I wrote an cold email to a professor to inquire about research opportunity. But I made an unforgivable mistake that I wrote his institution name wrong in the text. I should have wrote 'your research group in [institution A]', but I somehow subconsciously wrote [institution B]. This is going to make him feel that I am cold emailing a couple of professors which is indeed what I am doing(but I am not writing generic emails), and this error escaped my three time re-examination. How should I compose my follow-up email to correct this or is there anything else I can do?? Thanks guys. Cold emailing professor is already making me feel weird.

  • 1
    See the answer below. It is normal to enquire about position at two or more places. So don't worry too much.
    – Alchimista
    Feb 19, 2019 at 10:30
  • @Alchimista Thanks, you make me feel relieved a lot. Feb 19, 2019 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


The way I see it, you have two choices:

  1. Do nothing - I do not endorse this, as it transmits the message that you do not care, or even worse, you did it on purpose;

  2. Send another e-mail with the proper apologies (do not over-do it), and correct the mistake.

The message can be as simple as:

Dear ....

In previous e-mail I wrote: "...ABC..." while I intended to write "...XYZ...". Please accept my apologies, this was totally unintended. I cannot even explain it to myself.


Words may vary.

  • 6
    +1, but for option #2, I would be even more concise (1 line), something like: "Sorry for the typo, of course you are at [institution]."
    – cag51
    Feb 19, 2019 at 22:02
  • 4
    @cag51: Usually I go for the "short and clear" too. In this particular case (and others similar), I think it is not a very good idea to be "in a hurry" - the professor might fell under-valued by the "student". Otherwise, +1
    – virolino
    Feb 20, 2019 at 5:37
  • 2
    Yeah...in my imagination, the original e-mail was already far too wordy (they usually are) and so sending another formal e-mail (even a brief one) is really digging the hole deeper, whereas a one-liner probably wouldn't do any harm. But maybe that is an unjust assumption about the original e-mail.
    – cag51
    Feb 20, 2019 at 5:43
  • 1
    I feel you. Extremes are never good. It may not be possible to fix an email which is too long, with another one which is too short. Joke: Depending on font size, almost any e-mail can be a one-liner :D
    – virolino
    Feb 20, 2019 at 6:10

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