How To End An Email To A Professor (20 Tips) (2023)

How To End An Email To A Professor (20 Tips) (1)

Knowing proper etiquette when addressing your professor is important for college survival.

Coming off too casual can make you seem disrespectful.

That doesn’t bode well for your grades or your experience in their class.

Part of learning proper etiquette is knowing how to write an email to your professor.

Here are 20 tips you need to know about ending an email to your professor.

How To End An Email To A Professor (20 Tips)

1. Don’t Use Caps

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When you’re writing your signature or ending paragraph to your professor, you should never use caps.

Even if you’re excited about something or want to draw their attention to a certain phrase, using caps can make you seem like you’re yelling.

It’s an easy way to offend your professor or belittle them unknowingly.

Because text is difficult to interpret without context or verbal syntax, using caps makes you seem angry.

Stick with normal text sizes when you’re composing your email.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP. The syllabus WASN’T CLEAR on the issue. I look forward to SEEING YOU IN CLASS.

Best,

John

As you can see, some of the phrases that John capitalizes make him seem unprofessional.

He may be trying to convey his eternal and sincere gratitude in the first sentence, but he only comes off as amateurish.

The rest of the closer makes him seem as though he’s accusing the professor.

He comes off angry and aggressive.

Again, he may be trying to highlight the problem he had with the syllabus and reinforcing his enthusiasm to attend class, but he comes off as threatening more than anything else.

Here’s an example of how you should write the closer:

Thanks so much for your help. The syllabus wasn’t clear on the issue. I look forward to seeing you in class.

Best,

John

By removing the caps, the closer immediately looks far more professional.

John appears sincere and genuine.

When writing your closing paragraph, don’t use caps.

2. Don’t End With An Emoji

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Thanks to the rise of texting on smartphones, there’s also been a rise in the use of emojis.

Emojis can be fun to use to help emphasize a particular emotion that you’re feeling.

They’re silly and fun to see.

However, they’re not meant for professional emails that you send to your professor.

If you want to make yourself look childish to your professor, then include an emoji.

If you want to maintain your professor’s respect, then exclude the use of emojis.

Emojis don’t only look unprofessional, but they can make your email difficult to read.

That’s because it breaks up your text, and its flow, too much.

When a reader encounters an emoji, part of their brain has to temporarily stop reading the text to process the emoji.

What does it represent within the context of the text?

That’s asking too much of the professor who already has to respond to another 50 emails.

Keeping the emojis out of your closing paragraph, even in your signature, can help them read through your email quickly and respond faster.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

That problem was difficult (angry face emoji). I appreciate you taking the time to help me out with it (thumbs up emoji), (heart emoji).

Best,

Mary

Although Mary wishes to convey the relief she experienced after the professor helped her with a problem, the way in which she does so only makes her seem like a child.

Removing the emojis will make her seem more professional.

Here’s an example of what the sentence should look like instead:

That problem was difficult. I appreciate you taking the time to help me out with it.

Best,

Mary

This sentence seems more genuine because it doesn’t use emojis that transform it into a caricature.

Don’t include emojis in your ending paragraph in your email if you want your professor to take you seriously.

3. Avoid Using Text Language

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Along with the rise of emojis is also the rise of text language.

In an effort to speed up communication, many words use abbreviations or other shorthand substitutions.

While these changes are acceptable on a platform where communication is fast-paced, it doesn’t translate to a professional email well.

It may seem like using these phrases will make your email faster and easier to read, but that isn’t the case.

Using text language in a professional email requires the professor to work extra hard to translate that language.

It’s faster and easier to say what you mean.

It’s also important to know your audience.

Many professors are still those who grew up without smartphones in their homes.

They don’t always know the latest text jargon.

That’s especially true since users are always inventing new words.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

TYSM for showing me the schedule. I can’t believe I didn’t see it on the syllabus lol smh. I’ll have the essay for you tomorrow.

TTYL,

Larry

If a professor isn’t familiar with text language, then they may not have any idea what the student is saying in this exchange.

The use of the language also makes Larry look unprofessional and childish.

It doesn’t read as a serious student who attends university.

Here’s an example of how Larry should write the closer without text language:

Thank you so much for showing me the schedule. I can’t believe I didn’t see it on the syllabus. I’ll have the essay for you tomorrow.

Until then,

Larry

Not only does this sentence appear more genuine, but it’s a lot easier to read.

The professor doesn’t have to guess what Larry is trying to say.

Remove text language from your email closers to appear professional and sincere.

