There are many reasons that students will want college personnel to have a good impression of them. Everyone who works for a college assists students in some way: professors assign studentsí grades, academic advisors advocate for students with educational decisions, career counselors help students select majors and facilitate job-search preparation, residential directors help students with life issues, etc. College staff members may be willing to provide extra assistance to students who act respectfully. College staff members are also potential references for students seeking employment or acceptance into a graduate program. Students who act respectfully will be more likely to obtain a positive reference.
In most cases, students want college personnel to have a good impression of them and are aware that they need to behave appropriately for this to happen. When talking with college personnel on the telephone or interacting with them in person, students are usually polite and well spoken. However, this professional behavior does not always transfer through email.
Students often consider email to be an informal form of communication. They often use shortcuts and unconventional grammar. While this might be appropriate when email friends and family, it might communicate a lack of respect and professionalism when emailing college personnel. . Of course, using professional email etiquette is good practice for emailing in the workplace.
To communicate respectfully with college personnel, follow the list of doís and doníts below:
Use short and informative subject lines
It's helpful for the reader's easy reference.
Begin your emails with a proper greeting
Start with the proper prefix followed by their last name (e.g., Ms. Smith, Dr. Johnson, Professor Weber, etc.).
Be mindful of the tone of your email. It is difficult to convey tone in writing therefore, it is even more important that be sure your email is polite.
Use complete sentences
All sentences should contain a noun and a verb. Using complete sentences helps the reader be able to understand your email more easily.
Do use proper grammar
This also helps readers understand your emails.
Use proper punctuation
End questions with question marks and other sentences with periods. Include commas when needed. If you are uncertain where to place a comma, a good rule of thumb to follow is to take a breath when you speak the sentence.
End your emails with your first and last name
Include your first and last name at the end of an email so itís easy for them to know who sent the email. For emails to professors also include the course and section you are in for their reference (e.g., PSY 101 Sec 3 or PSY 101.03).
Donít use unconventional capitalization
Using all capital letters is hard to read and is considered shouting in email.
Using lower-case letters for proper nouns (such as ďiĒ for ďIĒ) or to begin sentences comes across as lazy and cutesy. Neither of these are qualities that you would want to be labeled.
Donít use unconventional spelling
Do not use short cuts such as shorter spellings, such as ďthruĒ for ďthrough.Ē
Donít use foul language
This is just inappropriate for professional emails.
Donít include anything that you would not want published or shared
You never know who may end up seeing your email.
Donít say mean things about others
Even when you are making a complaint about others, do it politely. Donít refer to someone as using derogatory names such as ďstupid.Ē
Donít use emoticons
They look immature and unprofessional.
Donít send an email you havenít read first
Proofread your email messages before you send them.
It is important for college students to follow these suggestions for writing email messages to college personnel in order to make positive impression. Having college personnel think well of the students is not only important while the student is attending college, but it is also important for students who are seeking positive references for employment or graduate school admission.