The Importance of Building a Professional Relationship with Your Professor

How to Build a Professional Relationship with Your ProfessorContrary to popular student belief, professors are more than just lecturers. Professors are professionals, intellectuals, researchers, analysts, artists, musicians, writers, parents, and more. These people who dedicate their lives to educating the next generation are some of the greatest resources of your entire lives. Later in life, you may have mentors or bosses you look up, but college is the time to appreciate the value of what is in front of you. Find out why it is pertinent for students to take the time to cultivate a professional relationship with their professors.


A Close Bond Can Assist Deeper Learning

Students interested in understanding a subject, theory, or study in greater depth should contact their professor. Whether after class, via email, or during a related discussion, students that ask questions showcase their effort, and dedication while becoming more familiar with the lesson and fueling their fire to learn. Students should look to teachers to analyze and utilize their background knowledge, research experience, and other applicable merits. And don’t think this special bond is one-sided. When a professor knows more about your interests and goals in life, they can tailor the information they give you or provide it from their own personal research. Opportunities lie in the place of conversation, friendship, and a genuine interest in the lives of those around us.


Professors Might See Potential When You Don’t

Professors often have the option to nominate their students for awards and academic societies. By building a professional relationship with a teacher, students are likely to be remembered when this opportunity arises, therefore, acquiring an invitation to prestigious academic clubs, societies and other opportunities. While this is a great byproduct and real possibility, professors often have a network of professionals that could be looking for someone to volunteer, intern, or apply for a job. What better way to start your career than off the recommendation of someone who helped educate you on the way there?


Don’t Go Unnoticed

If you are not making an effort to bond with your teacher, you are more likely to be forgotten. Despite personal motivation and determination, a teacher that can barely remember your face is less likely to think of you when an opportunity arises. To be unforgettable, professors need to see more effort than scoring high on exams and turning in assignments alone. Make it a point to show them your personality and intellect. Do this by attending office hours, asking questions after class, seeking advice on how to go about classwork, engaging in additional discussion to class topics even after that week has passed. Unlike classmates, professors are more obligated to give you their time. While being respectful of their time, do take advantage to make a lasting impression on someone who can be in your corner someday.


A Built-In Mentor

Heeding information and tips needed to be successful; professors are a student’s best secret weapon. They can divulge professional information that reveals ways to enter the work field. In fact, they might even know of particular entry-level positions that are available at any given time. By forming a bond with a professor, students are more likely to access the informative, helpful guidance most teachers are willing to offer. Whether an individual is looking for direction in his or her professional life, or even their personal life, a professor is a level-headed mentor that can help. If they are your professor, they are your senior in some area of study that you need in your education and eventual career. Once you’re in the work environment you’ll see that time is scarce. Take advantage of the time you both have to expand and share information that solidifies your knowledge base.


Get to Know Their Personality

Students will see a more humanized side of teachers when they bond through a professional friendship. As mentioned, professors are artists, intellectuals, music fans, and a mentor to help pave the way to success. Often, a person who is a professor also has a part of them that wants to help others. These kinds of creative and altruistic traits make for interesting conversation, can introduce you to a new interest, and give you an idea of how lives can be varied and successful. You don’t need to get involved in their personal lives to learn more about your professors. Simple questions about their background, weekend plans, or opinions on matters can go a long way.


Make the Semester More Enjoyable

There is nothing worse than painfully trudging through a dry class with little student participation. When students do not give their input, debate, or ask questions, a class turns into a speech—from the professor. By getting involved and getting to know the teacher, students are more likely to enjoy their class rather than dread it. Professors will enjoy the class more as well! Live in the present instead of scrolling on your phone or browsing through your laptop. Actively engaging in class helps connect to your professor and peers; allows you to digest the material more easily; and ensures you’re getting your monies worth – remember, you’re paying to be in class.


They Might Help You More Willingly

When a professor is familiar with a student and sees they are genuinely motivated, a professor is likely to be more apt to give this student extra help when needed. If a student usually sits in the back of the class, streaming music online, a professor might be less likely to help them when they come begging for clarity about the midterm they just failed. Professors want to see motivation, participation, understanding of the subject at hand, and effort when students don’t understand the lesson. This intangible quality is one that earned, not feigned. Trying to participate a week before the project is due, or ask questions once you’re failing isn’t the same thing.


Career Questions and Networking

No one knows more about the options a student has post-graduation than a professional in that field, making it important for students to build a professional relationship with their professors. To get the inside information on what it is like to enter the field, and to gain insight regarding which career path suits an individual, one should consult a close, trusted professor. Ask your professor about the employment rate and the projected job growth concerning a potential position to help make a decision.

Unfortunately, many students go through school without realizing what to do after they don their graduation gown. Students who inquire teachers about their options are more likely to know what they are doing after graduation. Professors who know important information regarding an open position might be willing to share that with a candidate that they see fit—but that won’t be a student they’ve already forgotten about!


Professors Make Great References

One of the most important aspects of a student to professor relationship is that teachers are an excellent resource when it comes to references. When students need a recommendation letter, a professional reference, or an educational reference, a trusted teacher is an excellent choice.

On the contrary, if students do not make the effort to build a professional, personal relationship with a teacher, the professor might deny this request. Professors have several classes a semester—after a few semesters or school years fly by, they might not even remember students that did not leave an impression on them. Help them put a face to your name by cultivating a professional relationship with them from the start.


Why They are Top References

While others might seek references from family members and friends, a professor from an accredited university is a much more professional source. Whether students are applying to a national honor society, graduate school, or a potential position in their field, utilizing a professor as a reference is always a move in the right direction. Those on the other side of the decision-making process will know the reasons why a professor would recommend a student. Typically it’s down to their willingness to be outgoing and engaging while also showing the personal motivation an individual has to excel in their field.


Florida National University

While choosing a school, students should consider how available professors make themselves to students. At Florida National University, our flexible schedules and small class sizes make it more feasible for students to communicate with their professors and get to know them. We take pride in our commitment to helping students succeed, but students must understand that building professional relationships with professors is the key to success. Are you ready to join us in growing and learning? Apply to FNU today!


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