Having good relationships with your professors will likely yield both short-term and long-term benefits for you.
In the short-term, you are likely to be more engaged in the class and learn more if you establish a good rapport with your teacher. They’ll see that you are actively involved in the learning process and can help guide you when you’re having trouble. They obviously can’t show favoritism in grading your papers, but they may be more receptive and helpful if you miss a class or need some extra guidance.
For the long-term, you may be able to leverage your relationship for letters of recommendation for internships or jobs or when applying for grants or additional scholarships. They may even have connections for networking that will aid you in finding a job after graduating.
Here are some simple steps to developing a better relationship with your professors.
If you are not in attendance, professors are likely to assume you don’t care. Even if it’s a large lecturer hall with a couple hundred students, professors make a mental note if they see your face there for each lecture. Sit up front or at least in the same area each time. It helps the professor know you are there and shows them that you respect their time and knowledge.
Pay attention: Showing up is half the battle, but listening carefully will go a long way. Often professors have a very personal style of teaching and inject lecturers with personal anecdotes. Paying attention to their style of teaching and these little personal stories may give you some insight into their personality and help you better interact with them as a human being.
Do the work: Be sure to meet all the requirements and turn in the necessary assignments for the class. Be prepared for class and show up having studied the lessons. This shows the professor that you’ve put in the effort; are reliable and committed.
Participate: Not all classes are appropriate for your participation, but if there is a chance to get involved, you should. Don’t dominate the discussion, but asking well thought out questions demonstrates you are engaged in the process and that you have a willingness to fully understand the material.
Take advantage of office hours: Most professors hold office hours weekly and post the designated times it’s appropriate for students to stop by. Don’t wait until the end of the semester to take advantage of this opportunity – it’ll look like you just want to be prepped for the final exams. It’s also important to show up for the office hours prepared with a specific discussion topic in mind. Don’t just show up to chat. Also, be professional and respectful. Professors know students are casual but at least look like you didn’t just roll out of your dorm room bed.
Get to Know the TA: At bigger universities many large lecture courses are graded by graduate students and teaching assistants. It’s also a good idea to get to know these folks as well. They can offer insight into the professors since they work closely with them.
For more insider tips, check out these books:
Professors Guide to Getting Good Grades in College This 368-page book is a humorous and entertaining guide for students looking to get the most out of their college education. It’s a fast-paced read that reveals insider secrets about how professors really grade and offers practical tips to succeed.
What Smart Students Know: Maximum Grades. Optimum Learning. Minimum Time. Author Adam Robinson introduces students to an innovative approach that can help them achieve top grades. The 288 book also highlights the excitement of discovering the joy of learning and mastering the art of learning efficiently.