How to email a professor and live to tell the tale


If you’re a freshman in college, one of the most valuable lessons you can learn is how to properly make contact with a professor. This is especially important if you don’t want to find yourself the butt of departmental meetings where professors pass around particularly atrocious emails. With this in mind, I humbly present the following tips.

1. Do not begin with “Hey Professor!”
Hey is not a proper greeting. Hey is what horses are fed. Also inappropriate? “Oats Professor!”

2. Do not make demands on the professor’s time.
Such demands might include, “Fix my erors in these papr!” or “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?” There are better things for your teachers to waste their time with, such as departmental meetings.

3. Do not send archaic file formats.
Most professors will accept file attachments. Most, however, will be unable to open your paper typed in SpeedScript on your Commodore 64.

4. Do not use much slang.
Acceptable? “Professor, whenever you have time is cool with me.” Inappropriate? “Thank Professor, you’re the shiznit!”

5. Do not email late at night asking for a response.
Professors are mostly human, and therefore like most humans need rest during their day. Do not expect them to respond at midnight to an email you send. The exception? Art professors. They’re vampires.

6. Do not submit your professor’s email address to a third party site.
For example, when it comes time to recruit your friends to sign your “Save Jericho Petition,” your professor would be an inappropriate one to include. Your professor is too busy watching reruns of The Prisoner. They get it.

Hopefully these tips will help. If not, don’t email me about it.


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