You don’t want to look back on your college years and wish you had built stronger relationships with your professors. When it comes to networking and furthering your career after a bachelor’s degree, having instructors you can reach out to for support is ideal. Also, when it comes time to ask for recommendations letters, you don’t want your former professors to decline because they can’t remember who you are. With that being said, be sure you build a relationship beyond submitting your assignments.
The professors at Shorter University want to see you succeed beyond their classes, but that begins with you taking the first steps to build the rapport. Here’s are list of the top five things you can do to stand out in a sea of students and assignments even in an online environment.
Introduce yourself the first week of class. Either email or a call to your professor during office hours to formally introduce yourself. If you have time in your schedule, take the time to go to campus and meet your professors. Be sure to greet them with a handshake and state an aspect of the class you are looking forward to the most from reviewing the course syllabus. You can maintain this relationship by checking in every couple of weeks, asking questions when you are struggling with a concept and asking for advice when it’s appropriate. Be sure to use this most valuable resource you have available to you—your professors.
Don’t just be a passive participant in an online class. Instead, make being active in the course a weekly priority. While you don’t need to comment on every student’s post or constantly start debates, be sure you are interjecting your thoughts and show you have a vested interest in your education.
Be respectful not only to your professors, but to your peers as well. Be considerate when another student in the class has a conflicting opinion from yours. Listen and provide dialogue in a constructive manner using the material you are learning in class as your evidence. In addition, if you are working on a group project in an online class, be sure to stay organized and withhold your end of responsibilities with your group.
Share your professional goals with your instructor. Instructors are people, just like us, and have a passion for their students and teaching. Be sure to take a moment to talk to your professor about your professional aspirations and see what advice he or she has to offer. Oftentimes, our professors have worked in the industries for which they are preparing you for and have a network of professionals who can help you land the job of your dreams.
Perform well in your classes. If you don’t perform well in the class, it will be hard to maintain a solid, professional relationship with your professors. Maintaining your work ethic is the perfect opportunity to be taken seriously by your professors and to show you are invested in what you are learning. Show your instructor that you’re in it to win it by submitting assignments on time, staying on schedule with the readings and avoiding excuses for late assignments. By following these basic rules, it can help when asking for a recommendation for a job or referral in the future.
Just like any professional contact, you should reach out to your professors and stay in touch. In many instances, employers will contact professors and other education networks for interns or new hires. Be sure you stand out in the crowd!