Until you need it, it rarely comes to mind, and when you need it, you end up struggling because there is little opportunity to grab it. 

Recommendations from a professor.

A powerful phrase that never seems relevant to most students until they realize how important it is. The common form of a recommendation is one given by a professor. Yes, your boss, doctors, volunteer leaders, etc. can give you a recommendation too, but very few hit the way a professor’s recommendation can. 

Your professor is someone seen consistently. Whether you’re in their class every day or every other day. Professors are the ones who see who you are as a true student. They can attest to how you fare in science classes, how you interact with your peers in experiments and projects, the vivacity you exude when talking about Hume’s perspective of cause and effect, and the way you adapt to academic hardships. Who else can see your classroom struggles and express them in a way that uplifts you rather than hurt you? Keep in mind that a good recommendation comes from a professor who knows you. When asking for a recommendation, write out proof of how you did in their class as a student, why you chose them for a recommendation, and if they are able to write a strong recommendation that shows they are an advocate for your future endeavors. 

You also need to be aware that it is necessary to understand the importance of your education and that a professor is valuable for this reason. They can not only teach but provide guidance for your education and are available for outside help. A good professor can do these things, a great professor will also allow their students to grow close to them and form a relationship where the student can trust their professor enough to ask for a recommendation. 

The power gained from a professor relies on your ability as well. For which professor would stake their name on a student that had no passion or willingness to learn? At the very least, look like you care! A professor that sees improvement in you as a student is a viable option for a recommendation, you have to prove them right. 

The improvement does not have to be in the form of grades; participation in class, by answering questions or asking questions, reaching out to your teacher during office hours, emailing your teacher, these are alternative ways to show that you’re serious about the class. Improving grades is good as well, it does not need to be from a “C” to an “A”, a “C” to a “B”, or even just getting a “B” in class is just as good, you need to show that you try to perform to your best ability and that you care about that work you do. It’s not enough to just “show up” to class, even if you’re an A student. What is enough is a diligent effort with meaningful intentions. Be transparent with this intention, make it clear and then your professor can show their support for you in the recommendation. Through this, the professor can write precisely who you are. That is the power of a professor.