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8 Ways to Get into Your Professor’s Good Books
If you want to succeed academically, make sure to get along with your professors. In this article, we will talk about how you can make your college instructors like you.
College is a tough period in one’s life, and anything that can make it at least a little bit easier is always very much welcome. Being in good standing with your professors can certainly help you both in the short and in the long term, and it is always a good idea to consider a few ways in which you can improve your relations with them. We are not talking about sucking up to a professor in hopes of getting a better grade – do not forget that your instructors, in general, are smart people who can easily distinguish insincere flattery. 9 times out of 10, such an approach will not bring the desired results. However, there are other, more genuine ways to this goal – and we are going to talk about them in this article.
Ask for Advice
If you have any questions about the discipline in general or about your current assignment, do not be afraid to ask them. Most of the time, your professor will be happy to answer your questions, as long as they are intelligent enough and demonstrate your genuine interest in the subject. Do not come up to them and say something like, “I do not understand anything, can you explain it to me one more time?” Questions of this kind cannot but annoy, because they show that you do not pay attention. Instead, ask for something specific, something that shows that you are willing to get deep into the topic. Perhaps, ask for suggestions about good essay topics, saying that you do not want to write about something trivial. Alternatively, you may look for advice concerning additional materials where you can find useful information about the topic.
Write Short, Readable, and Easily Navigable Papers
Most likely, your professor has to read and grade dozens of essays and other types of academic assignments every day. No matter how awesome your writing is, for your instructor it is, first and foremost, yet another addition to his or her workload. Therefore, everything that makes it harder, more time-consuming, or less convenient to deal with your paper is going to cause the professor’s annoyance.
It means that you can immediately earn his/her gratitude if you express your thoughts and ideas in as laconic a manner as possible, clearly divide your writing into paragraphs, and make it easy to grasp the main idea of your essay.
Only the most jaded and cynical professors do not care about how their students treat their classes and lectures. Although your specific instructor may not show any reaction, you can be reasonably sure that s/he is pleased to see alert students attentively listening to what s/he says. If you sit at the center of the class, look interested, actively take notes and occasionally ask questions, you will immediately set yourself apart from the rest of your peers. And vice versa, if you always sit at the back of the class, yawn, talk to other students or play with your smartphone, it is not going to give you any bonus points.
Greet Your Professor when You Meet Him/Her
It may seem obvious, but you will be amazed how many students perceive their professors as something like a walking learning aid you can fully ignore outside of classes. Treat your professor like a human being, and s/he will repay you in kind.
When dividing tasks for later in the term (e.g., presentations or debates), most professors ask for volunteers first. As everybody is going to get an assignment, either way, it is an excellent opportunity to show your proactivity. It can have a variety of additional pleasant side effects – for example, you will be able to pick an assignment you like better. Moreover, some professors even give special breaks in terms of grading to those who volunteer first.
Thank Your Professor when S/he Does You a Favor
Many students do not realize that professors do not have to do many things they do for their students. As we are all pretty self-centered, we usually view our side of the matter – e.g., that we absolutely have to take this make-up exam or get an answer about our assignment on Saturday evening. The professor, however, does not have to go out of his/her way to arrange this exam or check his/her email on weekends. So, whenever your professor does you a good turn, make sure to make it obvious that you appreciate it.
Join the Professor’s Team
Professors often give students opportunities to help them in a variety of ways: for example, by taking part in a research project or doing an internship. If you get such an opportunity, try to find time to use it, as it is one of the most effective ways of both creating long-term professional relations with your professor and getting some invaluable training along the way.
Talk to Your Professor after Class
Get the Latest & Recommended articles in your InboxMost professors are gratified to see genuine interest in their subject. If you approach your instructor after class and continue the conversation about the class’s topic, you will surely stand out from the crowd. Normally the best time to do it is during office hours, but some professors intentionally leave a few minutes to talk before and after class. Your instructor is going to be most pleased if you demonstrate an interest in the subject for its own sake, not for the sake of your grade – so make sure your curiosity is genuine. Of course, every professor is unique, and you have to find a special approach to each of them – but if you take care to do so, it will certainly pay off in the long run.
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 23rd August 2021.