4. Refrain From Using College Slang

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Slang is another way to make yourself look unprofessional.

There are certain slang terms that college-aged individuals tend to use in common practice.

These are not terms that should show up in your professional emails.

Not only do they make you appear childish, but they can make your professor lose respect for you.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

Let me know if the extra credit is available, bro. I really need it. My grade is so crappy right now.

See you later,

Robert

There are so many things wrong with this closer.

The use of slang words like “bro,” “crappy,” and “see you later,” make the student appear lazy.

They don’t seem to be genuine about their distress about their grade.

A better way to write the sentence is as follows:

If the extra credit opportunity is available, then please let me know. I’d like to bolster my grade with it.

Thank you for your time,

Robert

This closer is contrite, reinforces the reason that Robert is contacting the professor, and removes unnecessary slang words.

It makes Robert appear professional, genuine, and respectful.

Refrain from using slang words if you want your professor to take you seriously.

5. Don’t Critique Your Professor

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An email is not the place to critique your professor.

You can always discuss their performance and capabilities as a professor at the end of term through RateMyProfessor or with the campus’ official rating system.

Critiquing your professor in your closing paragraph in your email is a quick way to offend them.

You don’t want to offend the person in charge of your grade.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

It was a stupid place to put the answer. No one is going to find it there. You should move it to the front of the booklet.

Best,

Gwen

This ending is very aggressive.

It puts the blame on the professor.

Even if the professor is the one to blame, you shouldn’t call them out on it through an email to them.

This email ender is a quick way to earn the ire of the professor.

Here’s a better way to write the email:

As a result, I think students may struggle to find the answer in its current location. A solution may be to move it somewhere earlier in the booklet.

Thank you for your time,

Gwen

In this closer, Gwen tactfully remains neutral rather than laying the blame on the professor.

She brings attention to the problem and proposes a solution without critiquing the professor in the process.

She also reinforces her respect for the professor by thanking them for their time.

Not only is this email more diplomatic, but it’s also polite and logical.

Professors will appreciate that instead of aggressive language.

6. Double-Check Spelling

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While you should always ensure that your entire email isn’t misspelled, it’s most important in your ending.

That’s because professors often skim emails and expect a concise and organized summary of your email in your closing paragraph.

Any misspelled words in your concluding paragraph can make them lose respect for you.

That’s especially true in the day and age of modern technology where there are tons of different spellcheckers available.

Many of them are available for free.

Emails usually aren’t that long.

It won’t take a lot of time to check for typos or misspelled words.

Doing so can ensure you give off a professional air to your professor.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

I’ve put together the liist of required materials for the expperiment. With you’re help, the experiment should proceed smoothly.

Thank you,

Stan

Not only are there misspelled words with this closer, but Stan also uses the incorrect word for “your.”

A professor reading this may question whether supervising their experiment is wise or not.

Stan may be an intelligent student who was in a hurry to write this email.

The lack of proofreading, however, might cost him an opportunity to run a sponsored experiment.

A better way to write the ending is:

I’ve put together the list of required materials for the experiment. With your help, the experiment should proceed smoothly.

Thank you,

Stan

The corrected version of the closer reads easier and looks better.

It doesn’t seem as though a child attempted to write it.

The professor is sure to feel confident going forward with Stan.

Double-check your spelling to maintain your professor’s respect.

7. Thank Them

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One of the most important things you need to include in your email’s ending is a word of thanks.

It goes a long way.

Professors are extremely busy people.

They need to grade papers, prepare for future lessons, and respond to all the emails coming into them from students.

That’s just their academic side, too.

They may be part of various studies or research opportunities, too, in their off-hours.

They’re also people with lives and families and friends outside of school.

They have obligations like everyone else.

Including a small note of gratitude for taking the time to read your email is polite and can earn you a few brownie points with the professor.

They’re sure to appreciate your email more than others who don’t express their gratitude.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

If you could send me an extra copy of the syllabus, that’d be great. I don’t know where my original copy went.

See you in class,

Piper

Piper comes off as spoiled in this closer.

She expects the professor to drop everything and give her a new syllabus.

While the professor will likely help her out, they may feel a little bitter about it.

After all, it means they have to spend time hunting down the proper file and sending it to her.

A better way to write the ending is like this:

I somehow misplaced the original syllabus and would be grateful for another copy. I’m sorry about the inconvenience this causes.

