How to Get to Know Your Professors
You’re bound to make a lot of new friends in an undergraduate program, yet your peers aren’t the only ones on campus you should form relationships with. Befriending professors and having them by your side can help throughout your campus years. Here are some tips for getting to know your professors.
Office hours are periods of time each week that a professor sets aside to welcome students to their office and chat. Attending office hours frequently shows a professor you’re engaged in their course and is a great way to spark a relationship.
Look in each course syllabus to find when and where office hours are held. Attending them early is better than showing up later in the term, as it displays genuine interest. Some professors also hold their office hours by appointment, but don’t be afraid to email them to set up a meeting.
Stay After Class
If office hours conflict with your schedule, sticking around for a couple minutes after class is a simple way to get a professor’s attention. Similarly, attending optional review sessions and asking questions shows engagement with the subject material and the professor’s lessons.
Be a Teaching Assistant
Although applying to be a teaching assistant (TA) isn’t an option for freshmen, you can start as early as your sophomore year. TAs work as a professor’s direct assistant, grading assignments, uploading information to the course website and administering exams.
Taking the position is a win-win, as you’ll get to know the professor more and get a better grasp on the material. You can even get a letter of recommendation from your professor if you apply to graduate or professional school.
Intern or Research
If you’re able to form a positive relationship with a professor throughout a school year, ask them if they’re doing any research or need any interns for the summer. These positions look great on a resume and might leave you with extra spending money for next year.
Working a summer job with a professor also can lead you to meet other prominent figures in a field you’re interested in. Network appropriately and you might put your foot in the door for a job after you graduate.