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Professor Not Responding to Email? What You Can Do to Speed Up the Process

Professor Not Responding to Email? You recently sent your professor an email to ask about a serious issue but, and it’s been over two weeks and still no 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, students don’t know how to craft emails. This is not to mean that students are culprits, but professors are not culprits either.

You are left wondering, do professors choose who to answer and who to ignore? Why can’t he respond to my email promptly? You ask. Let’s start from there, can we?

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Just like all other professionals, professors are busy bees with a whole lot of responsibilities and people waiting for answers from them. This can be overwhelming especially if prof has many classes to teach throughout the week. Students even make things more complicated by writing long and confusing emails. Yet they also want immediate responses. You see, it’s laughable to write emails that are unclear and still expect someone to respond almost immediately. Showing your professor why they should give you their time is the quickest fix to the “professor not responding to email” issue. That’s exactly what this article is all about. Read on.

State Your Name, Class, and Who Your Instructor Is

For example, you can write an email that resembles the one below:

“Hi Prof. Jean, I’m Carey Brown, and I’m in the ECON 341 Thursday class with you as the instructor”
Believe it or not, many are the students who omit their names and other details in the hopes that the don will recall who they are and what class they’re in. That can be hard because lecturers either teach many sections of the same class.

What this means is that you should at least try to jog your professor’s memory a bit so that they won’t have to hunt everything down themselves. So, make sure to tell your name, your class, and the name of your instructor in every email you shoot them. Doing that doesn’t only show that you’re eager to be helped, it also makes your professor feel happy that you’re organized, at least.

Keep Your Email Short

If you can, keep your email to your professor under five sentences. Also, strive to write simple paragraphs, that would make for a perfect email. Everyone finds it difficult trying to respond to emails with many sentences and long paragraphs. If you must write many sentences, place them in paragraphs as doing that would help the recipient immensely.

We’re saying that you should avoid creating emails that would your professor remarking thus, “My goodness, those paragraphs were too long! Were there questions in there? Was this an FYI?” While writing an email, take all the information you want to send and boil it down to just a few simple sentences.

Maybe you can say:

“Hi Prof. John, I’m Andrea Walker, and I’m on Friday at 11 am Computer class with you as the instructor. I tried to contact you but you didn’t reply. I’ve been sick throughout the week and I’ve doctor’s notes just in case you need them.
I’m also not sure about how to go about the project.”

As you can see, the email above is simple and much better. The email has already put the message across in just a few sentences. Students tend to write so many stories that the professor doesn’t need at all. Oftentimes, professors know that they can help, so there’s no point to explain non-academic stuff in your email. In simpler terms, try as much as possible to avoid sharing your personal stories, especially when it comes to academic matters.

In an age of the internet and social media, no one cares about your drinking, spouses, illnesses, arrests, and such jokes, so share less about them with your professor if you must.

Write Clear and Readable Emails

Do you realize how hard it can be trying to read through a long email? It’s even harder having to skim through to try to understand what the student wants. But it’s never too late as you can always make sure to format your email for clarity and readability. For example, you can decide to bold or italicize action items.

Hey student, feel free to italicize or bold what you want your professor to address. Also, make sure to separate the call for action from everything else- it’s helpful. This way, prof won’t have any trouble answering your email instantly because they’ll see exactly what you want.

State What You Want

Below is a sample of an email that a lecturer once received from a student:
“I failed the last two tests. It would be inconveniencing to take them in the Computer Lab. Kindly help me as I don’t want to fail in another test.”

From the email, “help me” is the call to action, but you also don’t have a clue what it means. A professor would wonder, “How exactly does this student want me to help them?”

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Then see this one:

“Hi Prof. Ambrose, I’m Ann Jane, I missed the last two tests because I work till late at night and the Computer Lab closes at 6 PM. Is it possible that I can do the tests next week? Thank you.”

If you want to send an email with lots of information, it will consume a lot of space, so you should find a way of how to put the main message across. For example, you can place the call to action before the opening of the email.

Be Reasonable

Just like in any other request, it’s overly important to be reasonable. You see, it’s easier to discard an email in 10 seconds than to set aside a lot of your precious time trying to respond to it, right?

A “why did I fail?” question to a professor would mean that he or she would need to conduct a lot of background research to know everything about you. As a result, the answer to that question would be never. Simple. Or “you failed because you failed”.

Instead, a student can rather ask something about the grading system, or such. Did you miss an assignment? Is there an external factor that caused your failure? Was the grading system fair? Is this even the right professor to talk to about this?

See how you can be reasonable.

If you can’t be specific and ask a particular question, don’t waste a lot of time typing log emails that no one will read. Instead, find some time and meet the professor in person so that you’ll have a good chance to throw him or her the smaller questions. Standing in front of the professor is even the best way to ask so many questions and explain your story much better.

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.

Clear Subject Line

This is where most students go wrong- not including the subject line. 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.

a man looking at a laptop/Professor Not Responding to Email
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.

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