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Guideline: Effective Communication between a Student and a Professor

How to Talk to Your Professor

Every student knows that it is important to have a friendly relationship with a professor in order to enjoy his/her course. There are three basic ways of student-professor communication: via email, in person, and a so-called “student insurance plan”. We will explain each format of communication in detail.

Communication via email

• When composing an email, think about a person who will read it. Have a subject in your letter, write using appropriate language and do not use slang. Do not be too wordy. Also, sign the email with your name in the end.

• The letter should look formal, so watch your language. Do not use colors, backgrounds, smiles, and do not write in Caps Lock.

• If you want to arrange a meeting, use email to ask a professor about it. Wait patiently for his/her reply. Consider that the professor is not working 24/7.

• Do not email a question to the professor if it can be asked during class time. Also, be attentive not to ask for information that was already provided. Double check your syllabus and you will probably find the answer to your question there.

• Revise your message before sending. Check for spelling errors. In case you are forwarding some information, reread it carefully.

Communication in person

• Arrange the appointment beforehand or meet the instructor within the work hours that are indicated in the syllabus. Show your respect to the professor and behave politely. Value his/her time and state the purpose of your visit clearly.

• If the professor is working part-time, he/she does not follow regular office hours. Thus, it is necessary to arrange a meeting when the time is appropriate for both of you. Do not try to discuss course matters before the class starts.

• Be polite when communicating with the professor and demonstrate interest in his/her subject. Ask specific questions about the course and your enthusiasm will be appreciated.
Student insurance plan

• Check the syllabus frequently in order to detect any changes in it. Make sure you understand the policies the professor set for this course. Also, remember about drop policies and follow them carefully. Keep all the materials you have for this course in order to compare requirements for the assignments if necessary.

• If the communication is not going well with the professor, use the service of an ombudsman. If you are not satisfied with the instructor’s decision concerning your grade, remember about two options: Request for Special Consideration and Grade Appeal. Check your university website for application of Request for Special Consideration and remember that Grade Appeal has a set time-frame to be used.

Communication between a student and a professor is essential. So, use the guide to make it effective and enjoy the course!

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