect of maintaining a healthy relationship.

Remind him/her how they know you.

It’s often far too easy for us to believe we’re the center of the universe and that every professor will remember exactly who we are by name, but unless you spend considerable time with this person, that might not be the case.

Most professors work with hundreds, if not thousands of students per year. Remind your professor how he/she knows you, what class you’re in, and if you’ve recently spoken directly to him/her.

Get to the point.

Now you want to get to the point of the email. Tell your prof why you’re sending this. Make sure you check the syllabus first and make every effort to answer whatever question or concern you have before sending this email. You can even reference that you’ve taken these steps and still need help. It will show them you care about not wasting their time.

Be polite.

Nothing burns professors more than having students accusing them of being mean or giving them a bad grade. Yes, from time to time (rarely), a professor might have a bad day and take it out on student papers and exams.

Most of the time, though, students earn what they get. Make sure this email is polite.

Don’t forget to sign off.

Be respectful. You can use the salutations: ‘Regards,’ ‘Kind regards,’ ‘Sincerely,’ ‘Best,’ and so on, and make sure to include your full name.


Before hitting ‘send,’ make sure you proofread your email. You won’t make a good impression if you have a horribly composed message.

This article was written by Rik Snuiverink on behalf of