Building relationships with professors is an excellent skill to have! Being able to have a relationship with your instructors and professors can improve your classroom experience and potential. Interactions during class are more personal and meaningful and can help you feel more comfortable asking questions if you have this connection with your instructors. It shows them that you are dedicated to your education and trying your hardest. They keep this in mind when looking at your assignments. When instructors offer feedback, it is more meaningful and constructive when they know you as a person, rather than only a student.
From my personal experience, building relationships with instructors has led me to job opportunities, letters of recommendation for scholarships, and networking with the Dean of the Business School. Building relationships with instructors can help you in the long run. If they know you well enough and can see your personality even outside of the classroom, they can write letters of recommendation which will always come in handy!
Sometimes, it can be really intimidating to approach your instructors and start to create a relationship with them. I have some tips to help you overcome this.
- Start Early
Before you have the first class meeting, I recommend looking through the syllabus and making sure you understand everything in its entirety. Many times, I want to clarify my understanding of something I saw on the syllabus, so I send an email to the instructor. This shows that you are prepared, attentive, comfortable asking questions, and you make a polite first impression. The professors will also remember your name before class even begins!
- Ask Questions
Sometimes it is hard to come up with questions if you fully understand the instructions for an assignment or project. Asking questions shows instructors that you are attentive and detail-oriented. Sometimes if I don’t have any questions about instructions, I will confirm the due date to ensure that I understand correctly and won’t miss a deadline.
- Go With A Friend
Approaching instructors can be very awkward and new. If you don’t feel comfortable talking with them alone, or going to their office by yourself, take a friend from that class. Instructors are happy to see that you want to build a relationship, and it can benefit your friend as well if you do it together.
- Find Common Ground
Some instructors think building relationships with students is just as awkward as you think it is! Find something in common to ask them about, whether it is their own education, or hobbies. Start a conversation about an assignment, mentioning what you are enjoying or struggling with is a good idea.
Building relationships and connections with your instructors can maximize your opportunities in college and also help you with continued success in the future.