Getting to know your college professors can be intimidating. You may feel a greater distance between you and your professors than you did with high school teachers. This is probably due to your large lecture hall courses and the number of students in each class. It’s easy to feel lost in the shuffle or confused as to the best way to connect with a professor. Here are some tips for getting to know those elusive collegiate course conductors!
Go to class. Seems simple enough, right? It is the best way to make your presence known to your professor. It also makes utilizing the rest of the tips on this list much easier. It’s hard to get to know your professor when you refuse to attend their class. Just go to class. If you feel ambitious, sit in the front row for the first few classes so the professor recognizes you! It is easier and more genuine to make an impression early. You’ll save yourself from scrambling to get to know them during finals week.
Ask questions. When you go to lecture or discussion, participate. Some classes grade students on their participation, but even if your class doesn’t, it’s important to engage in the conversation. Asking questions demonstrates your curiosity about the subject matter and willingness to learn more. It does not make you look stupid – if you have a question, chances are so do several other students in class.
Go to office hours. Professors usually have scheduled blocks of time for students to visit them in their office. These are called office hours and you should definitely take advantage of them. Use this time to discuss more questions you have about the course or what the professor looks for when grading. Office hours are especially helpful when the lecture hall is full of students. Stand out by actively meeting your professor!
Take more classes with your professor. If you like their teaching style, take another class from the same teacher! This is a huge compliment and they will be happy to see you in another course.
Read their published material. College professors often have published work out in the world – research papers or novels that they wrote before or during their time at your school. Some even use their materials in their coursework. Either way, take a look at these published works. It may give you insight into what their background is and what they value in education and life.
Not only are professors excellent learning resources, they will be more inclined to mentor you or write you a letter of recommendation down the line. Don’t be afraid to get to know them!