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A Guide to Email Professors: Mistakes to Avoid

A reference guide to email professors and avoiding common mistakes

Many students who apply for various scholarships have to email professors to get acceptances/consent letters. Also, many scholarships make it mandatory to contact professors and get an acceptance letter to apply for the scholarship. For example, DAAD Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarship, CSC Scholarship, etc. requires that you have an acceptance letter in hand at the time of application. To get an acceptance letter, you must email professors as email is the de-facto standard in academic communication. In writing an effective email, you should follow some rules and norms and to make your email impact and fulfill its purpose i.e, to get a positive reply for the Professor.

Whenever you need to email professors to get consent letters, bear in mind that Professors are quite busy and normally don’t reply to email outside of their acquaintance circle. So, in order to get a reply, you must write a concise and effective email. Here are some tips for you to write that email. I am writing down my little guide on HOW TO REACH OUT TO THE PROFESSORS? And I am sure, if anyone follows it, will be able to get a response.

Mistakes to Avoid When You Email Professors

I have evaluated an email sample and have pointed our various mistakes and errors that you must avoid when you email Professors yourself. The email we’ve analyzed is full of the mistakes as mentioned in the following subsections.

You may want to read: A sample and completed Fulbright scholarship application of a successful Fulbrighter

Detailed Analysis of a Sample Email to Professors

Here we’ve presented a sample email in which an aspirating candidate as contacted a professor and asked for a connset letter. We have broken down the sample email and have pointed out the mistakes in following sections.

Mistakes to Avoid when email professors - A sample email
Mistakes to Avoid when email professors – A sample email

You may read: A guide to write personal statement with sample

1. Missing a formal salutation

Greeting sir? That’s not a right way to address your potential supervisor. It demonstrates disrespect for professors to receive an email without proper courtesy. They have worked hard to be at a position of professor that’s why always use salutation and name with a title such as Dear Dr._____ or Dear Prof._____.

2. Personal pronoun mistakes

The personal pronoun ‘I’ is always written with a capital letter in standard English. How can someone write ‘i’ in a formal email? Never write ‘i’ in a formal email, it indicates that you don’t have sufficient English language skills. Professors are looking for candidates that have good command in English for understanding literature and writing the research papers.

3. Avoid Requesting in the First Sentence when you Email Professors

Avoid asking a professor for supervision in the first sentence without proper introduction and demonstrating that you are a well-qualified and suitable person for the professor’s lab. First of all, you have to emphasize your skills and expertise that the professor is looking for. After that, you can request for supervision.

4. Ambiguous research interests

The word ‘field’ is a wide area of research and branch of study. You have to select the specific keywords here. At a time, professors are working on many different topics. You have to mention a few research interests which are relevant to your expertise and professor’s research area.

5. Complete name of research group

Always write full name of the research group. It will show that you are not sending the same email to multiple professors.

6. Specify university name

Never forget to write the full name of the university and avoid using abbreviations. If you don’t specify university name, it means that you are sending similar emails to professors of other universities as well. Professors have a lot of experience and they can easily understand either this email is specially written for him/her or it’s a generic email. They only respond to the emails which shows that the applicant is motivated and his/her email isn’t generic.

7. Mistakes in mentioning work experience

I have worked in two top Oil Refineries. Firstly, how the professor will know that the refineries were the top ones? Always write the complete name of your workplace.

Another mistake is, I had a wonderful industrial experience. Where it is mentioned in an email that the applicant has learned anything from his/her jobs?

You should relate your skill set and work experience with the current projects and research area of professor.

8. Don’t sound desperate when you Email Professors

Don’t write the word ‘soon’ in the first email. This shows that the candidate is desperate that’s why professor even doesn’t bother to reply.

9. Avoid being annoying

It again shows that the applicant is impatient and will make your email annoying. Once, you introduced yourself properly. Next, you have to highlight your potential and relate it professor’s ongoing research projects. In the end, you can politely request for supervision but don’t sound like you are begging.

Final Words on Email Professors

I hope you’ve liked our simple tips on emailing professors to acquire an acceptance letter for a scholarship. You may find our comprehensive guide on sending emails to professors useful for further reading.

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Muhammad Sarwar

Muhammad Sarwar is an Electrical Engineer by profession and a blogger by passion. He loves to teach and share knowledge. He's a Fulbright scholarship awardee. He reads books, play games, blogs and program in his spare time.

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