Sometimes you love your professors and sometimes you hate them. Sometimes they love you as a student and sometimes they don't. No matter how you feel about professors it is important to build relationships with professors.
Why? Because when you need a letter of recommendation for a scholarship or graduate school application, you need to have a healthy professor-student relationship to get a strong letter. Because when professors need student assistants or know about cool internships, they often go to the students they know first.
On top of that, professors can be awesome if you get to know them and let them get to know you. Here are 5 tips to help you build strong relationships with your professors:
Know your interests. Before you can make nice with your professors, you need to know what you are interested in. Think about what you might want to study in graduate school, what kind of career would you like to pursue, and what your personal philosophy about education.
Find out more. Now that you know your interests, seek out professors with similar research interests, career experiences, or personal philosophy. You can find out more about professors by looking at department websites and reading any of their published work like articles or textbooks. Take classes with professors you might want to connect with and go to their office hours to learn about their philosophy.
Keep it up. Don't just go to office hours once or twice and think you have a strong relationship. To keep your relationship with your professors alive, you should stay in contact with professors throughout the semester or quarter. Email professors for suggestions of articles or books to read and after you've read whatever they suggested discuss it with them. Ask them about research or internship opportunities. You have to work to maintain the relationship.
Not just professors. Don't forget about about your Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs). They will be professors some day and are often easier to relate to than professors. And if you aren't as close to your professors but have a good relationship with TAs and GSIs, they can help you get to know your professors better.
By the numbers. To get the most out of your relationships with professors, you should maintain at least three strong relationships with professors at your school. If you are a transfer student, you should be maintaining relationships with both professors at your previous school and transfer institution.
Put yourself out there and build strong relationships with your professors.
Got questions? Please feel free to ask The Advisor about it.