Connect with your professor to enhance your college experience

By Earn Saenmuk

College life can be nerve wracking at times. Meeting new people, living away from home, time management — all these tasks can be challenging. One of the important adjustments a freshman has to go through is learning how classes are structured. Going from a class of around 20 to 30 students to a lecture of 300 people is not easy. Talking to professors may also be difficult when compared to talking to high school teachers, and every professor is different. Here are some tips on connecting to your professors.

Be active in class

This is kind of a given, but it can help you connect to professors easier. Do not skip class and be there on time. This is very important, especially in a smaller class. Going to class does not just help with learning the materials, but it also helps you to be noticed by your professor in a positive way. Participate actively in class activities — ask and answer questions, stay focused, and do not cause trouble. Students should show that they care about the class. Everyone likes to talk to hardworking students. Leave a good impression.

Talk to your professor after class

Professors usually stick around after the lesson is over. Ask additional questions about the lesson. If your professor has to run, he or she can schedule an appointment outside of class time, or you can speak with him or her during designated office hours.

Email

The fastest way to connect with a professor outside classroom is via email. Make sure to clearly name the subject of the email, including course number. Always introduce yourself at the beginning of the message. Professors receive many emails from students and faculty members everyday and knowing what an email is about can help professors prioritize the emails they receive. Try not to email your professors unless you really need assistance that can’t wait until the next time your class meets — oftentimes, it can be easier to just talk in person about non-pressing issues.

Go to office hours

This is one of the most common and quick ways to connect with a professor. Every professor and TA has office hours set up to help students with any problems regarding their classes. If their office hours conflict with students’ schedules, professors usually will set up an appointment. 

Professors and TAs are usually very accessible. They are willing to help, so do not hesitate to try to connect with them. Always be polite and enthusiastic when talking to them. Talking to professors is in fact, a lot easier than many people think.

Earn is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]