With a benefit of hindsight, I can admit that my biggest mistake during the college years was that I didn’t establish a good rapport with my professors. My shyness was the reason I did not manage to stand out of the crowd back then. Consequently, professors knew neither me nor my abilities and skills. When I came to one of my professors to ask for a letter of recommendation, she did not believe I was on her list of students. So, this was actually the very moment that I realized that it’s high time to overcome shyness.
If you’re feeling now just like me during my college years, check out the following tips how to communicate with your professors.
1. Introduce yourself right after the first class. Even if it is the first day in college, make sure that your professor remembers you. You might as well enter into some discussion during the lecture or just come to your professor after the class and introduce yourself.
2. Look up some information about your professor online. Try to browse some info about your professor, e.g. bio, professional interests, etc. Besides, you might want to find out whether they have a profile on LinkedIn or some other social network.
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3. Be active during classes. Do not fight for the sits in the front row. You can as well participate in discussions even if you sit at the back. Just be active – ask questions, raise your hand to have a say, etc.
4. Be polite and respectful. It is always obvious whether you are an attentive listener or not. Therefore, even if you feel bored and do not find some subject particularly interesting, just try to show respect to the professor. It really took him/her a great deal of time to get prepared for the lecture.
5. Attend office hours. In case you need some advice or support with your studies or you missed some tests or exams, always visit professor’s office hours. It is a perfect chance for you to catch up.
6. Voice your professional goals. It is perfectly OK to talk to your professor after classes or during his/her office hours about your professional aims. You might apply for some scholarship or grant, so it is great to seek advice from an experienced person.
7. Be diligent. Being a diligent student does not mean that you should get straight A’s. All you need to do is attend all classes, perform well, and participate in discussions.
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8. Keep in touch. Maintain contact with your professors even after finishing the course. Such connections might prove invaluable in your professional life. By the way, you might need a letter of recommendation, so if you are in good relationships with your professor, he/she will gladly agree to help you with that.
Hopefully, my tips will help you in establishing rapport with your professors. Remember that shyness is not the best character trait for effective communication.