Like everyone else, academic supervisors have gone electronic. Despite one-on-one office hours with students, they are also quite willing to do email communication. Here are some of the few do’s and Don’ts you should keep at your finger tips of before clicking your ‘Send’ button;
- Salutations matter. Don’t “Ms” or “Mr”, if you are unsure. The safest way to survive is “Dear professor so and so”. This will save you time by finding out whether the academic supervisor has a PhD or not.
- Be clear and precise. If possible, number your questions, in order to remain as succinct and focus as possible. Avoid emailing questions that are multifaceted and elaborated, as you can keep those for in-person office hours.
- Avoid checking spelling mistakes and look like a doofus. Therefore, consider proofreading and spell checking your e-mail before you send them to your proposed supervisor.
- Avoid using IM-ing. Do not “wrte 2 yo prof lik ur txtn”. Keep these short words for your friends on Facebook and other forms of social media.
- Signatures and signoffs count. Always “Regard” your academic supervisor while closing your email. This is a special way of thanking you proposed supervisor for taking her or his time.
- Always acknowledge. Learn to acknowledge your supervisor in case you got the answers, reference or handout you asked for.
- No one really likes smileys and emoticons. It is less official.
- This is miles away from RateMyProfessors.com. Wait for end semester evaluations, where you will have all the freedom to spout off professors’ performance. What am I saying? Avoid commenting your supervisor’s performance in emails.
- Emails go where it is directed. Do a double check to see if the right address appears in the “To” line. Just because your dad and your academic supervisor are both named “Steven” is no guarantee to send him an informal mail.
- E-mail is not Facebook. Don’t miss interpret your relationship with your professors to be similar to that of your friend’s. Never “poke” your proposed supervisor.
- Academic Supervisors may not open “ firstname.lastname@example.org” emails. Since they may have even 25 to 30 emails to open check in a day. He prioritizes reputable addresses such as @cruddyUniversityE-mailSystem.edu.com. Don’t be surprised if he ends up not reading mails from such nasty addresses.
- Don’t lay your email too thick. Winding up with a commanding brown nose in your E-mail is one thing; it is another thing to remain friendly and polite in your E-mail.
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