Thursday, October 11, 2012

Paul & Gabby's Tip of the Week: Meet with your professors!

We hope everyone had a relaxing three day weekend! It's that time again to get back into the daily grind of classes, exams, and work. Here are some tips on meeting with your professors.  Our next post will help you communicate professionally when you contact them.

Not understanding something in one of your classes? Feel like just a number in your larger lecture halls? Why don’t you change that?! Meet with a professor or a teaching assistant for some extra help. Professors and teaching assistants are here for you to succeed, so help them help YOU out. All of your classes should theoretically have office hours. These are hours where professors and TA’s sit an office pretty much WAITING for you to go see them and ask for help.

A lot of professors love getting to know their students even if a student doesn’t necessarily need help on a specific assignment. Meeting with a professor or teaching assistant will show them that you are making the effort to try to succeed in their class.  Allowing them to put a name with a face can work in your favor.

From my own personal experience, getting to know a professor has been really helpful for tons of reasons. When applying for a summer job at UMass in the Undergraduate Advising Office, I needed a recommendation from a professor or TA. I asked my TA for a Shakespeare course I was taking who I got to know pretty well and it turns out not only was she more than happy to write a recommendation for me, she also WORKED in the Undergraduate Advising Office. Connections.

You are going to be applying for scholarships, study abroad programs, jobs, internships, etc. and for a lot of these exciting programs, they will be asking for a recommendation from a professor. If you have never gotten the chance to actually get to know a professor, what are you going to do? Another reason meeting a professor is great is because a lot of the time THEY are the ones telling you about these internships, scholarships, and exciting opportunities. Having a professor who knows you well will allow them to write a letter of recommendation that is more than just “I had this student and they received a B+ in my class.”

So GO, start making appointments with your professors. You might learn a couple of things about the class you are taking and about interesting opportunities for your future.

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