Throughout the course of an individual’s college career, there is one relationship many students should not do without. Creating a bond with your professor.
Creating a connection with your professor is one of the most beneficial relationships in a college setting whether it be through networking, references, and career readiness.
One of my first experiences in creating a relationship occurred during my first semester of freshman year here at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. I was speaking with upperclassmen from previous classes enrolled in Business Honors, and I heard about one professor that was particularly difficult. I was determined to impress the said professor. During my weeks I found myself spending several hours studying, preparing, and educating myself on topics in class. I have never worked harder to create a relationship, nonetheless with a professor. The work and effort put into the class that I once feared created one of the most favorable professional relationships I’ve ever had the opportunity to seize.
To create one of these multi-beneficial relationships, there are a few steps
- Introduce Yourself to Your Professor
Introducing yourself may seem difficult, but professors are here to teach you. After your first or second class, approach your professor, introduce yourself with a simple wave or handshake (in a world without COVID-19). If you want to differentiate from your peers, bring up a topic that was covered in class that piqued your interest, perhaps asking a question or comment on the lecture. Your professor will remember your attention and interest. Mercy College is a small university, so your professor may only need to meet you once or twice before they get to know your name.
2. Do Your Research…
Knowing your professor before they know you may be one of the easiest ways to connect. Some professors here at Mercy College have an account on their blackboard that introduces them. If you cannot find the introduction on Blackboard, perhaps try searching LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great resource where you can find an individual’s history on education, work, volunteering, and more. This research will allow you to talk to your professor on topics that diversify you from other students.
3. Start Participating!
To show a professor you care and are being an attentive listener in class, start interacting. Whether in the classroom or on Zoom, the truth is there is nearly no excuse to not be in class with your camera on. Respond to your professor when there are questions asked and engage in the classroom conversation. Begin contributing to class by producing quality material, analytical ideas, or simple answers to keep the discussion moving.
4. Post Course Meetings
Once your semester or term comes to an end, ask to meet with your professor. Scheduling a meeting with your professor shows your involvement and how much you do care for help. The professor can provide advice to you not only in the classroom, but also throughout networking, writing letters of recommendation, and in future careers.
5. Stay In Contact
Professional contacts such as professors will almost always have connections to future employers and job opportunities. Many professors at Mercy College are adjunct professors with full-time jobs, allowing a lot of opportunities to connect and work together. More often than not, employers love to tap into a professor’s network of student connections to ask from the cream of the crop for an opportunity. There are many things that are unsure in life, but the fact is that a professor cannot recommend someone they do not know.