The Professor Does Not Respond to My Email

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July 12, 2016
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January 26, 2017

Here’s What to Do If a Professor Does Not Respond to an Email

With no exceptions that I am aware of, every professor has a busy schedule, and every professor receives a large number of emails on a daily basis. Unfortunately for students who may have a question, this means that an email could get lost in the shuffle, or the professor could read it, plan on responding in a moment, but then have it slip their mind.

Do not dismay! Here are some helpful tips on what to do if you do not receive an email response:

The Follow-Up

After a day of not getting a response, it is not bad etiquette to send a follow-up email. It can be something as simple as, “Hey Professor Smith, I sent an email regarding this assignment, and I’m sure it got lost in the shuffle.” And then ask the question again. This should solve the problem.

End of a Different Class

If possible, you can find out when their next class is and head there when they would be getting out, or call the department office and see when a good time to stop by and ask the question would be. This will probably not be necessary after the follow-up email, but if your professor hasn’t checked their email, missed it twice, or both were sent to their spam folder, this might be necessary if it’s a very pressing matter.

Ask a Classmate

There is a decent chance that a classmate might know the answer. To throw it back to an early post of mine about how every classroom is an opportunity to create footholds that will pay off in your career down the line, use day one to exchange information with a classmate or a few for this exact reason. They can help clarify, let you know something you might have missed, or might have had the same question and had it clarified from the professor.

Go Above and Beyond

When in doubt, perform the assignment to the best of your intuition, and truly go above and beyond. Even if you are mistaken about a certain aspect of the assignment, if you show that you gave it your best effort, you are likely to still receive a good grade or receive an extension, especially if you sent a clarification email and never heard back.