Effective Student-Professor Interaction Guide

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Allaa Ashraf

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16 August, 2022

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4 mins read

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In the classroom, college students are held to a higher standard than their high school counterparts. Your success in every college course depends on how well you do on the graded material—the exams, papers, and other assignments—but it also depends on the relationship you develop with your instructor. Even if it might not make sense, getting along well with your professor might significantly improve your academic performance. Professors treat their students as adults, expecting them to meet deadlines, conduct themselves appropriately, and incur the consequences of academic dishonesty. Professors and students typically have extremely different expectations for their interactions. For instance, professors may expect students to listen as they speak, while students may anticipate inquiries from teachers. This guide helps you better understand the ideal student-professor interaction and effectively implement it.

Mutual Respect

Any long-lasting relationship is built on a foundation of mutual respect and trust. A student develops inhibitions and is prevented from developing genuine relationships by student-teacher interactions that are only focused on academic achievement or behaviour management. Teachers that appreciate their students and are eager to assist them in overcoming challenges gain respect from their students and inspire them to learn and uphold their teachers' reputations.

One of the forms of respect is addressing your professors properly. 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 exactly how 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. As for you as a student, always introduce yourself before speaking to your professors, especially during your three 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 last name, 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 without complaining about the time frame.


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 attitudes and interests during lectures, this mainly helps better the student-teacher interaction. 

Office Hours

If you have more than one question and you think that their answers will need a lot of discussion, make use of the professors’ office hours and visit them. Avoid personal conversations with your professors. Remember to research your questions as much as you can before asking them, because if the answers are 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. It is advised to send the professor an email in advance so they are aware of your intended topic and have time to fully prepare. Saying you're lost or perplexed by assignment feedback is quite acceptable.


If professors are too busy to answer your questions on the 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 rather than one of interrogation, and politely request answers rather than demanding them. 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. Other tips for sending emails to your professors include spelling their names correctly, giving them enough time to respond, and being the last person to send an email during an email exchange.


Communication is one of the most significant aspects of student-faculty interaction because it helps to establish a bond between the two. Success can be achieved by a professor who comprehends the issues that face his or her students and then adapts their teaching methods to better engage with them. However, this requires more than just observation—it also requires communication. This means you have to voice your questions and concerns to your professor. This will help your learning journey, making it quicker and more efficient. 

And here you go! Proper student-professor interaction facilitates the learning-teaching process. It is quite important to learn how to interact with your instructors. 


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