By Conway Lynch
Emailing a professor can sometimes feel like a daunting task. It’s hard to determine what tone you should take and how exactly to structure an email without coming across as unprofessional. Below I’ve detailed some of the best tips I could think of to help you out-compose everyone on Outlook.
Before you even know who you’re sending the e-mail to, go ahead and write a subject. Try your best to be vague, yet also alarming enough to warrant immediate attention. Consider something like this: URGENT! MUST-READ NOW! YOUR CAREER AND REPUTATION DEPEND ON IT! High-level academics take this bait almost every time.
The greeting for your email has to be welcoming and engaging. Here is my default, “Salutations, greetings, and hello.” This triple threat accommodates all professors regardless of their vocabulary—they will surely appreciate your consideration.
Just as in the classroom, in an email, your professor’s title is very significant. Consider referring to your professors as only sir or ma’am. Not using their proper title demonstrates to them that you’re capable of seeing past social constructs and norms. Your professor will quickly recognize you as an intellectual.
Your intro has to be better than a factitious, “How are you?” I strongly encourage opening with a bizarre question. Try something along the lines of, “Do you ever feel nervous for no particular reason?” or “Do you ever feel like you made all the wrong choices?” Unprompted, wildly inappropriate questions like those break down the wall between student and professor. It is crucial for the learning process.
Another tip is Googling your professor’s name. You’re really trying to find any social media accounts you can: invade their privacy, you star student! Once you’ve combed through their likes on Facebook, you will have plenty to talk about in the body of your emails.
If you have an iPhone, be careful not to turn off the “Sent from my iPhone” signature. Keep it on;
in fact, start and end all your emails with it. The signature demonstrates to your professors that you’re constantly on the go and that you hardly have time for them. They will admire your drive.
If for some reason you can’t make it to class, send an email to let your professor know, but try peppering in some subtle cyber-bullying. Check out this example: “I’m not coming to your lame class today. Not like I’d learn anything anyway! Maybe you’ll see me next week, but probably not. Have fun reading books or whatever, nerd!” After an email like that, most professors will hold you in very high esteem for your bold, honest attitude. If you spot an opportunity for a “noogie,” take it!
Have any friends who are good with computers? Ask them to hack your professor’s email. Once you’re in, send emails to your professor from their own account. If they seem confused, convince them that their computer has been taken over by a digital ghost. Don’t forget to use a professional signature for
the ghost that lists all its achievements, which will ensure your professor takes it seriously.
I wish you all the best of luck in your professional correspondence this semester, and if you have any email tips of your own be sure to email them to The Keystone or anyone on our friendly staff.