Professors do much more than deliver classes and grade assignments. For instance, they’re the ones you’ll ask for letters of recommendation and they may even offer you the chance to participate in a research project while you’re still at college. However, if you never reach out to your professors, the only thing they’ll know about you is how well you did in class. The good news is there are numerous ways you can develop stronger relationships with your professors.
1. Find Out More About Them
Search online to see what you can find out about each of your professors in terms of their research and academic achievements. Places to look for information include your college website and LinkedIn. If you find that any of your professors share the same interests as you, definitely put in the effort to cultivate a relationship.
2. Introduce Yourself
Armed with the above information about your professors, you’re in a better position to strike up a short conversation after your first class. Introduce yourself and mention what you’re looking forward to. However, don’t expect professors to remember your name the next time you meet — they have a huge number of students every semester. You’ll need to interact with your professors a few times before they’ll put a name to your face.
3. Stay Engaged During Class
If your professors encourage students to speak up during class, make sure you do contribute (at least occasionally). The rest of the time, make sure your body language shows that you’re paying attention — this is something professors notice. Lastly, complete even optional homework assignments, and do your best. Although the homework may not count toward your final grade, it will shape your professor’s impression of you.
4. Go to Office Hours
Aim to attend two or three office hours with any professor you want to get to know better. Office hours are ideal for when you have a doubt about something you’re studying, you want more detailed feedback after a test, or you need support before you submit an assignment. During one of your office hours visits, it’s a good idea to talk about your career goals. Ask the professor for advice about what you can do to meet your targets.
5. Ask for a Letter of Recommendation Early
Instead of waiting until you need a letter of recommendation, ask your professor for one as soon as you finish the class. This will mean your professor still remembers you well — and the letter will reflect this.
6. Stay in Touch After Class
Save your professors’ emails to ensure you’re able to drop them a message in the future. For example, you may notice that an employer you’d like to work for is connected to your professor on LinkedIn. Having a mutual contact could help you gain an introduction.
You’ll have more opportunities to connect with professors and work with them on projects if you live near campus. For Durham College student housing, your best option is Foundry Simcoe. Our welcoming community is just steps away from the North Oshawa campus. You can hang out in the common room or study at the desk in your private bedroom — all the suites have high-speed internet. Apply now to secure a spot for an immediate move-in.