How To Email A Professor About A Group Project

You’re working on a group project and someone decides to play smarter than the rest of the team. You don’t want to report them but you’ve exhausted every option.

How do you inform the professor without looking like a snitch? How do you structure the email to avoid any problems even for the group member who’s refusing to collaborate?

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered as we’ve created some email samples for the purpose. You just have to modify it to suit your needs. Additionally, we’ve also included some tips that will come in handy whenever you’re emailing your professor.

Tips For Emailing Professors

Let’s look at a few things to keep in mind whenever you’re writing an email to your professor.

Use Proper Title

Always remember to use your professor’s official title in your communication. Identify what their official titles are, before you contact them.

If they’ve officially earned the title “professor”, you should try and use the appropriate title to address them. On the other, you should use “Dr” if they haven’t yet received the “professor” title.

If you aren’t sure what their official titles may be, you can check the course syllabus or the faculty pages of the school website.

Dear Professor {{Last name}}
Dear Dr. {{Last name}}

Use School Email

Every tertiary institution provides its faculty and students with official email addresses. If you don’t know the professor’s email address, we’ll show you how to find it later.

Keep in mind that your professor may not respond if you send them an email using your personal email or if you simply send it to their personal emails.

Using your school email also ensures that the professor will get the mail as your personal email may end up blocked by spam filters.

Some professors also try to ensure there’s a balance between their personal lives and work. Any work-related emails, especially from students, to their personal emails would simply be ignored.

So, if you want them to receive and read your email, you should make sure that you use your school email.

Formal Tone

When emailing your professor, it’s important to keep it professional. No matter how close you are to them, you should avoid using any kind of informal language.

Emojis and other slang that you typically use with friends should be avoided. The professor would merely become irritated.

They might simply interpret it as a sign of disrespect so you should refrain from any form of informal tone or language.

So, unless the professor specifically instructs you to use informal language, always use formal language in any official email discussion between yourself and the professor.

Additionally, any signs of overfriendliness between faculty and students could raise red flags as the school has access to moderate these emails.

Correct Grammar

No one enjoys reading horrible grammar. Professors expect students at the tertiary level of education to have good writing skills.

This is especially true when it comes to writing short messages like emails. That said, everyone makes writing mistakes especially when the information is lengthy.

But you can reduce these mistakes by using tools Grammarly which can help identify errors in your writing.

Keep in mind that these tools aren’t perfect, so it’s advisable to read through them yourself or ask a third party to read through them before you click “send”.

Be Polite

Professors are people like us all and have been in your shoes at some point in their academic journey. Additionally, they’ve also had to interact with students with all sorts of concerns and issues.

So, they’re empathetic to your situation so long as you speak to them politely. So long as you speak to them politely, they’re likely to try their best to help you. On the other hand, they would simply ignore any student acting entitled.

Identify Yourself

The professors may not remember every one of their students. Don’t take it personal. Professors teach multiple classes and may not be able to remember every student.

You don’t want to give them additional work to do by not identifying yourself. No professor wants to spend the next 30 minutes looking through their student list to identify who you may be.

Either identify yourself in the introduction of the email or include it in the email signature. You can also do both to make things easier.

Clear And Brief

This isn’t the time to show them how verbose you may be. You may have the time to do that but that doesn’t mean they have the time to read through it all. Avoid writing long emails if you want them to read through it all.

Professors receive multiple emails from students, other staff members, publications, and more. Don’t make things difficult for them by writing lengthy emails. Shorten the email as much as possible while also maintaining a polite tone.

Explain Your Situation

So, what’s the situation? Did you try reaching out to the group member to no avail? Have you contacted the group member earlier but they simply keep procrastinating or they simply refuse to work on their assigned tasks?

Make sure you explain this clearly to the professor.

Don’t Forget Attachment

Don’t forget to attach any necessary documents if necessary. Confirm this before you click “send” on the email. Can’t remember the number of times I’ve sent an email simply to receive a response that I neglected to attach the necessary documents.

