Knowing how to interact with your professors is way more important than being worried about making new friends, which what most students are concerned with. University professors are not your parents, therapists, or friends, so you need to interact formally, yet friendly. Because remember, they are people too.
Every professor might want to be addressed differently, however, always use professor followed by their last name to avoid any confusion. Pay attention to every professor at the very beginning of the semester, because many of them will state how exactly they would like to be addressed. Write that down to remember. Never use the professor’s first name unless they ask you to and some TAs might do so.
2. Introduce Yourself
Always introduce yourself before speaking to your professors, especially, at your 3 initial interactions. Professors meet and talk to several students daily, so it might be hard for them to remember all the names, so make sure you are known. Avoid adding any titles before your name; just state your first and surname then start asking your questions. It is preferable to use formal language and to avoid slang words while talking to show professionalism, and remember that proper grammar is essential.
Professors notice different types of students just as much as students notice different professors’ mentalities, so make sure you are leaving a good impression. Attend your classes and always arrive on time. Remember to knock before entering the lecture room, and avoid missing lectures and/or labs. Students often tend to oversleep and miss lectures; however, the follow-up is what differentiates between a lazy student and a hard-working one (avoid this by choosing a Casita accommodation that is near your University/College). Always get some of your peers’ phone numbers to follow up with the important notes that you have missed, and go to your professor after the lecture ends to apologise for not attending their last one. Professors appreciate students who are keen on attending their lectures and will respect this gesture. There is no better way to show how punctual and responsible you are than by delivering assignments on time. Professors like mature students who can manage their time effectively, and deliver their assignments on time with no childish complaints about extra time needed.
Listen to your professors attentively when they are delivering their lectures. Do not be afraid to ask questions when there is a point that needs more elaboration. Professors like attentive students who are ready to be involved in their studies more and more. Remember to make sure that your phone is on silent mode. Also, professors notice students’ positive attitude and interest during lectures.
5. Office Hours
If you have more than one question, and you think that their answers will need a lot of discussions, make use of the professors’ office hours and pay them a visit. Avoid personal conversations with your professors. Remember to research your questions as much as you can before asking them, because if the answers were easily grasped through the syllabus you will be wasting your professors’ time. Be familiar with your syllabus, test dates and due dates for assignments. They are busy, so use your time and theirs wisely.
If professors are too busy to answer your questions on spot, they might ask you to send them an email that includes all of your questions, and they will reply to it as soon as they can. Do so, but keep in mind all the aforementioned points: address them properly, introduce yourself, use formal language, ask your questions with a tone of interest, not interrogation, and request politely for answers, do not demand. Also, you might want to update your professor with the steps you have taken while trying to answer the questions on your own. Professors will never hesitate to give you sincere guidance on how to research your questions better. Avoid texting or phoning, unless the professor states that this is their preferred method of communication.
7. Say Hello Outside Class
Whenever you see your professors by chance on or off-campus, say hello and state their name. Make it short, yet friendly and sincere. If your professor is already in the middle of a conversation with another colleague, do not interrupt, unless there is an obvious eye contact, now you can just say your greetings politely.