Veronica With Four Eyes

Ten Form Emails To Send To Your Professors

Many of my friends have come to me for advice about how to email professors or ask if an email they have written makes sense. Often times, I see that my friends are writing emails that are filled with rambling, unnecessary apologies, or too much information for someone to understand. After I work with them for a few minutes, we create a whole new email that contains the essential information and ensures their request can be fulfilled. Here are ten form emails to send to your professors based on actual emails my friends and I have sent through the years that you can modify as needed.

Information about technical difficulties

There have been times where I had trouble with my computer or using assistive technology to complete an assignment on time, or I was worried that technical difficulties would cause me to miss a deadline. At one point, the technical issue involved my entire student account so I had to send the email to my professor from a non-school related email account. In order to verify my identity, I included my student identification number, though I did have a professor that requested a photo of my student ID and a random object on the table for extra verification.

Sample email

Dear Professor,

I am currently dealing with a technical issue related to my desktop computer and how it interacts with my screen magnification software. I am getting an Error 1600 message, which means that my computer is enlarged 1600% and it’s impossible for me to see anything on the screen. I have an appointment with the assistive technology department to troubleshoot this issue tomorrow, but I wanted to let you know what was going on in case the issue takes longer to resolve.

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Requesting a specific placement

When organizing for group projects or trying to figure out a time to present a project, most professors are happy to ensure that you are able to complete assignments or present on a timeline that works well for you. I have had no problems getting professors to let me go first/last in a presentation or make sure that I am in a group with someone who is used to helping me with assistive technology. While these instances are rare, professors are also understanding if you request not to work with a specific student, and often don’t need a detailed reason as to why

Sample email

Dear Professor,

For Project 2, is it okay if I work in a group with this friend and not this other person? This friend is used to reading things out loud for me, and we will be more successful if we don’t have to spend valuable project time trying to troubleshoot assistive technology and instead can focus on learning the material.

In addition, I will need to present first on the presentation day as I will not be in class for the last 15 minutes due to a meeting.

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Asking for an extension

I don’t always ask for extensions, but when I do, I make sure that it is for a relatively short amount of time and typically connected to another issue. My most common request is for a twelve hour extension, which I have never had a professor turn down, though I have requested a longer extension on certain projects if the reason I am requesting an extension is due to illness.

Sample email

Dear Professor,

My computer is currently displaying an Error 1600 message and I am having trouble submitting my essay. Is it ok if I get a 12 hour extension and submit it by noon tomorrow so I can go troubleshoot my computer? Alternatively, I can bring you a printed version of the assignment to your office on my way to my 10:30 class tomorrow morning.

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Documenting illness or injury

I’m great at writing these emails, partially because I have an unpredictable chronic illness. I tend to send these emails from the emergency room or wherever I am, but you don’t have to do that- just send it at your earliest convenience.

Sample email

Dear Professor,

I am currently in the hospital and will be having my appendix removed at 7 am tomorrow. I will not be in class on Monday, and will need to reschedule my midterm exam as I will be resting at home. I expect to return to campus in two weeks.

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Documenting planned absence

If you are having a planned absence from classes that has nothing to do with illness or injury, I recommend writing the email at least two weeks before you leave. If there’s an academic reason you will be missing class, make sure to mention that too.

Sample email

Dear Professor,

I will not be in class from September 24 or September 26th as I will be attending the Grace Hopper Celebration for women in computing. I will turn in all assignments due for the week before I leave for Texas. Please let me know if there is anything else I need to do for class that week.

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Sharing information about a Disability Services file

At the beginning of each semester, I share my Disability Services file information with my professors in a short email. I prefer to go over this information on the first day of class, but I do write a short summary of my condition and ask for confirmation on the textbook ISBN so I can make sure it is available in an accessible copy.

Sample email

Dear Professor,
My name is Veronica, and I am in this section of that class. I have a file with Office of Disability Services and a 504 plan for low vision and testing accommodations. I need materials in a digital format so that I can enlarge them to a font size I can read. This will not be needed for exams, as I will be taking tests in the Office of Disability Services testing center. I also use various other assistive technologies, which I will bring on the first day. I’ve attached my faculty information sheet which contains additional information about my accommodations.

Before the semester starts, may I get the name/ISBN of the textbooks and other materials for the semester? I want to make sure I can have them in an accessible format for the first day of class.

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Questions about grades

Once upon a time, I was losing my mind trying to figure out how I got a 10% on an assignment I had worked on for hours. While I didn’t completely eliminate the possibility that I misunderstood the assignment, a quick clarifying email to the professor confirmed that there was an error in the grading system and I actually received a 100% on the assignment.

Sample email

Dear Professor,

I noticed on the course website that I received a 10/100, or 10%, on Homework 9. Can you confirm if this is the correct grade?

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Requesting extra help

While I pride myself on being able to find the answer to almost any homework question online, there have been moments where I just stared at the screen and wondered how I was supposed to approach a particular problem. Instead of telling the professor I am confused over everything, I like to narrow down the problem to the specific concept I don’t understand and see if they can help. Some professors prefer that students contact the class assistant or TA for homework help, but the email format remains the same.

Sample email

Dear Professor,

On Question 9 of Homework 6, I can’t figure out how to eliminate 25% of the population. I have tried using the subtraction function and multiplying the population by 0.75, but neither of these things are working and it shows the population is unchanging. Do you have any tips on how to solve this? Alternatively, we can talk about this in office hours.

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Looking for internships or on-campus jobs

One of my friends got a really interesting internship at the university by asking their professor if they knew of any local internships or on-campus jobs for students in this department or major. This gives students great experience and allows them to find internships without having to travel all the way across the country- unless they want to!

Sample email

Dear Professor,

I’m currently looking for a Spring 2019 or Summer 2020 internship or on campus job related to data science or assistive technology. Do you know of any companies or departments I should look into?

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Getting into a waitlisted class

Many professors have the power to issue overrides for students to enroll in their classes, assuming prerequisites are met. I used this method when I was trying to get into a Python class and the professor was happy to force add me to their class roster so I could get access to the course website.

Sample email

Dear Professor,

I’m a data science major and am interested in taking CDS 123 (class identification number 123456), but I am currently unable to enroll. Are you able to manually add me to the class if I send my student identification number?

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Final thoughts

Learning how to write concise and specific emails has been a valuable skill for me to learn in college. My friends joke that I could probably get the keys to every university building if I asked nicely in an email, and I responded by telling them that as long as they write with a purpose, ask specifically for the keys, and state a reason for why they need them and how it will help them to be successful, they too can achieve the same thing.

Ten Form Emails To Send To Your Professors. How to unapologetically ask your professors for help over email and get what you want

 

 

 

 



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