How to Form a Relationship With Your Professor

If you go to a big school, you might find that you are one of about 200 students in many of your lectures.

With classes this big, it can be hard to set yourself apart and to develop a personal relationship with your teacher.

It’s a shame, since getting to know your professors can be beneficial in a lot of ways.

For one, it takes away your anonymity and makes you feel more accountable for the course work. It also gives you the opportunity to seek help and personal feedback from your teacher. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have a solid connection next time you need a recommendation letter or a reference on a job application.

Try these tips to forge a relationship with your professor:

  • Introduce Yourself

On your first day of class, go in a few minutes early or stay late to simply introduce yourself. Say something like “I’m really looking forward to taking this class, my friend said you’re a great teacher,” or “I’ve been planning to take this class ever since I was a freshman.” Don’t be shy, your professor will admire your initiative and will be more likely to remember you.

  • Participate

Most big lectures don’t require student participation, but professors will often ask questions every now and then. Most students don’t like to volunteer answers in big classes, so if you do, your teacher will be grateful. If you’re easily distracted, sit in front and force yourself to pay attention. If you’re not sitting in the back on your computer, you’ll be able to participate and won’t miss an opportunity to ask a question if you need to.

  • Go to Office Hours

If you ever plan to ask your professor for a recommendation or reference, you need to go to office hours. Teachers prefer to write letters for students whose names and faces they recognize. Even if you don’t have a specific question, don’t be afraid to go in and simply talk about the course material or ask your teacher to look over your homework or a draft of a paper. Most professors have set office hours they have to go to, so don’t be shy about showing up. It’s part of their job, and any good teacher is more than happy to offer outside help.

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Selma Haveric

Selma Haveric

Selma Haveric is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying journalism and Spanish. When she’s not studying, she loves reading, traveling and bike riding. She’s currently deciding whether to go to law school or to postpone her studies for a year and teach English in Spain.
Selma Haveric

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