This is probably a classic old professor rant, but what are students thinking when they send text-message-like emails to prospective graduate advisors? I don't pore over student emails, editing them for grammar and spelling, but I do like to see evidence that a student can be articulate in writing.
In the past few weeks, I've gotten email messages from students applying for graduate studies with me. Most emails are fine, but some messages lack capital letters and all punctuation except periods. Some email messages contain abbreviations that might be convenient when typing on a tiny phone keyboard but that aren't cute in a semi-formal letter to a potential advisor. For example: "i want to apply to work with u."
I am sure that it is quite possible for someone to be a creative genius at research and to write annoying emails like that, and I will keep an open mind until I see the full applications and meet the students, but still.. I just wonder why they think it is appropriate to send such emails to a prospective advisor.
And then there are the email messages from current students. Some of these messages are text-message-like as well, though I don't mind that so much if the student is writing to me with a question about class material.
I guess everyone has their own pet likes and dislikes regarding email etiquette. I have colleagues who hate it when their students use their first name in email greetings, or other informal greetings like "Yo Professor!". I get those too and I don't mind them, but I do hate the ones that start "Dear Mrs. X" (or Miss or Ms.). I'd much rather they just use my first name. My husband never gets "Dear Mr. X" emails, so the students are definitely deciding that I must not be a real professor.
I always reply, though. A few months ago, I read an article on professor preferences for email etiquette, and some faculty don't even reply if they don't like the style or tone of an email, but I can't see myself doing that.
2 years ago