Thank you for your time,

Piper

Not only does Piper properly extend her appreciation for the professor’s effort, but she also apologizes for making the professor spend extra time on her in the process when it’s something they could avoid.

The professor is more likely to help her with the syllabus without feeling bitter about it.

Avoid making demands and always show your appreciation for your professor in the closing paragraph of your email.

It can go a long way.

8. Sign With Best Wishes

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When it comes to signing, you may feel stuck.

There are several closing lines from which to choose.

Best Wishes is a safe option when writing to your professor.

It’s a friendly phrase but still formal enough to be appropriate for a professional email.

Here’s an example of how to use it:

Thanks so much for the opportunity. It will look great on my resume.

Best wishes,

Harry

The phrase pairs well with a phrase of thanks that’s used earlier in the closer.

The pairing makes Harry seem more sincere when he’s wishing the professor all the best.

Use Best Wishes when you want to be friendly and formal with your professor.

9. Sign With Regards

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Another popular way to sign and end your email is with Regards.

Unlike Best Wishes, Regards is formal.

It isn’t quite as friendly and using it can be difficult.

It’s easy for Regards to sound inauthentic or even sarcastic.

You need to keep the tone of the rest of your email polite and friendly when you can.

Here’s an example of how to use Regards in your closing email:

I appreciate the extra time you’ve spent on me due to my injury. I’ll have the essay for you tomorrow.

Regards,

Elizabeth

Regards also couples well with a note of thanks.

It softens the use of Regards and makes it seem more polite than sarcastic.

Keep that in mind when using Regards as your closing line.

10. Sign Entire Name

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Another situation that often causes confusion among students is whether they include their full names or not.

Some may believe that the professor should know who they are.

That isn’t always the case.

A typical professor teaches several classes every term.

That class could have as few as 10 students or as many as 300 students in a lecture hall.

You should never assume that your professor knows your name.

It’s helpful to include it in your signature.

This also goes for those who use their full name in their email address.

Not all professors look at incoming email addresses to find out a student’s name.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

Regards,

Eddie

There are two problems here.

The first is that the student doesn’t sign with their full name.

The second is that they use a nickname.

The professor doesn’t know your nickname.

Here’s the best way to write your signature:

Regards,

Edward Snow

The signature is professional and tells the professor exactly who they’re speaking to.

11. Exclude Quotes And Phrases

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Often, people will put inspirational quotes or phrases that they enjoy in their signatures.

Professors don’t want to read those.

It’s an easy way to accidentally offend someone if your philosophy differs from their own.

You can keep your quote for more informal emails or on certain forums or blogs that you’re a part of, but it shouldn’t be in your email’s signature.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

Regards,

Mora Baker

“Live, Laugh, Pray.”

The professor she sends this email to may have problems with her signature’s quote.

They may not tell the student this, but it can create some ire between the professor and the student.

If you want to keep a professional and polite relationship with your professor, then remove the quote.

12. Avoid Kissing Up

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Another bad habit that students can fall into when they’re emailing their professor is kissing up.

Flattery is nice in small amounts, but you should refrain from gushing about your professor in your email to them.

Not only does it waste their time, but professors recognize it for what it is.

They won’t take kindly to it.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

You’re the best! Literally the best professor there is! I can’t wait to work as your TA!

Yours,

Benjamin Sisca

This ending can come off as both creepy and clingy.

Even if Benjamin is genuine about their excitement about taking up the position as the TA, there’s a better way to express it.

Here’s how the email ending should go:

As someone who respects your background and accomplishments, I am grateful to work as your TA.

Looking forward to our collaboration,

Benjamin Sisca

In this email closer, Benjamin acknowledges the professor’s impressive history without overdoing it.

They also succinctly express their eagerness to get to work.

Keep your professor’s respect by being polite instead of overly flattering.

13. Follow Their Example

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When you first write to your professor, you should maintain polite formalness.

When they reply to you, take a look at how they sign their emails.

This gives you an idea as to how formal or informal the professor wants to be.

If a professor signs with their first name, for example, then they’re giving you permission to use their first name.

If they sign with their full name and their credentials, then they want to be formal.

Here’s an example of how you should write a closer if the professor signed with their first name previously:

Thanks for looking into the matter for me, Bethany. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.

Best,

Lucy

Here’s an example of how you should write a closer if the professor signed with their entire name and credentials:

I appreciate your hard work, Dr. Matthews. I’ll forward you my findings when I have them.

Regards,

Timothy Brown

Both acknowledge the proper use of the professor’s name based on their earlier email.

