How to Address Professors

By Maria Martinez

“Professor”? “Mr. or Mrs.”? “First name or last name”? As the semester kicks into high gear, students often find themselves asking the same question: how should I address my professors?

Here are a few steps that will help you establish communication with your professors without worrying.


1. BE FORMAL

Always use a proper greeting when emailing a professor, even if you know the instructor personally or professionally. Always begin an email with “dear” and address them by the name you would use if you were speaking to them in person.

2. SPECIFY

Identify yourself by first and last name and specify which class you are taking before diving into specifics. Remember, professors often teach more than one class and sometimes have hundreds of students.

3. BE THOROUGH

Any time you send an email, you should have two things in mind: goal and audience. Your audience here is a professor, who is an authority figure. Whatever your goal may be, you will want to anticipate any questions the professor may have and incorporate the information into your message.

4. PROOFREAD

The final and most important step in the process is proofreading. You must ensure that you come across as professional. An email full of errors and faulty sentence structure is sure to annoy a busy professor. Make sure the message is clear and easy to read.

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