College Initiative – Get to Know Your College Educators

February 15th, 2009

The quality and compatibility of your professors with your collegiate needs will largely shape your experience as a student at a college. At either end of the spectrum, professors can both inspire a student or make them hate a subject they once loved.

They can come across as brutal tyrants or serve as a student’s best friend. Either way, it is helpful to get to know them and seek to be on friendly terms. As Machiavelli said, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Preliminary Research

Begin the process of introducing yourself to your professors even before they become the instructor of one of your classes. You can assess your teachers online at certain web sites designated for this purpose.

Once there, you simply enter your professor’s name in a search engine and read the reviews that pop up. You may be surprised by the various comments you find. This step will help you avoid terrible teachers or, if you’re stuck with them, at least give you some ideas of how other students dealt with them.

Classroom Participation

Additionally, start getting to know your teachers in the classroom by asking questions. Participation is regarded as a critical portion of many classes, and this is the first step to get a teacher to notice you.

If there is something time-consuming or off topic that you don’t understand, ask your professor about it after class. Arrange a casual meeting to discuss your questions.

Of course, this option is available for students who take classes on a college campus, but it’s much more difficult with online colleges.

Show Initiative

Bring you professor drafts of your papers before they are due and request a little time to discuss them. Don’t simply have that individual write a few notes on your work, but talk personally about you efforts to receive more detailed feedback.

Once the instructor learns your point of view from your own mouth, they will likely be more receptive to it on the final draft.

After having spoken with your professor, you will begin to understand what they are really looking for and can do an even better job in your classes.

Friendliness Can Be a Benefit

If you form friendships with a few instructors in the same field, chances are they will talk to each other about you – positively. This is merely human nature.

If they are talking about you, you will appear to be a leader, if only because they all know you. This is the way to gain some additional recognition.

Try to become friends with professors at the top of their departments, those who have written books, and the ones who are well-known.

Be an Asset

They have more influence and can be of assistance to you farther down the road. The connections you build with professors may even go a long way in landing a great post-college job.

At the very least, speaking with your professors can earn you well-written and insightful letters of recommendation. There is very little to lose and a lot to gain by getting to know them. They can help you with many areas of your life, even beyond merely the subjects they teach.

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