As effective communication between you and your professors is very important to your learning and academic performance, this is a key skill that you have to learn.

When you see your professors in lectures:

  • Interact with them by answering their questions
  • Prepare before lecture, ask questions aloud since others may have a similar question
  • Listen attentively when professors answer
  • Do not chat, sleep or play with phones during class

When you wish to ask your professors complex questions:

  • Find out if your professors have preferred communication channels or time allocated to see students
  • Try to request to meet your professors in office hours, email them first with suggested timeslots and key questions
  • Be patient. Resend in about 5 days if no reply
  • Be considerate and keep to arranged meeting time
  • Be punctual and notify your professors if you will be late/ unable to attend the meetings

When you have face-to-face appointment with your professors after class:

  • Get prepared before contacting your professors: let them know your purpose of meeting and the background/ basic information of your questions (if any)
  • Be clear and well supported for your enquiry. State your questions (e.g. list out 1, 2, 3) and provide explanations, rationales or justifications
  • For questions about study materials, please state clearly what you know and what you do not know so that your professors’ time will not be wasted. Don’t forget to bring paper and pen to take down important points

When you invite your professors to write you a reference letter:

  • Please provide your CV, academic information and other relevant experience to your professors. Don’t forget to include the information of the programme/activity for which the reference is needed, for example, the nature and deadline of the application
  • Plan ahead and allow enough time for your professors to write the letters, for example, reserve 4-6 weeks
  • Maintain regular contact with your professors to build up the relationships

When you need to write a proper email to your professors:

  • In your email to the professors, please include the subject, salutation, the main message, the closing and the sign-off
  • Address your professors accurately
  • Don’t forget to Identify yourself and class
  • Write a clear email “subject” which can accurately describe the purpose of your email
  • Anticipate, think ahead and include all your questions in one email
  • The email contents should be brief and precise
  • For the tone of the email, please be respectful and polite. Avoid slangs, texting language or casual abbreviations
  • Remember to write complete sentences. Check if the grammar and punctuation are correct
  • Acknowledge receipt of replies from professors
  • Remember to send thank you emails to your professors for showing appreciation and let them know about the outcome of your concerns

When you wish to build a long term relationship with your professors:

  • Interact with your professors in class and be ready to answer/ask questions on the topic under study
  • Smile and greet them whenever you see them
  • Meet and talk to them outside classroom (e.g. faculty events, seminars)
  • Behave professionally and maintain contact