Emailing professors can be stressful. You need to make sure you are polite and strike the right tone, as well as call them by their correct titles. Did you know that the abbreviation “Dr” doesn’t need a period after it? Luckily, ChatGPT can help you avoid these pitfalls when emailing professors.
These small questions can make emailing professors a stressful experience from time to time.
Luckily, ChatGPT can help here. Let’s get into how you can use ChatGPT to compose and reply to emails for you.
Sidenote: emailing professors is just one of the many tasks that you can use ChatGPT for in College or University. I have another article that lists 7 other ethical uses of ChatGPT for students if you are interested in learning more about increasing your productivity with AI.
How to Email Professors Using ChatGPT
The most obvious way to use ChatGPT as a professor emailing assistant is to just use it to compose an email with a simple prompt.
Here’s an example of what I got back from ChatGPT after asking it to write a reply asking the James bond villain Dr. No for an extension on a project.
Write an email to my professor [Title, Last Name] about [what you want to say here] in a [your tone here] tone.
From here it’s just a simple case of reading over the email, making sure technical information such as the dates are correct, and sending it.
That covers composing a new email, but what about replying to an email you already have? This involves a slightly more complex prompt.
Replying to Emails using ChatGPT (2 ways)
I have found 2 main ways that you can use to reply to emails using ChatGPT. This involves both a direct way and an indirect way using a Google Chrome extension.
1. Use ChatGPT to directly reply to emails
This approach is the most flexible because you can tell ChatGPT exactly what you want it to include in your reply.
Here’s what I got with ChatGPT using the prompt below. I’m also continuing with the James Bond theme, because why not.
Write a reply based on this email in a [tone you want to strike here] tone.
[original email here]
[What you want to say here]
Now, that covers using ChatGPT directly. This gives you a lot of control because you can really put anything into your prompt. However, you still have to copy and paste information back and forth.
To avoid this switching back and forth, you can use a free Chrome extension that keeps everything in one window, while using ChatGPT behind the scenes. This is my favorite option.
2. Use a Chrome Extension to Write ChatGPT Emails
You can also install a free Google Chrome extension like ChatGPTWriter that can speed up this process by doing this whole email-generating process within your email tab. All you need to do is install it and link your ChatGPT account to it.
After this, when you open Gmail you can see a new button when you are replying to emails.
After you click this you will get a new screen, which allows you to quickly compose and reply to an email using ChatGPT. Here’s what replying using this extension looks like.
Pretty useful right?
I’m already integrating this extension into my emailing workflow because it just saves so much time. Even if I have to edit the generated email, the amount of time it takes is much less than if I were to write everything myself.
However, it’s worth noting that there is also another use case of ChatGPT for emails, especially long ones.
Bonus: Use ChatGPT to Read Emails Faster
This step is optional as far as I am concerned. Most emails that you get in university are not going to be very long. However, it does happen sometimes, and ChatGPT can be very handy here.
If you have a long email you can ask ChatGPT to list out the main takeaways in bullet point form for you. This basically just makes the email faster to read. You could even ask, what should my reply to this email include?
Here is an example with a prompt of what you could ask ChatGPT to read emails faster.
What are the main takeaways from this email in bullet point form? What should my reply to it include?
[paste the email here]
From here you can actually just ask it to write a reply directly and paste this back in as well. I like this strategy because it allows you to read and reply to the email faster, rather than just reply faster.
Of course, this only really applies to longer emails, but it’s still handy.
However, no matter your email replying strategy, it’s important that you actually read the email you send back.
Manually Review The Email (very important)
Actually reading an email back that ChatGPT has generated is very important because there are many small things that ChatGPT can get wrong. The thing is, these can be very subtle things. But sometimes the impact can be large, embarrassing, or both.
These strategies should really just save on the writing side of things, I don’t think that the AI is reliable enough for the time being to actually.
You are obviously still responsible for the emails you send to your professors so it’s your responsibility to make sure everything is up to snuff before you send it out.
Other Best Practices with ChatGPT Email
- Be aware of potential biases: ChatGPT is trained on a dataset, which itself contains many biases. These can sometimes come through in it’s responses.
- Customize the response: After the response has been generated, you might be better off cutting out some of what ChatGPT generated. Sometimes it can create emails with a lot of fluff.
- Add personality to your emails (where appropriate): If you can, try and add some personal touches to your email so that it doesn’t come across as too artificial.
- Check for grammar errors: Lastly, it’s always good to check for grammar. I use Grammarly for this purpose. But also make sure to give it a quick read-over using your brain. These grammar-checking tools can miss things from time to time.
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