Interfacing with your college professor College Life / Suddenly Single

Hello everyone:

This blog is about interacting with your online or face-to-face college professor in a way that will save you both a lot of time.

When you email the prof, make sure that you state clearly in which one of his or her classes you are enrolled. We waste valuable time either looking up your enrollment or asking you via return email which course you are taking.

Next, make sure you think about your email before you send it. I had a senior in college ask me recently what a Table of Contents was. The individual had to put it in the final project for the course and apparently never noticed that there was a Table of Contents in every college textbook she had used. (They also appear in magazines- had she really never read People?)

Understand that some professors do not reply to your reply emails. They think it saves them time, which it does, but what that means to you is that you should not ask any question you want answered in your reply to his or her reply. Start a new email chain or say in your first email that you will have additional questions, depending on the answer you receive from this email.

Make sure that you communicate with the professor in the manner which he or she requested. For example, at one of the colleges where I teach, I ask students to only email me via the college’s regular email system. We also have a means of communicating via the class interface, but the platform we are using is new to the college and there are some bugs that need to be worked out. Therefore, I only want to hear from students via regular email.

I have a rule that I will respond to students within 24 hours. If they do not hear from me, it is because I did not get the email. Not all professors are like that, but I believe in replying asap. Even if I do not know something, I will still reply and tell you that I am working on your request. Check the spelling of the professor’s name and make sure that you are using the correct email address before you get mad that you never got a reply.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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