No matter your academic goals or focus, you’re likely to message your professors several times throughout your education. This may include asking questions, delivering (or confirming the delivery of) assignments, requesting extensions, or complying with check-ins required for your class.
While it may be tempting to address your professor as you would any other person you email, such as friends or businesses, there is a recommended structure to follow. This is especially true for the sign-off or ending of an email. Coincidently, that is a segment that most students think little of.
In truth, the ending of an email to your professor can influence your future interactions and possibly your success in class. Let’s explore why, and how you can end an academic email properly:
Why The End of an Email is So Important
Because the body of the email contains all the information about why the message was sent in the first place, people believe that the ending isn’t as important. However, proper email etiquette helps establish a certain tone for the interaction (and those to follow), which, in turn, can help you come across as more professional or capable. If you can start, hold, and then finish strong, you can make a better impression.
According to a study published in Communication Education, when students show proper email etiquette, professors are more motivated to work with them and deem them to be more successful in the classroom.
In particular, the kind of ending used can leave you (and the interaction as a whole) on a high note, making the professor more likely to respond, help, or be receptive to your requests in the future. Here’s a list of great email endings you can use yourself.
6 Best Email Endings for Students
These six are the most common email endings used in academic settings. There are other closing remarks that you may see recommended elsewhere, but most of them are used in professional settings and may be overly formal.
“Sincerely” is one of the most common ways to end an email to a non-family member or friend. It expresses earnestness and sincerity over what you’ve said. It’s one of the most popular ways to end an email because it sounds warm without being overly casual. It’s simple, widely used, and standard for most emails, so very few professors would have a problem seeing it in an email.
Another common way to end emails to professors is to thank them. You can say a simple “Thank you” or be specific by saying:
- Thank you for your time
- Thank you for your consideration
- Thanks in advance
If you are going to thank your professor, don’t just say “thanks.” A single thanks is too casual for an email to a professor, so make sure to pair it with something else.
Send your teacher your regards at the end of an email. It’s a simple way of saying that you are expressing your best wishes. It’s polite but not stilted; friendly but not overly familiar.
Another common email ending in academic settings is simply writing your name. Closing with your name, without writing a formal ending, is preferred when the recipient is somebody who may be very busy. It’s a way to cut to the chase and let the other know who the sender is without any padding. It’s also a great way to end your email if you can’t decide on any other closing remark.
Your name + identifying details
For larger classes, especially busy professors, or just to be on the extra polite side, sign off with your full name, the class you’re in, and your student ID number, if you have one. Professors go through many emails from students and they may not remember yours, so including your number and other information will help them look up who you are.
I look forward to hearing from you
Telling your teacher that you look forward to hearing from them is a good way to end an email because it’s a call to action. It’s a subtle reminder that they should reply to you, but it doesn’t make you sound demanding. You can use this ending if you need an answer from your teacher as soon as possible.
4 Worst Email Endings Students Should Avoid
Below are some of the worst endings students can include in an email to a professor. Even if you feel like you have a relaxed relationship with your teacher, you never want to assume that they would be okay with casualness in an email correspondence.
Saying goodbye at the end of an email is out of place, especially if you’re waiting for a reply. It’s not a closing that is commonly used in emails because it puts pressure on one person to end the interaction and they may not always end it at the appropriate time. It also makes things awkward if the email thread needs to continue after the goodbye.
Talk to you later
Saying “talk to you later” is too casual of an ending to be used in an email to a professor. It’s also an assumption, which is something you want to avoid.
This ending is much too personal and familiar to be used in an email with a professor. It’s a great ending to use with family, friends, and lovers, but not for the person in charge of educating you.
Have a nice [morning/afternoon/evening]
Don’t reference time in your email. You don’t know when your professor will open the email, so making assumptions about when they do is a little awkward.
Email Ending Tips
A good ending, of course, must be paired with an email that reflects a matching tone or style. To ensure your endings are cohesive with the body, here are tips to help you choose the right style:
- Always keep it formal: Some teachers are very relaxed and friendly around their students. However, just because you can banter with your teacher in person doesn’t mean that they are on the same level as you. When corresponding through email, especially if the email is asking for a favor, be respectful. Your teacher may take offense if you don’t put in the effort to be polite in an email, which is generally a more formal method of communication.
- Remove the signature if sending an email from a mobile device: If you are sending the email from a portable device (tablet or phone), there may be an automatic signature at the bottom of the email stating which device it was sent from (for example: sent from iPhone). Remove this signature to clean up the email.
- Read the syllabus: Many professors give instructions on how to email them in the syllabus, so read it to make sure you are using their preferred email etiquette. This kind of due diligence will not only help you to avoid wasting your professor’s time, but also show attentiveness.