How To Email a Professor in 2023: Tips And Mistakes To Avoid

How to Email Professors in 2022
Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Content Writer At Gradehacker

How To Email a Professor: Must-Know Tips

There is a moment in any college student’s life when the only way to clear your doubts is to send an email to professors.

Whether you can actually meet them on campus or barely have any idea of who they are because you are taking online courses, knowing how to write a message to your professor is key if you want to get clear answers while maintaining a good and professional image.

While it may sound like an easy task at first, the truth is that hundreds of students don’t know how to send effective and professional emails to their teachers. You need to have many things in mind, like your tone and the clarity of your message.

And you are about to learn them.

Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional student’s most trusted resource. Today, we’ll show you all the tips and tricks you need to know to send the best emails to college professors, including some email samples you can have as a reference.

Tip Before Writing: Check The Class Syllabus First

You might not need to send an actual email to your professor.

If you have questions regarding assignments, reading material, exam dates, or anything more related to class content, there is a high chance you can clear your doubts by checking the class syllabus first.

It’s annoying for professors to receive questions that students could have answered by taking a look at the class material. And they let us know it’s annoying by sending cold emails that, instead of addressing our doubt, simply say: “it’s on the syllabus.”

Trust us. You won’t like receiving an email like this.

So, read the course requirements as many times as you need. If, after checking the syllabus and the assignment prompt, you still don’t understand something, then you can go ahead and send an email.

Structure Of Your Email

While the content and questions will vary depending on what you need, we highly recommend this structure to write an email for your professor.

  1. Salutation
  2. A reminder of who you are
  3. Clearly state your request
  4. Specify what action you are expecting from your professor
  5. Salutation

We’ll explain better how to write these sections and what you need to have in mind within the following tips.

How to Email Professors in 2022

Write Your Email In a Text Editor

Why would you write your message in a text editor like Google Docs or Microsoft Word when you can easily write it directly within your email platform?

Because you don’t want to have any grammatical mistakes!

Or can you imagine what your teachers would think if they found a spelling mistake or incorrect wording in your email? It wouldn’t be something good; we can assure you that.

Formulating your email in a more robust text editor with integrated grammar checkers ensures your message will be free of errors.

We also recommend using a writing app like Grammarly or ProWritingAid to enhance your text even more. You can also install any of their free chrome extensions that review anything you write on external platforms, including Gmail.

You can find more about these great writing apps in our direct comparison or our in-depth review.

Identify Yourself

Most of the time, professors have busy lives with other jobs besides teaching college classes. Plus, they meet dozens of students every year, so it makes sense that they don’t always remember every person who comes across their path.

You can’t just email them and hope they can remember your name from your email address or your profile picture. Unless you’ve met your professor and developed a real relationship, you need to make sure you clearly identify yourself.

The first thing you need to do is use your academic email account. You’ll stand out in their inbox, which avoids falling into the spam section, and demonstrates you are maintaining a professional tone.

Then, at the beginning of your message you’ll have to include :

Be Formal And Polite

While being polite is something you should incorporate in any (or most) aspects of your personal life, here, it’s important to remember that you are not chatting with a friend; you are communicating with a professional who deserves your respect.

You’ll have to write in a formal tone to maintain a good image and prove that you are already behaving like a professional in your field.

As usual, you must salute your professor at the beginning and the end of your message.

When you are starting your email, don’t use “Hi” or “Hey.” These can be too casual or informal greetings. Think you are writing a letter. Use “Dear,” but if you don’t want to sound too formal, you can use “Hello.”

Since it’s likely you don’t know much about their personal life, it’s better to avoid terms like “Mrs.” or “Miss.” You can address your teacher as “Professor,” but if you know they have a Doctorate degree, you can refer to them as “Dr.”

And please, make sure you are not spelling your professor’s last name wrong!

These formal rules apply to the conclusion. You’ll have to write “Sincerely” or “Best” and follow it with a comma and your full name.

How to Email Professors in 2022

Be Clear, Concise, and Straightforward

As we already mentioned, most professors have busy lives. So, you need to write your email as easy to understand as possible.

First of all, you need to have a subject line that clearly addresses what you’ll be asking.

Within your email, you have to be as concise as possible.

After saluting your teacher and reminding them who you are, go straight to the point and state your request. Ideally, this shouldn’t take more than one paragraph with two or three sentences.

Make your polite request and directly state what you want your professor to answer or do.

We also recommend asking when you are expecting their response. As long as you are not writing outside their office hours, professors don’t usually take too much time to respond. However, if you have an urgent question, adding when you need their reply is key if you expect them to reply promptly.

If you need to know their answer ASAP, you can write something like, “I’d really appreciate it if you could let me know at your earliest convenience.”

How To Follow Up On Your Email

After you send your email, you’ll have to wait for your professor to reply.

If they answer you in a decent time, don’t just leave their response hanging; let them know you’ve received it! A simple “thank you” will be more than enough. 

Now, if a few days have gone by and they still haven’t answered, there is a chance they read your email and forgot to reply or that your message was lost in their inbox.

So, you’ll have to send a follow-up email. Don’t take for granted that they forgot to answer. You can write something like:

Hello Professor Michaels,

I’m just following up on my previous email. I was wondering if you had the time to check it.

Let me know your answer at your earliest convenience.

Thank you very much.


John Doe

What if the reply you get isn’t answering your question?

Don’t be afraid to point out what part of their response you do not understand, reformulate your question, or add more context that could help your professor understand your doubt.

How to Email Professors in 2022

Email Templates

Here are a few email samples that you can consider when writing the most common requests.

Question About Assignments

Subject: Question about Business 1B Class Assignment

Dear Professor Michaels,

I am John Doe, from your Business 1B class.

I’m facing some difficulties choosing a topic for my research paper. These are the subjects I’m currently considering:

  • How Amazon used technology to be a pioneer in digital markets and shape how customers would expect these websites to be
  • How Coca-Cola used Christmas to advertise its product and significantly increase its sales during that time
  • How McDonald’s built its top place in the market by earning a significant portion of its revenue from rental payments

Could you please let me know what you think about these topics and if you consider them suitable for the assignment?

Thank you very much.


John Doe

Question About Grades

Subject: Business 1B: Inquiry about my grades

Dear Professor Michaels,

I am John Doe, from your Business 1B class.

I am writing to let you know that there was a problem with the grade of last week’s writing assignment. The score on the assignment section is 93 (A), while the grades section shows 83 (B.)

I was hoping you could help me resolve this mistake.

I look forward to your reply.


John Doe

Question About Class Attendance

Subject: Business 1B: Inquiry about my attendance

Dear Professor Michaels,

I am John Doe, from your Business 1B class.

I am writing to let you know that I’m having a problem with class attendance. Even though I attended and even participated in class yesterday, the portal shows as “unattended.”

I was wondering if you could revise this problem and correct it.

Thank you.


John Doe

Write The Most Effective Emails To Your Professors

Writing concise and easy-to-read emails to your professors is more important than it looks.

If you want to have your questions answered and demonstrate respect and professionalism, it’s critical that you follow the tips we listed.

Plus, it will create a good image of you to your professor. By showing how great and capable of a student you are, in the future, this professor can be an awesome source to write an outstanding letter of recommendation that will help you stand out and succeed in your career.

If you are looking for more tips to thrive even more in your college classes, check out our related blog posts:

Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea is a curious and creative journalist who first helped many college students as a Gradehacker consultant in subjects like literature, communications, ethics, and business. Now, as a Content Creator in our blog, YouTube channel, and TikTok, he assists non-traditional students improve their college experience by sharing the best tips. You can find him on LinkedIn.