One of the most beneficial things you can do in college is build relationships with your professors. This is especially easy to do at universities with smaller class sizes (Marymount’s student-faculty ratio is 14:1).
College professors are fascinating people! You may have a Biology professor who researches and volunteers in Belize, a Physical Therapy professor who transforms the lives of children with mobility challenges or an English professor who is a Poet Laureate. Because of this, professors are also very passionate about their fields. Starting a conversation with them about their work outside of class could be the first step in building a great relationship with them.
Relationships with your professors matter! While your professor may not bump your grade from a C to an A just because you’ve had a few conversations, here are three reasons why knowing your professors personally can be valuable to your college experience.
Professors can help you understand class material better
This seems like it should go without saying, right? Well, sometimes professors don’t go as in-depth into material during class as they or you would like. Remember, you’re only in each class for at most a few hours a week. Many classes in college will expect you to learn the bulk of the material on your own by reading the textbook outside of class. Then, when you come to class, the discussion will likely be based on questions you have about what you’ve already read.
This may seem daunting, but it’s okay! Professors love to help students fully understand the material they’re teaching and really appreciate when students utilize their office hours and show enthusiasm about their field. Talking with your professors outside of class makes it easier for them to help you learn whatever material you may be having trouble with. This means you’ll have a greater grasp on the course material, and won’t need to stress and cram the night before exams!
Your professor will grow to understand how you learn
We all have different learning styles. Some people learn best by reading, some by having ideas verbally explained to them, some through seeing examples of concepts. Professors can’t cater to every learning need all the time, but as you get to know them, they will discover how to help you learn better.
As you build a relationship with your professors, they may point out some “trouble areas” for you in the material you’re learning. As you enter into these discussions with your teacher, they’ll often suggest new reading or study strategies for you to try. Getting this advice from your professor can help you reach your full potential as a college student.
Professors are great at inspiring and motivating students to succeed, but they can only do this if you build that relationship with them!
Knowing professors could offer great opportunities down the road
If a professor knows you’re interested in their field, and they hear of an internship opportunity, they may recommend it to you. Or, if you are looking for an internship in a certain field and know a professor in that field, this professor may be able to guide you to potential opportunities. But remember, this is most likely to happen if you’ve already built a good relationship with your professor.
If you find a topic that you’re particularly interested in, go talk with your professor about it! Because of all the professional connections professors have, they could introduce you to other people in their field who could propel your studies of that field forward.
Professors are an invaluable resource during your college career. They not only teach your classes and give you grades, but they have great advice about learning in college, working in their fields and succeeding in life after college. Although small class sizes do make it easier to get to know your professors, advice like this probably won’t be given in a classroom setting. Getting to know your professors outside of class can help you get the most out of your college experience, and can inspire you about your post-college life as well!