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Opportunities in College: Get to Know Your Professors with Three Easy Steps

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One of the greatest opportunities in college is the relationships you can develop with your professors. However, this can easily become a missed opportunity. Professors can often times seem our enemies: constantly flooding us with papers, readings, and the infamous group project. The last thing you may want is to spend another minute with them. But getting to know your professors can help your future immensely – and also enable you to know some pretty cool people!

Take advantage of office hours.

Office hours are the perfect opportunity to speak with your professors. They are required to be there, so you are not inconveniencing them in any way! (And most professors are just waiting for students to stop by.) Office hours are great for getting questions answered, of course, but they are also wonderful for getting to know each other. Especially during my senior year, I utilized office hours to talk about graduate school and job options.

Learn about their interests and backgrounds.

One of my favorite things about my small, liberal arts college was the ability to get to know my professors. I learned so much about what direction I want to go in my career based on the conversations I had with professors in my department. Learn about what all your professors have done! One of my professors was a Fulbright scholar in Brazil, and another spent time in North Korea. Hearing about their experiences first-hand was incredibly inspiring, and allowed me to look into experiences that I hadn’t yet considered.

Keep in touch after graduation.

While you will need professors to write you recommendations in college if you are applying to graduate schools or even some jobs, you will most likely need them to write recommendations for you after college as well. Keeping in touch with them after graduation is critical. Keep them up to date on your internship, first job, graduate school woes and joys, or whatever it may be. Make sure you don’t burn bridges with any professors, either. Sure, you may despise your math prof who takes six weeks to grade a test, but you never know when you may need a recommendation from your math professor, even if you’re an English major. Your professors will always be happy to hear from you, and almost certainly happy to help you.

Photo Courtesy of University of Wisconsin

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It took me until senior year to be comfortable going to the office hours of my professors. I am so glad I finally did since both the prof's I regularly saw became the people who vouched for me on my grad school apps. I only wish I had gone to office hours of my other professors before senior year!

Great points! I think it's easy to think that you don't want to spend any more time than you have to with professors... BUT, they're SO different outside of the classroom! In college, I had developed true friendships with some! Completely invaluable. (I still email a few from time to time for advice.)

Great relationships with Professors wills serve you during and after college. I fully thank the head of the journalism department at Lehigh for helping me land my ESPN internship...he read through the strongest things I had published during undergrad and picked out my BEST. Professors rock, and will be there to support you years after graduation.

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