The Art of Email

Composing a proper email isn’t just vital for making a proper impression on your professors; it’s a skill that’s necessary post-graduation as well, no matter what field or profession you choose to pursue. College is all about skill-building, improving, and yes, learning from your mistakes, so if you’re not adept at email composition quite yet, have no fear: these tips will give you the direction you need to hone your message-writing skills:

• Check your email every day: At least. Far too many college students neglect checking their email on a regular basis, but it’s scouring for new messages is crucial to academic success. Not all emails to your school account are newsletters or ads from your bookstore, so be sure to check them before immediately pressing ‘delete’: they very well may be about a change in classroom location, a paper extension, or an important club meeting reminder.
• Answer immediately: As tempting as it is to put off email duty for another time, if you delay answering emails, you will forget. If you’re absolutely crunched for time, flag the email for later so that you actually get back to it.
• Include a solid subject line: Make sure it says, in brief, what your email’s contents are. Use proper grammar and punctuation as always. If it’s an urgent email, make sure that comes across clearly.
• Begin appropriately: You don’t need to start an email with “Dear sir or madam” for a casual message to a professor or classmate, but it’s important to include a friendly and appropriate greeting. Something as simple as “Hello,” or “Professor Jones,” is all that’s really necessary.
• Identify yourself: Unless you know the recipient and you know the recipient knows you, make sure to include a sentence explaining who you are. If it’s for a class, include the name of the class and section to make your professor’s job a bit easier.
• Compose a professional signature: Format your email program to have an automatic signature. Make sure it includes your first and last name, your graduating year, phone number, and any titles you’d like to go by. For
• Write well: Simple as that. Write in complete sentences, include an opening and closing sentence, don’t use texting abbreviations, use proper grammar—remember, your professors will judge you, so stay aware. And always spell-check before pressing ‘send.’ Not sure about how your email sounds? Read it aloud and make sure it’s conversational, or ask a friend to give it a look first.

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