Then they sign with their own corresponding name based on the situation.

14. Format Your Ending Correctly

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When you start an email, you always begin with a greeting, the professor’s name, and a comma.

That’s the standard format for an email based on letter writing.

The same goes for your ending.

It needs to follow a certain format to look professional.

Not using the format can make your email look amateurish and unprofessional.

Here’s an example of what not to do:

Thanks so much for your help. Best. Liz.

Not only does this ending look terrible, but it’s difficult to read.

A better way to write the closer is:

Thanks so much for your help.

Best,

Elizabeth Blubi

It’s sleeker, slimmer, and is easier for the professor to read.

15. Understand The Range Of Formality In Closing Words

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There are several different ways you can close an email.

Some of the most popular are:

  • Sincerely
  • Regards
  • Best Wishes
  • Thank You

Knowing which one is the most formal and which is the least formal can help you choose the right closer for your email.

The range of formality is as follows:

Sincerely, Regards, Thank You, Best Regards, Best Wishes, Best.

Here’s an example if you want to end your email formally:

I look forward to discussing my duties as your TA later.

Sincerely,

Susan Bottoms

Using sincerely reinforces that this email is formal.

If you want to be informal, then here’s an example to follow:

I look forward to discussing my duties as your TA later.

Best,

Susan Bottoms

The use of best softens the rest of the closing which makes it friendly and more informal.

It’s still polite and professional.

Begin with one of the higher-tier formal closers and then revisit it when your professor responds to determine if you can become more informal or maintain your current formality.

16. Reinforce Point Of Email

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Professors love when your closing paragraph relates to the reason for the email.

It helps them understand the point of it.

Because professors often skim emails, having your closing paragraph summarize your email can be helpful for them.

Here’s an example you can follow:

To summarize, I won’t be able to attend class from 9/12-9/22 due to a family emergency. I’ve enclosed my doctor’s note for your reference. Please forward me any missing work I’ll need to complete on my return when you can.

Thank you,

Dwayne Homes

In the body of his email, Dwayne likely went into detail about his circumstances.

The professor likely skimmed that.

The conclusion summarizes everything nicely and asks the professor to do something in a polite manner.

17. Base Length Of Closer On Email’s Length

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When writing your closing paragraph, it’s a good idea to consider the rest of your email’s length.

If you wrote a small email, something a sentence or two long, then you don’t need a long closer that summarizes everything.

You can proceed to your closing line and signature.

For an email that is long, then your closing paragraph should be longer to summarize it.

Then include your closing line and signature.

Here’s an example of a short email:

Dr. Matthews,

I received your copy. Thank you for taking the time to send it to me.

Best,

Moe Grow

Because the email is short and acknowledges a previous email, Moe doesn’t need to write an extensive closing paragraph.

He can end his email with only a closing line and his signature.

18. Leave Out Timed Closers

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Timed closing lines are phrases like “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon.”

They seem friendly and polite, but they don’t work well with emails.

That’s because when you write the closing line, it may be that time of day for you, but it’s not guaranteed that it will be that time of day when your professor reads the email.

At that point, the closing line doesn’t make sense.

It’s better to leave out this type of closing line entirely.

If you want to use something like it, then you’ll want to keep it general.

Here’s an example you can use:

You can expect my assignment by the end of the day. Thanks for your help.

Good day,

Rose Evergreen

Using the phrase “Good Day” is better than “Good Morning” because it encompasses the entire day.

No matter what time your professor opens the email and reads it, the closing line will make sense.

19. Include Class Name

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Because your professor juggles several different classes, it can be helpful to include your class name in your email’s closer.

This tells the professor exactly who you are and what class you’re referencing.

They don’t have to look it up for themselves.

Here’s an example you can follow:

Best,

Bilbus Biggins

English ENG 112

You can even take it a step further and include your class’s hours, but you really only need the class’s name.

It will save your professor time and make them appreciative.

20. Respond In Kind

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You can follow how your professor writes to you as a way to determine how to write your email.

For example, if they use casual and informal language, then you can use casual and informal language.

This is not to be mistaken for the classic example of a professor sending a one-word reply from their mobile device.

If a professor sends, “thanks -sent from iPad,” then you should still use formal etiquette when composing your reply and ending.

When in doubt, always choose a formal and polite closer to your email.

Conclusion

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Writing an email to your professor can be difficult.

These 20 examples and rules of proper email etiquette can make you appear professional and polite.

Follow them to maintain a positive and respectful relationship with your professor.

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