Have you ever heard these words from your professor “Reach out to me if you need any help!” Have you had numerous advice encouraging you to reach out to your professor? The question is how should you go about making connections with your professors?
Before we talk about the seamless process of connecting with your professor, let us discuss why it is necessary to do so. Why is it important that we make connections with your professors?
- A great networking experience- Your professors are highly experienced and for the most part have gone through a significant level of academic and career training to get to that point. What does that mean? “They know someone who knows someone.” Thus, they would gladly connect you to professionals in whatsoever field or major you are in.
- Letter of recommendations- Whether it is for graduate school, a job, internship, or co-op, we all need letter of recommendations at some point in our lives. Having that connection with your professor would make it much easier to ask for the letter of recommendation and would also lead to a great letter of recommendation.
- Career opportunities- Professors have a vast amount of network. Thus, they can provide great career opportunities that could land you a dream job or internship. They could also offer other career opportunities to keep your options open.
- Connections with professors can provide you with help that you did not even know you needed.
How do I make connections with my professors?
- Establish a relationship. You need to establish a relationship with your professor to fully enjoy the benefits of connections. There are couple ways to establish this relationship such as: –
Office Hours. The importance of office hours in your college career cannot be emphasized enough. They are crucial to your academic and career success in college. Despite the importance of office hours, only a few students still end up showing up to them. Professors will appreciate the effort and interest you took to actually come to office hours. The professor could start talking about research or other endeavors they are involved in. Be willing to flow with the conversation and show interest.
Try to sit in or around the front row in class. Studies have shown that professors are more inclined to pay attention to students who do so.
Ask or answer questions in class. The Professor is more likely to remember and become familiar to you this way. Educators thrive off participation in class and love to see students show interest and engage in their class. You will become a noticed individual in class through participation.
If they organize group tutoring sessions or study halls for the class, go ahead and attend them if you can. Again, professors love to see engagement. Since these sessions are usually comprised of a small group, you get to have one-on-one conversations with your professor.
2. Reach out through email with your request. Basic information and etiquette for your email include: –
Address your professor by their title (You can find this on your school’s website catalog of faculty or on the syllabus of the course the professor teaches).
Introduce yourself in a professional manner and don’t use any kind of texting language such as “hi” or abbreviations.
Be direct and detailed concerning your request.
Always express gratitude for their time, help and consideration.
End with a professional signature of your name, class standing and major.
3. Add them on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. This is a great way for connecting and staying in touch long term even after you leave the college. If you have worked or volunteered with the Professor in any manner, please go ahead and ask if they can possibly endorse some of your skills on LinkedIn.
4. Get involved with your professor. Do their interests match with yours? If you go to office hours, you will be able to find out if their interests are similar with yours through engaging with conversations with them. If your professor is working on a research project, non-profit, fundraising or community work, please go ahead and volunteer to do so. Through this, you can meet other mutual connections in your field of interest and network. If you have a great attitude and are diligent in whatever you were assigned to, that automatically equates to a great recommendation letter as well!
5. Make yourself available. Sometimes professors might send out some emails during the semester asking if a student can help out with activities such as maybe community volunteer or teaching assistant. If you take that extra step to volunteer your time, that speaks greatly of your character. It is also a great opportunity to truly connect with your professor on a personal level!
Reaching out to Professors is not rocket science. Your professors are genuinely there to help you! They went through so many years of schooling and training to do so. Do not be shy or intimidated. Go out there and make those connections!