3 Do’s and 3 Don’ts with Email

computer screen of a Gmail account

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There is an etiquette when using email, and college can be a good time to master this before entering the professional world. Someone with good etiquette can be noticed at a workplace and be appreciated, and those who don’t have these soft skills can be pointed out.


Do: Include a clear, direct subject line

Examples of a good subject line include "Study Group Meeting Changed," "Quick question about the final project," or "Suggestions for the presentation."


Don’t: Do Not Reply All

Think about your own email habits: when your inbox is full with a bunch of reply all notifications, you have a harder time actually reading the emails that pertain to you. Something important—an email from a classmate or an update about your financial aid—can easily get buried. This is frustrating and can be harmful to you as a student. So when an instructor, a classmate, or a college service sends an email, do yourself and everyone else a favor and hit “reply” and not “reply all.”


Do: Add the email address last.

You don't want to send an email accidentally before you have finished writing and proofing the message. Even when you are replying to a message, it's a good precaution to delete the recipient's address and insert it only when you are sure the message is ready to be sent.


Don’t: Go overboard with exclamation points

Conveying excitement or urgency can be challenging in a written format, but there is a line of when a writer can go too far with using an exclamation point. If you choose to use an exclamation point, use only one to convey what you need to get across.


Do: Use professional salutations

Be sure to use titles that are appropriate in situations: “Dr.” “Mr.” “Ms.” Doing so demonstrates respect and professionalism in your communication.


Don’t: Assume that your email will remain confidential

Don't write anything that would be ruinous to you or hurtful to others. After all, email is dangerously easy to forward, and it's better to be safe than sorry.


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