4 answers

How important is it to build relationships with your professors?

Asked Pittsford, New York

I will be attending college in September of this year as a freshman undergraduate student. I have heard from many that some college professors may not be as hands- on as others but it is always good to connect with them in terms of networking. I wonder how beneficial this type of networking is?

#college-advice #professors #undergraduate

4 answers

Tucker’s Answer

Updated

I think investing the time in building relationships with your professors can be one of the greatest benefits of the college experience. And when I say professor, that should not be restricted to a tenured expert in their field, although they certainly have a tremendous amount of knowledge & wisdom to offer/share. You should look to build relationships with the myriad of wise and experienced resources that exist in any school, on any campus. It could be a TA (Teachers Assistant), a coach, assistant coach in athletics, be it intramural or competitive varsity team, administrators, veteran employees on campus, or the folks who may be a few years above you who have already developed those relationships. Keep an open heart and a curious mind; with that, your most influential relationships will surprise you and help enrich your educational experience, in and out of the classroom.

Ian’s Answer

Updated St. Louis, Missouri

Hi Raabia!


I'd like to echo what Tucker said above. Building relationships with your professors, and really any one at your school, is an incredible opportunity that shouldn't be undervalued. The benefits of doing so can include but aren't limited too:

  • Internship & Research Placement: Often Professors are gatekeepers to research opportunities on campus and have built an extensive network of graduates with whom are looking for rising stars coming through classes. Being high on the Professors list can greatly benefit you.
  • Individual Study: Need one more credit hour but don't see a class you are interested in? Some schools allow Individual Study programs that you can partner with your professor on a topic and have it be specifically beneficial to your chosen field. I worked with a professor for further research in to AT&T after accepting my job offer, but with a semester remaining. This allowed me to go to the company much more prepared than I would have otherwise.
  • Guidance: Your Professors have an intimate knowledge of the space you are seeking education in. They may have extensive experience in industry and can help to guide you to the companies that you would have the best culture fit for
  • Everyone Else: It doesn't do this topic full justice, but networking and taking a little more time in every interaction you hold can return huge benefits as you go through school and your career. Taking time to get to know your schools support staff can help you more easily clear critical road blocks than if you are just another face on the street.

Great question and I wish you luck through your college experience!

Michael’s Answer

Updated

Hi Raabia,


I think both of the answers given are right on-line. Not to sound repetitive, I will give you a story. I was a bit intimidated by one of my professors in a general business class that was very difficult. He would call people out, be stern, but want to have an understanding about what you comprehended about the subject. I was doing so so in the class and needed a leg up. Well, I quelled my nerves and set some time to speak with him in his office. We ended up having a fantastic conversation, we decided to spend more time covering difficult subject matter and I ended up thriving in that class. Fast forward to graduation and this professor was key in getting me involved with an internship at a former company he worked for. So yes, it is very important to build relationships with your professors, no matter how intimidating they may seem. You never know what it will lead to!


Thanks,


Mike

Hannah’s Answer

Updated

Hi Raabia-


My best advice is to make strong connections to professors at the get-go. I went abroad my junior year of college and I needed a recommendation from a professor in my major to show that I was an excellent candidate and dedicated student. Luckily I had a professor I formed a relationship with, but I didn't have many to choose from and I wish I had. It wasn't until junior year that I realized professors are invested in their students and want them to succeed. I learned that there are so many benefits to forming a strong relationship- investment, career and life advice, and even some grade boosts.


Good luck!

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