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An In-Depth Guide To Proper Email Etiquette for Students

by Arman Ali
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An In-Depth Guide To Proper Email Etiquette for Students

Uh oh, class is over but you’ve realized that you have a question that only your teacher can answer. You’d like the answer before your next class starts, so now what? You need to use the only line of communication you have: Email.

Sending emails can be easy. As long as you follow proper email etiquette for students, you’ll be fine! Let’s walk you through it.

Read on to learn how to write a professional email for your teacher.

Use a Clear and Descriptive Subject Line

The subject line should summarize the purpose of the email. It helps the recipient understand the content and importance of the message at a glance so they know what to do with it.

For example, if you were to put “Urgent: Can’t Access Test Site” in the subject line on a day when the teacher assigned an online take-home test, they may check and respond to that faster than a subject line that said “Question.”

Address the Recipient

Begin your email with a polite greeting that addresses the recipient by their appropriate title (such as Professor, Dr., Mr., or Ms.) followed by their last name. If you’re not sure of their appropriate title, check your syllabus or the school website for helpful hints. Most people don’t mind mistakes

and will simply correct wrong titles.

Don’t simply go into the content of the email without the proper greeting.

Use a Professional Tone

Maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout the email. Avoid using slang, emojis, or overly casual language. Remember that emails to your teachers should reflect professionalism.

Now, this may change over time as you develop a rapport with certain teachers. At first, however, keep it professional. Don’t talk to teachers as you would your friends.

Be Concise and Clear

Keep your email concise and to the point. Many students have the tendency to ramble or to miss the point entirely in emails (no matter how brief). Remember that your recipient is taking out time to read and respond to your message, so make it easy for them.

Clearly state the purpose of your email quickly and provide relevant details or questions in an order that makes logical sense. Use short paragraphs and bullet points if necessary to improve readability.

This will make it easier for you to get your point across.

Always Proofread Before Sending

Before sending the email, proofread it for spelling and grammar, as well as punctuation errors. Make sure that the content is clear and free of any obvious typos. Consider reading the email aloud or asking a peer to review it for clarity.

Teachers and staff members understand that an email isn’t the same as a formal research paper, but you’re preparing yourself for professional communication. Make an effort to be as professional as possible by making your communication error-free (or at least close to it). That will make people take you more seriously.

Use Proper Formatting

Use standard formatting for emails. This means that you should use a clear font and font size. Avoid using decorative fonts or colors that may be difficult to read. Remember, this is a professional email meant to convey information, so be professional.

Use bold or italicized text sparingly, if at all. Only use it to emphasize important points.

Include All Relevant Information

Provide all necessary information in the body of the email. If the recipient needs to use it, make sure that it’s there so you don’t leave them confused and you don’t need to send copious follow-up emails.

Make sure to include any attachments or links. It’s incredibly common for students to intend to leave an attachment, but forget it entirely. Double-check before sending the email. Mistakes happen, but this will save you time.

Be specific about the purpose of your email and clearly state any questions or requests for information. If there are attachments or links, be clear about their content or the staff member may feel uncomfortable clicking. After all, proper email security guidelines often recommend not clicking on unexpected links or attachments to avoid viruses or scams.

Use a Professional Email Signature

This one is optional, but it will prepare you for a life in the “corporate” world. Consider including a professional email signature at the end of your email. This signature will typically include your full name, affiliation (in this case, student at [your school]), and contact information (in this case, email address).

It’s not impolite to not include this information, however, it does look quite professional and it’s a good habit to get into.

Respect Response Time

Many students find themselves sending last-minute emails and expecting instant responses. Your teachers are not your friends, and emails are not text messages. You need to respect their time.

Recognize that the recipient of your email may not be able to respond immediately. Allow plenty of time for them to review and respond to your message, especially if it is not time-sensitive. Often, teachers will not respond outside of their teaching or office hours.

When they’re not at work, they’re not being paid to respond to you. Respect their time.

Follow Up Appropriately

If you do not receive a response to your email within a reasonable timeframe, consider sending a polite follow-up email as a gentle reminder. Avoid sending multiple follow-up emails too quickly or you may annoy the recipient.

So what’s reasonable? If it’s over a weekend, you should wait until the next working day has passed before sending another email unless the matter is of utmost urgency. Again, school staff won’t be working when they’re not getting paid.

That’s Proper Email Etiquette for Students

Follow these tips for proper email etiquette for students to improve your emails and impress your teachers. Remember, at the end of the day, you want to keep your emails as professional as possible. Your teachers will respect you for it!

Do you love learning all of the answers to your most-asked questions? Don’t forget to check out the rest of the site!

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