College 101

5 Things to Avoid When Emailing Your Instructors

At some point in your college career, you’re going to have to email your instructor(s). While text messaging and DMs on social media may be common practice for you, there are certain things to avoid when emailing your instructors. Here are 5 of those things to avoid, along with what you should do instead.

Using the incorrect title.

Your instructor worked hard to be an educator, so keep that in mind when typing your greeting. Pay attention to how they introduce themselves on the first day of class or in their syllabus and be sure to address them that way in emails. Also remember that each instructor is different so while one might prefer to be called “Dr. English Professor,” another might prefer to be on a first name basis with their students. Paying attention and being mindful of their preference shows them that you’re respectful and you paid attention on your first day in class.

Not including your name.

Your instructor likely teaches several classes, most of which only meet a few times a week. Add the fact that it could be an online class and the possibility of them forgetting who you are increases exponentially. If this happens, don’t be offended. Be sure to include the name you go by in class, and the name of the class you’re in when ending your email. This will help them identify you faster, and they will appreciate it.

Spamming their email.

No one likes for their inbox to be spammed, and your instructors are no different. Keep in mind that they are real people with lives too. Most will try to respond within 24 hours, not including weekends or holidays, so don’t freak out if you don’t receive a response within 5 minutes of hitting “send.” They will reply. Bombarding your instructor with messages will not speed up their response time but it will probably irritate them.

Saying things you’ll regret.

Remember, once an email is sent you can’t really take it back. If you’re upset with your instructor, sending a disrespectful email isn’t the answer. Instead, open up a word document and type your heart out then go for a walk. Once you’ve had a chance to clear your head, edit that document. Repeat until you know you’re in a good place, and then repeat again once more just to be sure. Once you’ve had a chance to take a breather and are in a better head space, send the email that voices your concerns or frustrations without being unnecessarily mean.

Waiting until the last minute.

If you have a question about a test or assignment, do not wait until the last minute to reach out to your instructor. They might not be able to get back to you in time, which leaves you responsible for the outcome. Be sure to send the email as soon as the question or concern pops up, or ask in your next class or during their office hours. The sooner, the better!

If you can avoid these 5 things, then email communication with your instructor should be a breeze!