Attending School in the US on an F1 Visa and Contacting Your Professor

Some F1 students have a difficult time connecting with that person and sometimes it is partly due to the fact that they don’t attend to some basic aspects that guide good communication. Here are a few tips for contacting your professor through email. Following these will help reduce miscommunications.

Fill in the Subject Heading

Be sure to fill in the subject heading of the email. You’re doing this for a few reasons. First of all an email without a subject heading may just go into the professor’s junk folder. Also, an email without a subject heading looks unimportant and sometimes suspicious. Without a heading, that email may be overlooked, go unread and put in the trash.

If you are applying for a fellowship or other type of aid, then that is the subject. If you are going to be the professor’s teaching assistant, then that is the subject. If you will be their research assistant, then that is the subject. Keep the subject of the email short, clear and identifiable.

Use Clear language and Good Grammar

Some students have taken to writing to professors in the manner they would text someone on their phone. Do not do this. Use a proper salutation such as “Dear Professor Smith.” Once you get to the main body of the email be sure to use paragraphs and within those paragraphs complete sentences and words.

If your English is not very good, then get some help in writing the letter and have someone proof read it before you send it. By the way, do not create the letter in the email. Use a writing program first, proof read it and spell check it and then insert it into the email. You may also attach it to the email but make sure you also put the text of your letter into the body of the email. The attachment may not open or it may be missed entirely.

Explain Who You Are

Most professors receive many communications from many students. To avoid confusion, you should explain who you are and your connection to the person to whom you are writing. Don’t go on forever. Say enough so the person reading it understands your connection to them.

Ask questions Clearly and Succinctly

If you have questions, then get to the point and ask them. It’s a good idea to use bullet points to differentiate each question. These make your questions easier to read and they will catch the reader’s eye.

Provide them with Contact Information

Provide the professor with your contact information. If you use an instant messenger or something like SKYPE, then be sure to include your online name or address. Of course they will have your email address but giving them a few choices if they have to contact you can be useful and it may save time. Also, it tells them that you want to communicate with them. That’s usually taken as a good sign by a professor.

Finally, if after two weeks the professor does not respond, you may want to write a polite email asking if they received your first email. Sometimes emails get misplaced, directed to the trash or are simply forgotten.

In applying for a F1 visa, you want to make sure than you follow all steps properly.

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