While text messaging may be popular when communicating with your peers, emails are the most popular when communicating with a professor.
However, one aspect of email communication that’s easily overlooked by students is the timing of the email.
Most students simply send emails to their professors without considering the timing and how it may impact the response (or none) they may receive. So, what’s the most appropriate time to email your professor?
The truth is that there’s no one size fits all approach to emailing your professor. While some professors always seem hard to get a hold of, others respond to emails as quickly as they receive them.
But to increase the chances of a professor seeing your email and responding quicker, it’s advisable to email them during early mornings or late afternoons on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays and also avoid contacting them on weekends and holidays.
Let’s break down the recommended times to email professors and what times you should avoid.
Times To Avoid Emailing Your Professor
While you can email professors at any time, the email may end up buried at the bottom of the numerous emails professors receive. It’s advisable to avoid sending emails to professors at these times:
Contrary to what students might believe, professors have personal lives. They usually leverage their weekends to catch up on their personal lives and may not check their official emails as frequently.
Keep in mind that this may depend on the individual professor as some professors may check their emails on weekends.
However, you should be aware that sending them an email on their weekends decreases your chances of receiving a quick response or one at all.
Even if your email isn’t time sensitive, it would end up at the bottom of the numerous emails the professor would be receiving, when they finally decide to check their emails after the weekend.
Holidays present a time of refreshment for both students and professors. Professors have busy schedules during the school year and may take some time off during the holidays.
They’re less likely to check their emails during their free time. Unfortunately, your email would end up lost among the thousands of emails that would be accumulated during this period.
Keep in mind that professors receive loads of emails from various sources including students, faculty, other professors, publications, academic organizations, parents, and various other sources.
Even when the professor returns to work, they’re bound to prioritize recent emails that require their urgent attention.
After a long day at work, no one wants to spend their evenings or wake up in the middle of the night to answer emails.
The professor may have a meeting or an early morning class and may not appreciate such late emails. Some may even consider it disrespectful to the professor and their personal time which would create a bad impression.
The exception to this may be in the case of an online learning environment where the professor is aware that their students live in different time zones.
Such cases may be excused especially when the professor hasn’t specified the appropriate time for students to reach out to them in their time zone.
Professors may be occupied especially during specific times in the semester. This includes the first week of the semester and toward finals or the last week of the semester.
Keep in mind that, the first week before the semester begins can also be equally busy for professors.
They may be seen at the office during such periods but may be swamped with grading, preparing lessons, and various other tasks.
Off times are simply times when your professor may be resting. It can be in the evening or early in the morning but usually refers to any time between 5 pm and 9 am.
This doesn’t mean professors don’t check their emails during such times, they usually do so to identify urgent emails.
They would avoid responding to student emails until they’re back in the office. Unfortunately, your email may end up getting dropped down especially when they receive loads of emails.
Additionally, they may simply forget about your email since it would be marked as already read, to concentrate on recent and unread emails.
If you’re emailing to inform them of your absence from their class, you should avoid emailing them while they’re in class. They would most likely not be able to check your email during class.
In the event of a test, they wouldn’t be able to put you into consideration even though you may have sent the email right before the test.
They still hadn’t read your email which they could use as justification for not considering you for a makeup test.
Best Time To Email A Professor
Now let’s take a look at the best time to email your professor which would increase the chances that they would read your email and also reply.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays
Professors are usually very busy on Mondays and Fridays. It’s advisable to email them on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays when they’re typically less busy.
While this is no guarantee that they would read and respond to your email in the shortest possible time, it significantly increases the chances.
You should also note that some professors consider Fridays a good time to respond to emails since they may have lighter teaching obligations.
Mornings Or Late Afternoons
While some professors may check their emails even when they’re out of the office, you can be sure that they would check their emails when they get to the office in the morning.
To increase the chances that they easily see and read your email, it’s advisable to send your email around 8 in the morning.
They may not appreciate you emailing them too early in the morning. They would be preparing to go to the office at such times and may not be able to respond or even check your email.
Some also set specific times late in the afternoon to respond to emails before they leave for the day. This can be between 3 pm to 5 pm.
See these other top posts in this category:
What Time Is Too Late To Email A Professor
While some professors may tolerate emails outside business hours, emails sent after 8 pm or late at night are considered inappropriate.
Such emails are considered intrusive, or disrespectful and may simply be ignored. That said, in the event of an urgent email, it’s advisable to apologize for the timing and also let them know you understand that they would respond during their regular office hours.
Is It Okay To Email Professor On The Weekend
Emailing a professor on the weekends or during a holiday is generally discouraged unless absolutely necessary. You shouldn’t expect a response as you’d be interrupting their personal time.
Additionally, such emails may end up pushed down by the numerous other emails they may receive, by the time they’re back in the office.
If you must email your professor over the weekend, be careful to acknowledge that you are aware that they won’t respond until the next business day, as a show of your respect for their time.