How To: Build stronger bonds with professors

via flickr.com
via flickr.com

 

Whether you’ve had good experiences in the past, building relationships with professors is an important part of a college experience. From seeking extra assistance outside of class to asking for a letter of recommendation, forming bonds with your professors is worth more than a class grade.

Participate in class

You pay tuition, so you should reap all of college’s benefits, even if that means you are the only student in class who answers a professor’s questions or participates in discussions. While the rest of the class stares lifelessly at the professor or just blatantly nods off into oblivion, you will be cultivating a strong relationship with your professor.

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Go to office hours

Never be ashamed if you need to attend office hours because you missed class or do not understand a concept. Devoting some of your personal time to learn shows a professor you care about the class and your education, and it says a lot about your character. The professor will be elated that you came to their office hours, but remember to be punctual if you make an appointment.

Embrace online communication 

Keep an open line of communication between you and your professor by emailing them articles and videos pertaining to the topics discussed in class. It may sound like additional work, but you can learn more by engaging in intelligent conversations outside the classroom or continuing a thought that might have been halted because of time restraints.

Do the work

This should go without saying, but do the work your professors assign you. You cannot participate in class or know where to start when writing an email to your professor if you are unaware of current class topics. It is easy to fall into the background of the class or lose focus, but this causes you to fall into the background of your professor’s mind as well.

Communication is key

One of the most important things to remember about building a relationship with a professor is communication. Talk to your professors and treat them as you would treat a friend you respect — within reason. But not all conversations with professors need to be about class. They are people who have a life outside the classroom too, and professors have a lifetime of experiences that could help you learn.

— Michael Frazier

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