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Communicating professionally and effectively with your college professor

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Communicating Professionally and Effectively with Your College Professor

Everything you do, and say…verbally, or non-verbally, represents everything about you. How you communicate reflects your values; beliefs; the standard of your academic expectations (whether high or low), and the level of your self-perception and self-confidence. Communicating effectively with your Professors can untangle confusion; give you clearer understandings; save valuable time; and possibly escalate your final semester course grade.
Consider the following Student-to-Professor email communications:

WRONG
What’s up Professor White?
I need to take your class, next winter 2014, but it’s scheduled on Tues and Thurs 1 pm to 2:30 pm. My boss won’t let me get away at that time, cuz that’s win we are the busyiesst. Could you make the class start at 6pm or 7:30pm on Fri and Mon. I want to graduate on time (June 2016) and I think your couse is a major one I need to meet reqrierments.
Your future student,
Willie

Resulting Response

Good morning, Willie,
Foremost, I offer you my congratulations in your preparing to meet academic requirements for graduation (I strongly advise, however, that you meet with an academic counselor, ASAP, to assure that graduation credits are in order – Assurance beats simply “thinking” every time.)
Yes, I could (perhaps) make the catalogue’s upcoming winter semester listing of this course’s day and time customized just for you…IF you can afford to wait so that I may be able to consult with Dr. Willington, our Vice President of Instruction, when he returns from his Massachusetts conference in three weeks… and then another three weeks so that I can try to create a convincible proposal for our Academic Curriculum Committee’s consideration, and then of course an additional three months for the committee to hold its bi-annual meeting, and certainly last, but not least, IF in fact, I agree to do so, and Willie…I absolutely DO NOT!
Wishing you the Best,
Dr. C.W. White
Professor
Math Department
P.S. By the way, Willie, in future communications with anyone, you might want to consider a spell check.

WRONG
Hi Professor English,
I will not be in class next week cause I have a dentist appointment on Monday to finally get the braces off and Tuesday is my boyfriend Steve’s 25th birthday, and I’ve bought 25 doves I plan to release in the moonlight air at 12:25 a.m. on the exact dot, on his apartment’s roof top (along with 25 balloons (Lol!!!) and then on Wednesday the girl I carpool with (from my Biology 102 class) has to go to divorce court (that’ll probably take the whole dang day cause she’s fighting him for Booney and Tooney, their 6 months old twin cats) and then Thursday is our group project planning session, but there’s 3 out of us 5 who I think are a few fries short of a happy meal so I’ve decided to work on this ‘group’ project…solo – and Friday I’m going to the campus free clinic cuz I get dizzy on quiz days so now my elbow hurts and I plan to find our WHY!!
But the following week Prof English, I cross my heart, I’m going to have a brand new start. I promise.
With Luv,
Tina

Resulting Response

Tina,
I have officially dropped you from my official enrollment list. Please feel free to return in later years, when my class (specifically), and college (in general) becomes a priority.
By the way, Tina, while I am a Ph.D and not MD, I doubt seriously if your dizziness is causing your elbow to hurt.
P.S. By the way, signing off your note “With Luv” is more than a tad bit inappropriate.

Respectfully,
Professor John English
Department of History and Law

IN SUMMARY… WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR PROFESSOR
DO follow the pjct formula (Professor JuJuan C. Taylor) for total effectiveness:

1. Remember to utilize the power words of “please” and “thank you” with your Professor… and with everyone. You are, in fact, in training to be the ultimate professional who will one day be earning professional salary.

2. Address your Professor appropriately (when in doubt of academic credentials, simply use the name “Professor”).

3. Remember that your Professor is not your best bud, and should not be spoken to as if he/she were.

4. Avoid prioritizing mere fun over academic commitment to achieve and succeed.

5. Respect your Professor’s scheduled Office Hours and get motivated to visit for further assignment clarification, unanswered questions, to gain tips for academic success, to share achievements, as well as share life’s highlights, or to simply sit and chat to get to know your Professor better.

6. Avoid asking your Professor to repeat an entire lecture as to be customized just for you. Best yet, be in class to hear the lecture first hand.

7. Under all circumstances, AVOID the question, “Are we going to be doing anything important?” Every class session is important. Assure a responsible note taker and take full responsibility for securing notes as a result of missed lectures. Best yet, arrive on time, bring 1000% effort, and participate in every class session.

8. Select an appropriate email address; spell check all written communications from you to your Professor and avoid any temptation to text.

9. Always command the same respect you kindly grant to your Professors, from future colleagues, employees, clients, or even perhaps your very own future students.

10. Enjoy being a student…an American future leader, for as former U.S. first lady, Mrs. Barbara Bush said while addressing the 1990 graduating class at Wellesley College, “Enjoy life…it is supposed to be fun!! (1000% true)

11. Avoid excuses…earn the degree!

12. Attempt to always communicate with your Professors professionally and effectively.

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