Talking with Professors: Tips & Tricks
As a prospective or incoming student, you’ve probably been advised to talk with your professors once you start school. I know when I was visiting colleges I was told to get a good rapport with my professors at least dozen times.
Now being in my second year, I can assure that it is sound advice. However, actually initiating communication with professors can be intimidating. Even this semester I didn’t ask my one professor for help as soon I should have because I was being stubborn. Don’t be stubborn like me! Talking with professors is easy and doable.
All professors give you their contact information on the syllabus, including their e-mail address, office number, and office hours. Make sure you know this information!
On a whole, professors want to help you learn. This includes communicating with you when you reach out with a question.
If you are sending an e-mail to a professor put your class code in the subject line (ie: ISTE 260). Also, make sure your e-mail sounds professional and is well formatted.
Don’t be too stubborn to ask for help. You are at college to gain knowledge. No one is judging you for asking questions.
If you a conflict with a professor’s office hours, do not use that as an excuse to not communicate with your professor. Schedule a different time. Professors are willing to find a time to meet with you.
Don’t feel intimidated to go talk to your professor, even if you don’t understand a big overarching concept of the course.
Just say “hi.” If a professor’s office is located in a hallway that you frequent, there is a good chance that you will see your professor in passing. If you do, smile, wave, and say “hello,” “hi,” “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or something of the like. If you have extra time, ask your professor how her day has been. Sometimes a little greeting can spark a ten minute conversation. You never know.
Ask a single question. If you don’t understand something or maybe one question on your homework is giving you trouble, ask your professor about it. You can ask via e-mail or you can stop by his/her office. Either way, a single question is a good way to start a semester long (or longer) conversation with your professor. Honestly, I do this and it helps more than you could possibly guess.
Go over a test with your professor. Some classes return tests to you, some do not. Either way, set up a time to talk with your professor about the test. Go over what questions you missed or didn’t understand. You will learn a lot and get on your professor’s good side.
I wish you the best of luck talking with your professors when the time comes. I know it can be difficult but it is immensely beneficial, I promise!