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Info Request Email Etiquette


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Hi all, a quick question about "thank you" etiquette. I'm interested in applying to a grad program, so I wrote to a professor who was listed on its site as a contact for more information. The professor has replied (and very helpfully, too). Is a "thank you" email appropriate? My instinct is that yes, it is, but I'd like to hear your opinions, too. Thanks in advance!

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Hi Looking4letters!

I shared my "thank-you e-mail" template in another thread not too long ago:

I wrote this in response to an informal interview that the prof. granted me right before the holiday season, so the gratitude is amplified. Even though the context is different, the format might help, feel free to use any of the phrasing at your leisure.

I'm a big proponent of "thank you" letters.

My partner, who's from the UK, read the post I've linked above and said: "You are the most Canadian thing I've ever seen", referring I suppose to my tendancy to err on the side of excessive politeness. Regardless, I maintain that, as long as you're genuine, the "thank you" sentiment is never wasted!

Good on you for maintaining decorum in the face of the hectic application season and making time to be considerate; good luck!

Edited by surefire
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Something along the lines of "thank you so much for the reply, the info was very useful. I went ahead and contacted the person you suggested." My first instinct is to be very formal in my emails, so I always appreciate others' input re tone.

I think this is fine. You genuinely want to send a thank you email, rather than asking whether you are obliged to do so. In this respect you are sincerely thanking the person. I am also quite nervous about etiquette and never know what is appropriate but mostly, when expressing thanks, the worry you probably have is that you come off 'brown-nosy'. There is no way to control the manner in which a professor interprets small things like this and there is no point, I think, in trying to control it. If you felt you should say thank you, then do it. I express my thanks for pretty much any small mundane thing but that's the way I was brought up.

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