3+1 Steps to Effective Communication with Professors

3+1 Steps to Effective Communication with Professors

With endless online learning options, it might seem that attending college classes is a useless waste of time. However, formal education offers access to multiple resources online platforms do not possess. Libraries, research centers, and labs are great, but professors are the real treasure. You get to learn from the best in the industry, people who define the future of our society. Do not miss your chance to make most of your professors’ time. If you are scared to ask for help or advice, use our straightforward three-step system to get the best results. We’ve also included a bonus tip at the end for uncooperative professors set on ruining your life and GPA.

Make a Good Impression Early On

Consider your first lecture with a professor a first date. It’s your only chance to make an excellent first impression, even if there are dozens of students in the classroom. You don’t want to be late, interrupt the lecture with a loud ringtone, or get caught playing a game on your phone. Stay focused and pay attention to what your professor says, and you will get answers to most of your questions.

To start your relationship with the professor on the right foot, pay attention to:

  1. The professor’s preferred form of address. Don’t start using their first name unless the instructor allows it.
  2. Read the syllabus and keep it close at hand. Professors spend days on this critical file, and it holds the information you will need to pass the class, including assignments, deadlines, and professor’s contacts.
  3. Do not try to catch the professor after class to discuss complex issues. Many of them have back-to-back classes or other engagements and cannot devote enough time to answer all your questions after the lecture. What you can do is set up a meeting during office hours.
  4. Keep your communication professional and friendly. Professors do not deserve your rudeness, flirtation, or threats. Get to the point and stay on topic, unless the instructor veers off into small talk.
  5. Do not delay asking for help until the last possible moment. If you are struggling in class, let the professor know about your troubles and ask them for alternative options to gain the necessary grade points. At the end of the term, there will be nothing your instructor can do to save you, so do not let the problems fester.

Set Your Communication Goals

What do you want to achieve? You should have a clear answer to this question before you bother your professors, wasting your own time and theirs. Keep the communication goal in mind throughout your conversation or message thread. Otherwise, you might lose sight of it and will have to return for another consultation later.

If you merely need quick advice on your paper, you can fire off a short email. Most professors will specify their preferred communication medium at the beginning of the term. Follow their suggestions, and you will receive a reply quickly.

However, if you need a more detailed explanation of the topic, further reading suggestions, or even research or career advice, office hours are usually a safe bet. Many professors prefer to communicate face-to-face, as this is the most efficient and rewarding way to solve your problems and avoid misunderstandings.

Prepare for Office Hours for Best Results

Think of your office hours appointment as a presentation or a pitch meeting. You cannot come unprepared and expect to get any value out of a conversation. You might even ruin your professor’s good impression of you if you keep on attending office hours without specific queries in mind. Use the goals you set on the previous step and stay on the mission.

The best approach you can take is to come up with a solution to your problem and ask for the professor’s opinion. For example, you can attend the meeting with a selection of references you plan on using in a paper and ask the professor to assess your choices. When you come prepared, the instructor can see you’ve paid attention, put in the effort, and done your work, and only need guidance. This will make them think of you as a diligent and motivated person.

Finally, do not ask questions you can easily answer if you use a course syllabus or a Google search. Professors are not walking encyclopedias, and their job is to guide your learning and advance your thinking, not explain how citation styles work or where to find reliable references.

Have a Backup Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario

While most professors are happy to help, as they enjoy teaching and communicating with students, there are always outliers. Get ready for non-answers, disappointment, misunderstandings, and more. Murphy’s law being what it is, you are bound to run into at least one uncooperative professor over your four years of college. Instead of hoping for the best, research alternative options before you run into trouble. 

You could drop the class during the first weeks of the term to avoid trouble and keep your credits. You could also research the campus counseling and administrative facilities and learn who you would need to engage in solving professor-related problems. If you prefer to solve your troubles without outside assistance, you could order essay online. SpeedyPaper team is always on standby and ready to take over any assignment, even if the deadline is mere hours away. Let’s transform your education into a success story together!