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Tips for Students: Communication with a Professor

Advice for Students

It is sometimes difficult to communicate with a professor, especially when a student experiences hardships understanding the material or wants to ask the instructor for a favor. However, you should not be intimidated by the necessity to talk to the professor. Remember that he/she is an ordinary person, just like you. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind when communicating with the professor.

1. Refer to the professor using correct title. You may call your instructions “doctor” only if he/she has a PhD. “Professor” is the most common and acceptable title to be used. On the other hand, not many professors like to be called by name. So, keep this in mind when referring to your instructor.

2. Be honest Given the professor’s experience, he/she has heard a lot of stories from students. So, it will be easy for him/her to detect whether you are lying or not. If the professor thinks you are not honest, he/she will be resistant to help you. Moreover, you will leave him/her with a bad impression about yourself.

3. Be ready to complete a task. Of course, the professor will not give you extra points only because you visited his/her office asking for a favor. Most likely you will be given an extra assignment. So, be prepared to study additionally to earn the desired grade.

4. Stick to the point. Value the time and be concise with the matter you want to discuss with the professor. Do not spend a lot of time talking about unrelated things.

5. Build a relationship. Even though you do not experience a necessity to ask the instructor about a favor right now, one day such need may occur. So, communicate with your professor from time to time. One of the ways to keep in touch with the instructor is playing social calls. This is when you visit the professor within his/her office hours just to have a small talk.

6. Do not flirt. You may mistakenly assume that being too friendly with the professor will help to get a better grade. This is wrong! Do not put your reputation at risk.

7. Be ready for disappointment. Although the professor will surely do his/her best to assist you, some favors are impossible to fulfill. You should accept that and be ready for a refuse.

8. Do not threaten. Some things may not be done according to your wishes, however, do not resort to threats in any case. This will finally spoil your relationship with the professor and may prevent you from finishing the course successfully.

Treat your professor with decent respect and he/she will respond enthusiastically. Remember about the tips provided in the article and you will be more likely to build good relationship with your instructor

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