Thursday, November 4

Sample E-Mail

Here is an example (name removed to protect the young) of the type of e-mail that drives me INSANE:

Professor [DJ]-
My name is [], and I am a first year student planning to major in []. I am currently in [] 150, and I was hoping to taking [] 255 next semester. Unfortunately, I saw last night that all the space in your class has been taken. I was wondering whether it would be at all possible to get a spot in your class because I am incredibly interested in [] and your class sounds very interesting. I have heard from many student that you are a very good teacher, which is probably why your class is full. I am sure you have already received many emails asking for spots in your classes, so I am sorry to add one more. However, [] is my passion and I would like to take as many [] classes as possible before I graduate.
Please let me know if a position in your class will be available.
Thank you very much,

Here is what I wrote:
Hi [],

The department is meeting on Tuesday to discuss enrollments. I will know much more then.

Prof. [dj]

Here is what I THOUGHT:

I have trouble getting words on paper sometimes (as you've likely noticed reading my blog), but despite a deficit in phoneme-to-grapheme conversion (and back again) I can STILL see the grammatical errors in the e-mail... Some of the sophomores on the waitlist could not get into the class last year. How are they going to feel if I let this person in? How would THIS person feel if when she were a junior a first-year was let in ahead of her because the first-year REALLY wants into the course?

This is not an institutional problem that is easily fixed. Enrollments in different majors vary year-to-year based on a number of variables outside of an institution's control (e.g., poli-sci enrollments go up whenever there is a war). If an institution kept enough faculty on hand to ALWAYS be able to serve EVERYONE who wanted something, we would be grossly over-staffed as an institution and tuition would be even MORE than it is now (total costs here are now a $38k/year or so - how much higher can it go?).

Patience... I need to learn patience...

The frazzled DJ