Tips for Contacting Instructors

Use a Greeting

Use a salutation with your instructor’s preferred title, such as “Hello Dr. Smith,” or “Dear Professor Johnson”. If you do not know which title your instructor prefers, “Professor” is a safe bet.

Follow the Rules

Use complete sentences, and proper spelling and grammar. It can be easy to misunderstand written communication, but following grammar rules can help keep things clear.

Keep It Simple

Avoid using hard to read fonts, bright or contrasting colors, or excessive formatting in your emails. These things can make your email difficult to read, and may obscure your message. Keep it simple!

Include the Important Details

If you are writing your instructor with a question about a test, for example, be sure to let the instructor know which class you are in, which test in the class you are referencing, and what your question is.

Don’t Include Too Much

If you include too much information in your email, your main points may be lost. If your questions are complex or if you have several questions, meeting your instructor during their office hours may yield better results than sending an email.

Be Precise

A specific question about course material is much more likely to get a helpful response than a vague or open-ended question.

Don’t Make Demands

Asking a question as you would in person may not come across in the same way at all in an email. Be sure that you are politely asking or requesting instead of demanding.

Allow Time for a Response

Just like students, instructors are busy as well. Don’t expect an immediate response to your emails. Your instructor should give you an estimated response time in the course syllabus.


End your email with a proper closing, such as “Thank you,” or “With Gratitude,” and be sure to include your full name.



Want Additional Information?

The VLC has multiple resources and opportunities available to provide assistance to you.  Virtual Learing Center

Schedule a time today for your personal session.  

In person: The VLC is located inside the Center for Learning & Teaching

                SEM 2G3 (Across from the Math Lab)


Phone:  (405) 682-7838