Monday, October 15, 2012

Paul & Gabby's Tip of the Week: Communicating Professionally

Last week we told you all to get out there and meet your professors.  Well, communicating with your professors in a professional way is just as important as meeting with them in the first place.  Here's some advice to consider before your setting up your meeting:

When contacting your professors through email, you want to come across as a student wanting to make an appointment with them, not the professor’s best friend. Make sure you include a subject title. A professor may not even read your email if there’s no subject! Don’t start off the email with something informal like “Heyyyy”, but also keep it casual so it doesn’t seem as though you are scared of them! A good way to start an email is “Dear Professor Carmichael,”. Don’t assume they know who you are (especially large classes), so give them your full name, your student ID number, and let them know what class of theirs you are in. Write in simple words as to why you are emailing them or need to meet with me, and don’t forget about good grammer and spelling! No one wants to read a poorly written email…especially your professors!

Once you have made a time to meet with them, make sure you actually go. Get there even a little before the appointment begins. Their office might be hidden away in some floor of some building and you might not be able to find it right away resulting in you being late (been there, done that). All of our time is valuable and not showing up to an appointment can show the professor that you don’t care about their time and their class. You probably won’t be getting much help from them if you never even show up. If you get sick or realize you have to work during the time you made your appointment, just let your professor know as soon as possible and try to re-schedule. While intimidating sometimes, professors are also understanding of student circumstances.

Continually meeting with professors will get easier and easier. One of our own peer advisors, Tyler, developed a great, professional connection with a professor of a lower level course. By emailing, meeting, and chatting with this professor he was then able to be more successful in his upper level courses. Professors love when students come with questions or comments about their classes, so there is no need to be worried about meeting with them! Teachers are here because they care about your education, so treat them and their time with the highest respect and regard.

Interested in even more tips on contacting professors/being professional? Read Dean Dr. Kregg Strehorn’s message to students.

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