Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012
To: University of Kentucky Students
Subject: How to Write an Email
Hi College Students,
Now that you’re well into the semester, it’s time to start coordinating group projects or setting up times to meet with your professor, and maintaining professionalism in your academic relations is a must. Composing everyday email might sound basic, but you’d be surprised how many unprofessional emails are sent to fellow students, professors and supervisors. So unless you’ve taken Business Writing, here are steps to help you communicate via the virtual post office:
- Always include an appropriate subject line. Sum up the email in a few words to let the recipient know the topic.
- Address the recipient. Depending on how formal the situation, you can just type the person’s name or start with a greeting such as “Dear,” “Hello,” or “Hi,” followed with a comma or colon. (Example: Dear Ms. Supervisor: versus Fellow group members,)
- Skip spaces between paragraphs.
- Introduce yourself by course and section number. This is necessary when emailing professors and TA’s with hundreds of students.
- Get to the point and tell your reason for writing. Keep it simple and concise with as few questions as possible.
- List any attachments to the email.
- Skip a space again.
- End your letter with “Sincerely,” “Thanks,” or “Best,” again depending on the situation. Follow with your first and last name unless you have an email signature.
- Be sure to proofread before you hit send. Never abbreviate or write in all capital letters. Remember, you’re not sending a text message!
The main takeaway is to distinguish who you are and why you’re writing, as simply and clearly as possible. Because emailing is so common, it is safe to assume your recipient’s inbox is regularly flooded, so the goal of your email is to be read and understood. For further advice, please find additional tips attached at the top of this page. Good luck applying these guidelines to your future emails!