It’s the beginning of the spring semester which means new classes but also new professors. Establishing a rapport with professors is well worth the investment since it can be invaluable throughout your academic and professional career. Beyond providing academic support, professors can advise you on choosing classes, recommending internships, and guiding you in your post-college career. A new semester means opportunities to include more professors in your network so here are five ways to connect with them.
Demonstrate Interest in the Subject Matter
It goes without saying that you have to show up to class on time with a ready attitude for learning. This means respect your fellow classmates even though you may not agree with them in every discussion. Give thoughtful answers to questions and go above and beyond what is expected of you. This means ask questions when you need clarification and probe into the topics you will be learning during the semester.
Go to Office Hours
It is important to set yourself apart especially in large classes; professors have many students and they will not recognize everyone and might just write you off as another name on a paper to grade. By going to office hours, you will get clarification on any questions you have, show that you have interest in the coursework, and in addition, build a good working relationship with the professor. It can be intimidating to talk to a professor one-on-one so sign up for an appointment with a friend from class which will make you feel more comfortable talking to the professor.
Show a Genuine Interest in their Work
Many professors have research outside of the class and special areas of expertise. It would be great for you to research about this outside of class and show interest in these ventures which of course means sincere and genuine interest.
Do Your Work
Complete assignments on time and do the readings. Study for exams and do well in the course. Doing these things are the most important in connecting to a professor since they are the most tangible in expressing your interest in the course. If you don’t do well in the course, there is very little the professor can do to commend you or to write you letters of recommendation.
Keep in Touch
Now that you have made the connection to your professor, you should maintain the connection even after the end of the class. As you get ready to graduate, professors will write letters of recommendation and introduce you to industry contacts so it doesn’t hurt to shoot them an e-mail every once in a while to let them know how you are progressing in your studies.
These are some of the ways to keep in touch with professors – maintaining these connections will take time and effort, but it is sure to pay off along the way!
Jaskamal Gill will graduate in 2016 from Rutgers University with a degree in accounting and a minor in English. Jaskamal plans on working for a Big 4 firm after college and getting her MBA. She dreams of starting her own business and enjoys Virtual Campus.