As with everything else in life, you’ll find that fostering good relationships in college will work to your benefit. That’s especially true when it comes to the people who are most likely to hold your future in their hands: professors.
Here are a few tips for ensuring that you build rapport with your college professors.
Show Interest in the Class
There’s not much that warms a professor’s heart more than to see students taking the initiative to learn what’s being taught in his or her class. Show some interest in the subject material by doing the required reading, asking questions in class, and paying attention (rather than falling asleep) during lectures.
Remember, it’s often the case that professors are not only experts in the subjects that they teach, they also take it personally if you find the course material boring or unnecessary. However, they’ll take a shine to you very quickly if you come across as someone who’s genuinely serious about learning the material taught in the course.
Use the Right Title
When you’re addressing a professor, chances are pretty good that the right title to use is “Doctor.” You might get away with “Professor,” but older members of the faculty might experience a flashback to a TV show from the 1960s called Gilligan’s Island.
Avoid the old-fashioned “Mr.” and “Mrs.” unless you’re specifically requested to use those titles. Certainly, the use of a first name is a major faux pas and won’t win you any brownie points.
Tell the Truth
Here’s a tried but true piece of advice: if you want people to respect you, then respect them by telling the truth. If, for whatever reason, you really did forget that project was due on a certain day, your professor might cut you some slack if he or she knows you well enough to believe that you’re honest. On the other hand, if you’ve tossed a few “dog ate my homework” lines at the prof in the past, then you can be pretty sure you won’t be getting any future breaks in that class.
Professors might not seem like busy people (in all likelihood, the probably aren’t), but that doesn’t mean that they enjoy having their time wasted. When you need to address a problem with one of your professors, be clear and get straight to the point. Don’t suck up the professor’s time with pointless dialog about your own problems or how your day is going.
Avoid the Use of Threats
In this litigious society, you can be sure that professors who have been around for a while have heard their fair share of lawsuit threats, even at schools like Ohio University. Avoid adding to that problem by issuing threats of your own. If there’s a legitimate grievance, work it out in a professional way with your prof. If that doesn’t get the issue resolved, take it to the local administration, but try to leave litigation to people who’ve been hit by the Pepsi truck.
As a college student, you might not yet have learned that relationships are often more important than the actual work you produce. Get your life off to a good start by developing solid relationships with your professors in college.