A Professor Not Responding to Email can be disturbing particularly if you had something important that needed immediate feedback. But this happens man time to most college students.
You send an email trying to get clarification on a particular subject. And more than a week later, you are still waiting for a response. Well, if this rings true for you, then there’s something that’s hindering prof from responding to your email almost instantly. Maybe you erred somewhere or they’re doing it intentionally, who knows? But truth be told, most students don’t know how to craft emails. And this could be you.
You are left wondering, do professors choose who to answer and who to ignore? Why can’t he or she respond to my email promptly? You ask. Here is what you should do.
Just like all other professionals, professors are busy bees with a lot of issues to attend. Like most busy individuals, they might be having an hour or two every day to clear their inbox. The last thing you want to do is write them an unclear email that doesn’t go straight to the point. A good email that deserves prompt response from your professor looks something like this:
Clear Subject Line
An email written (No Subject) is one of the most ignored out there. To the professor, this shows that they’ll have to read your entire email before they understand what you want to say. With a subject line, the professor gets an idea of your needs before they even open the email. And a subject line doesn’t only help your professor, it also maintains the email in the “inbox” folder instead of the “spam” folder.
Keep the subject line clear and let it reflect what is in your mail. If possible include some trigger phrases to encourage them to open.
Indicate Who You Are
Your email should tell your professor who you are, which class you are in, and who your instructor is right away. That way they know whose email they are reading, where you met, and whose class you belong. Write this in the first sentence.
It doesn’t matter if you had just spoken to them a short while back. Don’t expect them to remember you. In a school setting, a professor encounters many people all the time. They might also be teaching a similar subject in various streams in that school. So keep that in mind.
That shows you truly need help and most importantly, you are an organized student.
Address the Subject Right Away
As mentioned, professors are busy, they might have hundreds of emails they’ve not read. Imagine them opening an email with an entire article, paragraph after paragraph, with long sentences. That kills morale and would most likely never be read – you won’t get a reply.
But if you write just a paragraph, packed with the relevant information, and observing proper language skills, be sure your email will be read, and an appropriate answer will follow. If you have a lot of things to say, then break the email in short paragraphs. If possible, include subtitles within so they can scheme through your writing effortlessly.
Most students get it wrong when they include non-academic stuff. Or worry too much about how the professor will understand particular sentences. Before they know it, they are explaining words and discussing points unnecessarily. It’s also easy to fall in the trap of showing your professor how much you understand his teachings and include a few lessons. Don’t do it.
Just go straight to the point. Don’t joke around, no small talk, or any other unnecessary stuff.
Write Clear and Readable Emails
Reading a long email is hard. And when it’s not written clearly, it’s even harder. That’s why you need to make your email as clearly as possible. That means using simple language, bolding important points, using italics, and so on. One of the ways to use language clearly is by installing a language app like Grammarly on your computer or phone to correct help you express yourself accordingly.
When your email has a call to action, it’s easier for the reader to respond to your need. The best part is that you can place it in the subject line. Be clear and exact about this.
If you want the professor to address several subjects, don’t write multiple emails. Put them in one email but make sure you number them appropriately. Start with the most important.
Don’t Cross Limits With Your Requests
Just like you wouldn’t request your parents for something they can’t afford, the same way you need to know what your professor can do to help your education. That’s why you need to stick to academic matters and nothing more. Ask reasonable questions that are related to what they teach.
Even better, provide questions that they would be eager to answer. These are often questions about the current subject you are handling. Avoid going personal unless you are very close. For instance, they might have missed a class… Don’t go into asking where they were and such.
If your questions are not important or can wait till you meet face to face, then just wait. Afterall when you meet, you can ask both important and small questions. If they have time, you can even throw in your story.
Address Professor Appropriately
Yet another thing that needs your attention is how you address people. Since you’re emailing a professor, it’s helpful to use a formal salutation. You see, it’s good to recognize prof’s professional status. This means that you should address him or her correctly, putting their title into account.
Avoid making use of irritating titles such as “Mrs.” that assume the professor’s gender roles and marital status. Simply use titles that can make prof notice that you used your time and effort to address them correctly.
Maintain a Professional Tone
Professors hate it when you open your email with a “hi” and go on to narrate your stories to the end. We can all agree that writing that way isn’t professional at all, right?
Work on your tone- keep the language and tone a bit professional. That means that you shouldn’t add any emoji and other jokes.
Also, avoid demanding something from a prof at all costs- it would get you nowhere. Instead, make a request politely. We’re talking of using such statements as, “Please” “I’d appreciate” “much thanks”, and such.
Professor Not Responding to Email Still? Follow Up
Following all the above principles doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a response. You need to follow up on the emails you sent, of course after giving your professor ample time to respond to emails. Why should you make a follow-up?
First of all, professors receive lots of emails daily. They may also be unavailable, or your mail hasn’t yet made it to their inbox. Also, avoid emailing your professor on weekends or holidays.
As usual, use the principles above when creating follow up emails. That being said, we’re done looking at the surest way to fix “professor not responding to email” and have them respond almost instantly. It’s just all about effective communication and email etiquette. Simple.