My protest against casual emails (“I’m throwing your application away” Part II)

Too often I receive emails from students who want my help regarding admissions, retention issues, fellowships, etc., and the email starts with: “Hey Renetta” or just plain “Hey” or “I want … ” without any kind of salutation whatsoever.  (Sigh!) What happened to “Dear Dr. Tull” or “Dear Ms. Tull” or something other than “Hey!” ???  I wish that I could say that I am so popular that people from all over the world feel like they are my close friends such that we can just be casual, but I am not that naive.  Ladies and gentlemen (students), you MUST learn to be more professional with your correspondences. Please note that I will not recommend you to my faculty if your email is not professional. If you send me an unprofessional email, I may not throw it away (unlike my colleague who inspired the “sexyhotdude@_____.___” post on this website), but I may ask you to re-write it.

For those students who will write to me or to any of my colleagues, at any university, or in any industry, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Write your email as if you are writing a formal letter. Start with “Dear Dr. ____________”, and end with “Sincerely, __________” or something similar.
  2. Check  (and re-check) your spelling
  3. Check (and then re-check) your grammar
  4. Make sure that your subjects and verbs agree
  5. Re-read your email for clarity.

In summary, if you are sending a message to a professor, your supervisor, an administrator, or your mentor, especially if you are approaching someone for the first time, please, remember the professional written formalities.

Categories: All

5 replies »

  1. Dr. Tull, You are so right in correcting this lack of business writing sense. It is unfortunate that this exists at the graduate and post-graduale level. In all correspondence, students should be “acting as if” they have a position in a firm or corporation. It is also unfortunate that social networking has perpetuated this sense of “familiarity.” Students, in writing, must differentiate “social” vs. “college/business” contacts.


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