When you start college, you will hear people all around you telling you that you need to make meaningful connections with your professors.
What does this really mean? When I was a freshman, it was very daunting to have people tell me to get in good with my professor because I had no idea where to start. I recently did some research on how to actively build a relationship with your professor, and here is how you approach it!
- Introduce yourself to your professor after the first class
I know that we are already three weeks into the semester, so if you introduced yourself to your professor already than you’re ahead of the game! If not, don’t worry there is still time to introduce yourself and make it known to your professor that you intend to do your very best in their class!
- Look up your professor online
I don’t mean look them up on RateMyProfessor, I mean look them up on your college website and look at their bio or at their LinkedIn profile. This is a really great way to look at the research they’re involved in. Since most of us underclassmen have not yet declared a major, this gives us the chance to see what we are interested in. If you do have a declared major, it is still important to get involved with research and get a glimpse of what your field will be like.
- Participate in class and be respectful
You don’t need to sit in the front row for every class and answer every question, but make sure your professor notices that you are intently listening by raising your hand occasionally to ask or answer a question. Also, be respectful in class. It is hard for professors to talk over us when we’re talking in class, so remember to quiet down when your professor starts class.
- Go to your professor’s office hours
Over the course of the semester, meet with your professor during their office hours to go over tests, homework assignments or anything else that will help you succeed in the class. Ask about your professor and get to know them, but do not get personal. Instead, ask them about research or why they became a professor!
- Work towards getting a good grade in the class
If you don’t do well in your professor’s class, they won’t be able to give you a good letter of recommendation if you ask for one. Professors remember the students who perform well in their class. You think they don’t notice, but they do!
- Stay in touch
This might be the most important point in making a meaningful connection with your professor. Professors can have connections to employers who look to that professor to recommend students to intern or work for them. If you talk to your professor regularly and get to know them professionally, they are more likely to remember you when they are asked to recommend a student.