Top 5 ways to develop relationships with your professors

MCT Photo

MCT Photo

1. Office hour visits
Most professors will vigorously encourage you to attend their office hours, yet only a small fraction of students take their professors up on this offer. In our age of Facebook and smartphones, the close-quarters face-to-face showdown of office-hour visits feels decidedly old school. Yes, these visits can be a bit awkward, but professors are generally welcoming and easygoing in their office and most appear to truly enjoy it when students drop in. If you are looking to conduct a substantial, private conversation with your professor, an office-hour visit is the way to go.

2. Be a responsible student
This may seem like a no-brainer, but turning in homework on time and showing up to class every day makes a bigger impact on professors than you may think. Going to class, being respectful of classmates as well as the teacher and turning in well-done assignments on time will prove that you are there to learn. Remember that you’re a college student. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but when it comes to school, acting responsible will get you further than you think.

3. Talk in class
If you are an extrovert, taking up verbal space in class may come naturally for you. However, if you lean more toward the introverted side, voicing your opinions publicly may be a little more challenging. Don’t let fear of others stop you from showing your teacher you are alert and engaged with the lecture. Challenge yourself to find one meaningful thing to say in every class each week, and then find the courage to take a leap. Say what you mean to say, at exactly the moment you mean to say it.

4. Use Email
Email can be a powerful tool for communicating with a professor. Many students would prefer to avoid meeting with a professor in person, but still want to have a substantial conversation with them. These students often take to emailing. Though emailing is increasingly becoming the most prevalent way of communicating with instructors, I often hear professors complain that many students lack common email etiquette. Do yourself a favor: make your emails as formal and concise as possible. Your professor will appreciate it.

5. Compliment their shoes
Who doesn’t love a little brown-nosing now and then? Seriously, make your teacher feel special. A compliment here or there can help you develop a personal relationship with your professor. Maybe you are both die hard Vera Bradley fans. Make that connection and run with it. But beware. Don’t take compliments too far. Nobody wants a sexual harassment charge on their hands.

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