In the coming months, you’ll be spending at least three hours a week with your new college professor. Having a good student-professor relationship is one of many ways to increase your likelihood of succeeding in the class, which can improve your grade point average and keep your financial aid secure.
So, what’s the secret to building a positive relationship? It turns out that the “secret” isn’t so secret at all — it just involves a little effort and communication on your part. Typically, it starts with respect, and you can earn your professor’s almost instantly in these four ways.
Take Responsibility for Your Learning
Most teachers want to know their students are putting in genuine effort to succeed in their classes. This includes going to class prepared (with necessary tools and reading or writing assignments completed), reading the syllabus and taking the time to understand challenging material.
If you show you care enough to work hard in class, your professor may take note and be more likely to help you when you need it. Many professors are willing to go the extra mile to help their students succeed, but only if the students show the same initiative.
Use Their Office Hours
Professors have office hours available for you to visit them whenever you have questions or needs — and they expect you to use them. Using a professor’s office hours is yet another way for you to show you’re invested in succeeding and want to take measures to make that happen.
You might worry you’re bothering the teacher by going to office hours, but that usually isn’t the case. In fact, most teachers display office hours on their syllabus and even encourage students to stop by.
Own Up to Your Mistakes
Mistakes are an inevitable part of life, but it’s not always easy to admit to them. Professors will often respect you more for owning up to a mistake rather than giving excuses and blaming other people or circumstances. It shows a sense of personal responsibility. If you make a mistake or fail a class assignment, admit to your shortcomings and express your desire to fix the problem.
Ask Questions in Class
If your class is mainly discussion-based, chances are that your professor wants you to speak up and participate with questions and insights. If the class is more lecture-based, asking for clarification and elaboration on material you don’t understand can show your teacher you’ve been paying attention and want to learn.
Make a solid effort demonstrating to your professor that you’re willing to work for your success, and you can earn their respect. Start with an honest foundation, and then build on your relationship through the course of the semester. Who knows, you may even secure a long-lasting mentor and friend in the process.
~Here’s to Your Success!
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