Starting College? Here’s More Advice For A Successful Career

In my article “So You Are Going To College: Advice For Freshmen” I gave you 3 pieces of advice regarding your relationship with your professors. Let me give you 4 more and explain why following up on them is not only important, but also very beneficial for you.

1. Ask for help. You don’t need to make appointments all the time; once every month or two should be more than enough, but if the situation requires that you get extra attention, by all means, use their office hours for this purpose. Students forget that professors are there to help them and more often than not, professors pass the semester without any visit from their students. Do this especially if you are having difficulty. Don’t treat your professor as a tutor, though. Seek the Tutoring Center for that purpose. And don’t spend more than 15-20 minutes in the office at a time.

2. Bring related stuff to class or to the professor. For example, you found something interesting that could fit the subject you are studying. By all means, bring as much as you can. This will show that indeed you have an interest that goes beyond the classroom. Professors like that tremendously.

3. Turn off your cell phone. Never, ever, answer or look at your cell to check who is calling you, and worse, to play games while the class is going on. This shows disrespect and no professor will take it with a smile. Also, don’t eat in class. The smell of your food interferes not only with the teaching per se but also with other students’ tastes. What is delicious for one may make others puke. Be considerate.

4. Don’t have parallel conversations. Remain focused. Talking in class is a no-no, unless you are between tasks or group activities. Sending paper notes is even worse. High School is over. This is another ball game altogether.

Now, why must establish a rapport and be interested in the course? For many reasons. Here are two:

1. Professors are people too. No matter how much they strive at being quintessentially fair and just, there is bias and it will go to your benefit if you were a committed student. For instance; when you are perceived as interested and dedicated, you may get an upgrade of your final grade. For example, instead of a B+, you may get and A- or even an A. It also means the difference between flunking and passing the course.

This may not seem much, but it sure makes a huge difference when you see your transcript and/or are applying for a job. Let alone having the nightmarish position of having to repeat the course. With the same professor! Yikes!

2. Professors don’t work for money. In fact, more often than not, they struggle financially. This means that they do what they do out of sheer passion. By your being a committed student, you are showing them that you respect and appreciate them. Everyone likes that. But, as an added benefit, you may need this person to write you a letter of recommendation later in you career. Never underestimate the power of a good rec., trust me on this. You never know from whom you will need a hand in life. So, appreciate, be grateful, show interest, and treat well those who teach you, even if only as a good insurance policy.

None of this is really too difficult to pursue. And you will be a better person for it, too.

Now that you have some ammunition to start your college career; go for it. And much success to you!