Grades are important, and depending on what your plans may be after college, they can be SUPER important.
As the classroom environment in the United States can differ greatly from those around the world, making friends with professors can have a tremendous impact on your grades. While some professors will take extreme measures to make sure they have no bias when grading, others may be influenced if they see your name at the top of a paper. But beyond the possibility of better grades, making friends with your professor will be helpful as they can act as a mentor in your college career and throughout life.The awkward wave – one way to say hello to your professors on campus.
Below are a few tips to help you make friends with professors, and they’re not all that different from making friends with anyone else. After all, professors are people too, not just grading and letter of recommendation-writing machines!
- Introduce yourself and have something to say – Generally, the best time to introduce yourself is before or after class and always give the professor a confident greeting. Also, make it a point to say something besides your name. A few things come to mind: why you’re taking their class, any previous work of that they may have written, general questions that weren’t answered during the class, etc.
- Say hello to them outside of the class – On campuses, it can be common to see your professors out and about. If you can, try and say hello as everyone always enjoys seeing a friendly face. But be careful as people can generally tell who’s a suck-up, and that’s one way to ensure that while you may become friends with your professor, you may no longer be friends with some of your peers.
- Show a genuine interest for their work and a natural curiosity about them – The key word here is “genuine” as fake interest can often be smelled from a mile away. Your professor, just like everyone, wants to feel important and they want to feel as if their work matters. If you don’t know much about their work besides teaching, try asking them about any recent trips they may have taken, as that can help open them up a bit and build some rapport.
- Have a different opinion? Tell them, respectfully – Nobody likes a “yes man” if they know you’re only agreeing to please them. Professors often like students to take a stance and defend it. Beyond showing the courage and thought to have a different point of view, it shows what type of student you are and can help distinguish you from the other students.
- Don’t Annoy Them – The obvious “don’ts” include texting, talking, or anything that can be seen as disrespectful in class. However, when talking to your professor one-on-one, be sure to let your professor have their space if they need to get something done, and always try to be mindful of their time.
- Do Your Work – At the end of the day, actions do speak louder than words. If you have been meeting with your professor and telling them how much you love the class, nothing looks worse than not doing the homework. But more than that, always try to surpass the mere expectations as initiative and creativity will almost always be rewarded.
Readers, do you have any long-standing relationships with your professors? Did you find it was an easy transition to become friends?