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Best Practices for Contacting Faculty

All of us in the School of Music are thrilled to hear from prospective students who are interested in our programs. For many of you, the initial email to faculty or staff at Ithaca College will be the first impression you make! That is why presenting yourself in a professional and friendly manner through your email is of the utmost importance. We have created this page to help you approach an initial communication with faculty at IC, and we hope this can be useful in all of your future communications.

BEST PRACTICES FOR CONTACTING FACULTY

Open the content below to explore a step-by-step guide to communicating with faculty members at IC!

Before contacting a faculty or staff member, visit the school's website to do a little research. Faculty often provide a friendly online introduction, which may include some biographical information, audio or video clips, or other materials that can be helpful to understanding their teaching and program(s).

Here are a few quick links to get you started!

Helpful Links

Faculty and Staff 

Click on any Faculty or Staff profile to learn more.

Music Admission

This page provides helpful information about the application/admission process in the School of Music.

Undergraduate Degrees Offered

Explore the Undergraduate degrees available in the School of Music.

Graduate Degrees Offered

Explore the Graduate degrees available in the School of Music.

Information and Resources

Learn more about degree requirements, student employment, financial aid information, the concert archive, and more. 

Always begin an email with a polite salutation. You do not need to worry about whether to use “Dr.” in place of “Ms.” “Mr.” or “Mrs.” The simplest salutation is also quite respectful, which is to refer to any faculty member as “Professor [LAST NAME].”

Sample:
     Dear Professor Smith,

Note: Once you get to know your professors, they may tell you it’s OK to use a different greeting, or they may give you their preferred name or title. Some college professors don’t mind being called by their first name, but you should never make assumptions.

If it is your first time contacting a faculty member, it is important to provide the faculty member a brief introduction of who you are.

This should include:

  • Full/preferred name
  • Current school and location
  • What year you are in school
  • 1-2 sentences about your musical background (including your instrument or voice)
  • Your musical interests
  • Which IC program(s) you are interested in

Sample:
     My name is Sam Johnson. I am a senior at Princeton High School in Princeton, NJ. For a little background, I sing alto in my school’s chorus, and also play piano in my school’s jazz band. I am interested in the combined Music Performance/Music Education program at Ithaca College, and have some questions I am hoping you can help me with. 

If you have specific questions, it is important to state them in a clear and concise manner.

Sample:
     I am unsure how student teaching works in this program and am hoping you can tell me about it. I read about it online, but I am still unsure. When do music education students begin student teaching?

Faculty spend a lot of time communicating with students and colleagues, and therefore they often write a great number of emails. Some prefer email as a communication method, but it is respectful of their time to offer to speak in person if they prefer.

Sample:
     I realize you are busy and I would be happy to communicate in whichever method is best for you – email, telephone, Zoom or Skype. 

For faculty who prefer to speak on the phone or in person, it is helpful to offer a few possible times you could be available. It is important to convey that you are willing to work to find a mutually agreeable date and time, and to provide your phone number.

Sample:
     If you prefer to speak by phone, I can be available most afternoons between 4-6pm, except Tuesdays. The best number to reach me at is my cell phone: 555-555-1212.

It’s polite to offer appreciation for the faculty member's time.

Sample:
     Thank you very much for your time and attention. I look forward to getting to talk or meet you. I very much hope we can work together in the future.

     Sincerely,

     Sam Johnson

Dear Professor Smith,

My name is Sam Johnson. I am a senior at Princeton High School in Princeton, NJ. For a little background, I sing alto in my school’s chorus, and also play piano in my school’s jazz band. I am interested in the combined Music Performance/Music Education program at Ithaca College, and have some questions I am hoping you can help me with. 

I am unsure how student teaching works in this program and am hoping you can tell me about it. I read about it online, but I am still unsure. When do music education students begin student teaching?

I realize you are busy and I would be happy to communicate in whichever method is best for you – email, telephone, Zoom or Skype. If you prefer to speak by phone, I can be available most afternoons between 4-6pm, except Tuesdays. The best number to reach me at is my cell phone: 555-555-1212.

Thank you very much for your time and attention. I look forward to getting to talk or meet you. I very much hope we can work together in the future.

Sincerely,

Sam Johnson

Contact the School of Music Admission Team

We recognize that it can be intimidating to start this initial conversation with a faculty member. That is where our Admission Team comes in! You are welcome to email us and we would be happy to connect you with the appropriate faculty member(s).