It’s often been said that the relationships you accumulate in college have the greatest impact on you. I, for one, am a huge testament to this fact. I have gained lots of friends within my peers. Although it is a wonderful thing to have relationships with your peers, it is just as important for you to have relationships with your professors. They are the ones who will be great for networking once you graduate from your University. Getting to know them early on and being able to create lasting relations will help you succeed elsewhere.
1. Letters of recommendation
Seeking out recommendation letters is not just a simple task. You cannot just go up to a professor and say, “Hey. I am applying for a job, an internship, etc., if you could write me a letter of recommendation, that would be great.” If you do plan on asking a professor for a letter of recommendation later on down the line, it’s important that you keep in regular contact with them. If they provide you with a letter of recommendation, be sure to thank them afterward.
2. Networking and job leads
Most likely, your professors are well connected in the industry and major you are studying. Lots of professors know of some very important leaders in the area of your interest because they’ve either taught them in the past or because of the research they have done. Your professor could get you connected with former students who’ve gone on to be successful in the particular field, which could be a great network. Their experiences and networks can also help lead you to internships or on-campus work opportunities.
3. Enjoy class more
If you know and have built a professional relationship with your professor, most likely you will learn to appreciate the class a lot more. You will (hopefully) begin to see it as an opportunity to learn from someone whom you know and respect.
4. You're more comfortable asking for help
Not every class is going to be easy. Many times, asking for a professor’s help with understanding the material can make all the difference. Asking for help will be much easier if you don’t feel like you’re asking a stranger.
5. Succeed in their class
Professors are all different and all have their own priorities within their classroom. So one way to start the first conversation with your professor is to ask them how you can succeed in their class. It is important to show your professor that you care about what is important to them. This is a great way to get the ball rolling as you get to know them better.
6. Class participation
Many times when you look at the syllabus, class participation is listed as a percentage of your final grade. In short, this means that participating in class is just as important as completing homework assignments. if you are uncomfortable participating or speaking out in class, getting to know your professor is a way to increase your comfort level.
Your professors are teaching your class for a reason — because they are experts in those subjects. Take advantage of their intelligence by asking questions during office hours or after class on the material you are confused about. If your professors offer study sessions before exams, make sure to attend. Aside from class material, ask the professor more about the subject or field if you plan on pursuing it. Chances are your professors will love sharing their own journey to that career and will have tons of advice about what you should be doing in college to get yourself on the right track for after graduation.
8. A personal connection makes you more willing to study
It can be a real challenge to motivate yourself to study when the class is just somewhere to be three times a week. As soon as you leave the classroom, all you are thinking about is the next party or the dinner that you’ve planned with your friends later in the evening. If you don't feel much of a connection to the material you need to learn, You’ll never take the time necessary to learn it thoroughly outside of class. Going up to your professors after class and getting to know them is a great solution to this problem. Once you know your professors personally, the class becomes more real. Once you feel a connection to your professors you will have an obligation to study, because doing poorly on a test will feel like letting down a friend. This alone can make studying feel like less of a chore and improve your test scores.
9. Get better grades in their class
Getting to know your professor can lead to a major change in your final grade. Many students who have been close with their professors have seen their grades bumped from B’s to A’s just because they asked for help. As long as you show them that you care about your grade, they will have no problem boosting your grade. If you want this opportunity, make sure you build a relationship with your professor over the course of the semester.
10. A lifelong connection
Professors are more than just academic instructors — they can be lifelong academic and professional connections. So, besides opening your eyes to internship and job opportunities, they may be able to vouch for you when you apply to a position. Reach out to your professor after the semester ends by visiting, emailing, or calling him or her every so often to check in.
Luckily, professors make it easy to get to know them. Lots of them have office hours so you can easily go and talk to them. You can also ask them if they’d like to grab a coffee or go out to lunch on-campus. Ask them questions about their career experience and how they became a professor. Get to know them on both a personal and professional level, you will not regret it.