I would like to send a draft of mine to a specific professor. I would be very interested in his comments, however, I am not a student at the moment, so I am not at his institution nor at any other.

Is there any way for me to send him my draft in an email and introduce myself, without sounding rude & incredibly in love with myself? I believe that asking s.o. to read a 5.000 - 10.000 word essay is maybe a bit much? I have no idea how to phrase this or not come across as very demanding and arrogant and I am incredibly concerned.

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    He might read it if he has time/interest, but chances are he won't since he has other students and research to prioritize.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 16:00
  • 4
    To clarify, is this essay for a journal or book or is it just an a university assignment? I.e., it makes more sense for a professor at another institution to assist you if the work is going to contribute something to public knowledge. Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 1:17
  • This is far too long for a cold call paper that's not a review request for a journal. You can ask for an abstract, or, at best, 1-2 pages to be read, and perhaps, if they find this interesting, for 20-30 minutes phone conversation. Take it from there. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 18:24
  • Submit it to a conference or journal; in this case, you will get multiple people reading your draft instead of just one. Moreover, you will likely get a response. Commented Apr 14, 2022 at 0:05

4 Answers 4


This is a classic example of what’s been dubbed the “XY problem.” You have some actual problem to which you’ve decided that emailing this professor is the solution and you’re asking about your solution. But I’m quite confident that getting a professor at another school to read a draft of an essay is not the correct solution to any problem. You should not be emailing your draft to a professor at another school and no advice we can give on how to email this person is going to make your plan work. Instead, you should ask a new question about your actual problem. What kind of essay is this? What kind of problems are you having with writing it? What kind of help are you looking for?


Start off by sending an introductory email mentioning that you are working in this area and would really value his feedback.

If you get a positive response from this, then try to get his feedback on a few key questions. Take some time to think about how you can present him with well-formed questions that cut to the heart of the matter. You might send the questions by email, or see if he would be willing to chat on the phone or in person.

There is a reasonable chance that he will be willing to provide this level of input, if this does indeed fit his area of interest and he's a generous person.

Asking him to read a long essay would typically be far too much, though. I would only do this if, after the above, he takes an exceptional interest in your work and offers to be further involved.

  • Thank you. Would things look different if I were considering this person as a future PhD supervisor (I actually am), or should I still not expect this level of engagement? Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 17:03

My approach would be a bit different. I'll assume you have done the background check and have reason to believe he/she would be interested in helping you with it.

I would, myself, send a letter, maybe better than email, introducing myself and my interests. A few sentences only. I would mention what I was working on and ask if he/she would have any interest in giving feedback. But I would only include a short abstract of the longer work. Include email contact information.

If If I get a positive feedback I could feel comfortable enough to send the whole thing. At some point you can mention your longer term goals, but it need not be in the initial contact. Keep that pretty short.


First of all, visit the official website of famous university and get the details of professors working there.

After reading their profiles, choose the most appropriate professor who can help you out for your topic. Quite often, there will be email address or telephone number of the professor. You can straightly contact him/her asking your need. If there is no contact detail of the particular professor, you can contact the university and collect the details.

No professor would reject your request because professors have social commitment to extend help to all who seek it.

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    No professor would reject your request because professors have social commitment to extend help to all who seek it. Nonsense. This simply isn't true.
    – user9646
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 17:56

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