Going from high school to college is a big shift in your life, and part of that shift is moving from high school teachers to college professors. From teaching style to expectations of the student, having a college professor for the first time is a new experience. Here are some tips to prepare you for college professors.
A college workload can be much different than high school. Most of the time college professors post a syllabus at the beginning of the semester with the due dates for homework assignments and projects. Professors won’t remind you when assignments are due like high school teachers did; you’ll have to take responsibility for checking the syllabus regularly to keep track of it. Once classes are underway, your schedule will fill up quickly. Professors expect you to make a schedule for yourself to balance study and homework time with relaxation.
Get to Know Your Professor
A huge difference between high school and college is that for some of your classes, especially freshman year, the professor will be teaching in front of 200–300 students. A professor won’t be able to discern who you are unless you make yourself stand out. Introduce yourself to the professor either after class or at their office. Answer questions in class, ask questions when you have them and contribute to class discussions. Being known in class shows the professor that you take the class seriously and that you want to learn.
Ask for Help When You’re Struggling
Professors do want you to succeed, but they will not hunt you down if you start struggling and ask if you need help. Professors want you to take responsibility for your own academics and take the initiative to go to their office hours and see them if you do not understand something or are falling behind. I know some people in high school rarely went to teachers for help, but going to a professor for help is what they’re there for, and sometimes it can mean the difference between passing and failing.
Take Advantage of Their Expertise
Remember that when you’re talking to a professor, you’re talking to someone who is at the top of their field. Make the most of this opportunity! They can advise you in what you should do to get the career you want, help you get scholarships and write you letters of recommendation for internships, grad school, jobs and more. They’re a wealth of information that you can tap into for anything you need.