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JumpStart Your Learning: Communicating Effectively

Asking for Help

  At the end of this section, you should be able to identify communication strategies necessary to participate within a scholarly community.


Communicating with your instructor respectfully and effectively is an important help-seeking skill to develop as an academic scholar. It marks the beginning of many professional relationships that you will have, not only as a university student but in your career as well.

The following activities will help to highlight a few communication strategies that can be used when corresponding with your professor.

Before you attempt the activities, please read the handout linked below. It identifies some of the strategies you can use when communicating with your professor as well as the common errors students make when writing to their professors asking for help.

Communicating Professionally

Avoiding Mistakes

  At the end of this section you should be able to recognize the common errors students make when writing to their professors seeking help.


Given how common text-talk is in our daily lives (abbreviated words and emojis), it is easy to understand why students would send their professors informal text messages in an email. While this might be perceived as friendlier, you should refrain from using an informal tone with your professors. Develop the habit of sending your professor courteous and formal emails because it will become the norm in both your academic and professional career.

Complete the following activity to assess your understanding of the errors to avoid when writing an email to your professor. This is an interactive activity so click on the error, then read the feedback that appears at the bottom of the screen.