Advisor’s Perspective: Email Etiquette

Many professors prefer to be contacted by email rather than, say, a phone call or a drop in. That’s because they tend to be busy during the day, and an email can be read at a time right for them (often at odd hours). Many if not most professors are very good at replying.  If you’ve heardnothing within a week, it’s ok to try again. Persistence often pays.

Keep in mind; you’re not emailing a friend. Do not write ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ in the subject line. Better, write something like ‘research in your lab’ or ‘Counseling Interview’. Do not send attachments and avoid adding backgrounds and smiley faces. Steer clear from slang.

Always address the recipient in the body with "Dr." or”Professor”

Don’t forget to sign your name, first name and last. Leave off your nickname as well.

What not to do:

Subj: Whazzzup!

Hi Greg (aka The ‘Simsters’)!

I heard you’re doing research on language stuff. I’d like to get involved. I don’t have much time though and would like to do stuff every other Tues from 3-4:45, unless there’s a basketball game. Please let me know.


Amanda (aka "Chicken Little")

p.s. I like your car!!  🙂

Much better:

Subj: Research opportunities

Dear Dr. Simpson,

I understand you are conducting research on perception and language. I would be very interested to get involved. Do you have any psych 480 opportunities?  I am a junior and am keenly interested in gaining research experience for grad school. I am a committed student, enthusiastic worker, and this experience is a priority for me.

Thank you very much in advance.

Amanda Reckonwith

Justine Kelley-Fierro is an Academic Advisor in the Department of Applied Psychology

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