They may simply ignore the email if you don’t include any necessary attachments and the results could be detrimental in the case of time-sensitive documents.

So, it’s advisable to always double-check to ensure that the email has successfully been attached before pressing the send button.

Wait Patiently

Avoid bombarding them with reminders or you can get blocked. If it has been more than 24 hours since they responded, you can send them a reminder.

Remember that some professors might not check their work emails on weekends and holidays. You must therefore be patient.

If you haven’t heard from them in a while, you can also go to their office. If you are going to send them reminders, you should be careful how frequently you do so.

Act Early

Don’t wait till the end of the project to report a group member for not participating in the project. Reach out to the professor as soon as you notice the group member isn’t responding.

This allows the professor to also contact the group member to identify any issues that could be preventing them from participating. In this case, the group member doesn’t end up hating your gut, at least not completely.

Clear Subject Line

Don’t forget to include a subject in your email if you want a response. Professors receive loads of emails daily and subject lines help them identify urgent emails so they can quickly respond.

It makes it easy for them to understand the content of your email without spending too much time reading the full body of your email, which saves them a lot of time.

Update On Group Project

End Formally

Thank the professor for their time and consideration as you close the email. If you didn’t specify it in the email’s introduction, provide your full name, class, and section information.

Thank you
{{Your full name}}
{{Class and Section}}

How To Find Your Professor’s Email

So how do you find the professor’s email address if this is the first time, you’re reaching out to them?

School Website

Check your faculty page on the school website. These pages usually include information about professors including their official contact information.

Course Overview (LMS)

If your school uses some form of learning management system (LMS) you can check the course overview page for the professor’s assigned course.

You’ll find the professor’s official contact details on the course overview pages.

Course Syllabus

You can also check out the professor’s syllabus for their contact information. You’ll usually find the professor’s contact information as well as their attendance policies on the course syllabus.

Other Students

You’re most likely not the only student who had to email the professor at some point. So, you can ask your classmates for the professor’s email.

Even if none of them has it, you can be sure that someone will provide some advice on where they may have seen it along the line.

Sample Emails To Professor About A Group Project

Template 1: Updating Professor On Group Project

Email Subject
Update On Class {{Class title}} Group {{Group name}} Project

Dear Professor {{Last name}},
I hope this email finds you well. This is to update you on Group {{Group name}}’s project for the {{Class title}} class. The group has successfully {{What you’ve done}} and we’re currently getting started on {{What you’re about to do}}.
As it stands, we’re on track to deliver our project before the deadline and we would like to thank you for your guidance and support which has been invaluable.
Thank you very much for your time, support, and feedback throughout this project.
{{Your full name}}
{{Class and Section Number}}
{{Project Group name}}

Template 2: Requesting Meeting To Discuss Group Project

Email Subject 
Request For Meeting To Discuss Group Project

Dear Professor {{Last name}},
I hope this email finds you well. I would like to request a meeting, at your earliest convenience, to discuss the {{Class title}} group project.
We have some concerns about {{List concerns}} and would appreciate your help in addressing them. We’re available for either an in-person or virtual meeting depending on your preference.
Please let us know what day and time would be most convenient for you and we’ll do our best to accommodate your schedule. Thank you for your time and consideration.
{{Your full name}}
{{Class and Section Number}}
{{Project Group name}}

Template 3: Need Professor’s Support With Group Member

Email Subject 
Request For Support With A Difficult Group Member

Dear Professor {{Last name}},
I hope this email finds you well. I would like to bring to your attention a challenge we’re having with one of our members for the {{Class title}} group project.
{{Group member name}}, a member of our group {{Group name}} has refused to deliver on his/her assigned tasks which has stalled our progress on the project. Since the deadline for delivery is near, we agreed to bring this to your attention, so you can advise on the way forward.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
{{Your full name}}
{{Class and Section Number}}
{{Project Group name}}

Hi there and welcome to UnitWriter. My name's Chris, an expert in crafting effective email templates for all occasions. I created this blog to share my knowledge, by offering tips and templates to help get you started on your emails. Hope it's been helpful

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