Julia’s Corner: How to Connect with your Professors

a photo of julia sitting outside the Rec Center

Headshot of Julia, who is smiling and has long blond hair.Recent grad Julia McAleavey shares guidance through this advice column for incoming students. A student with well-rounded experience, Julia earned a bachelor’s in advertising this spring. She transferred to Rowan her sophomore year, after another school wasn’t a great fit. While at Rowan she started as an exploratory studies major, unsure of what to major in. She’s lived both on campus and off campus, held student worker jobs and internships, and participated in clubs and sports.

College professors. Some are great, some are not so great. Your relationship with professors will likely be different than it was with teachers growing up. Think of it this way, have you ever texted any of your teachers from high school? My guess is probably not. Believe it or not, texting professors, among other things, are pretty normal in a college environment. Some connections you build with your professors might last you a lifetime, and might get you that connection that lands you a job. Here are some ways to connect with the professors that you will have in college. student and professor

Speak up in class: As you likely already know, hiding in the back of the class, not saying a word the entire time, is not going to get you noticed by anybody. Participating in class is the first step to getting noticed by a professor. The good thing about Rowan is that since classes are somewhat small, professors will learn your name quickly. However, you have to speak up, or they will forget all about you. 

Ask for advice: This could be before or after class, or during their office hours (which I highly recommend taking advantage of). If you have questions on the lecture or an assignment, seeing the professor on extra hours is a given. However, you may even have questions about how to fix your resume, or how you should dress for a networking event. These are all things professors want to help you with, and ultimately, this is how you will build that relationship with them. Faculty and student laugh together.

Go to extra events they may have: Whether it be extra study sessions or club meetings they’re in charge of, they are more than likely to have some kind of extra meeting throughout the semester. Going to these events will help you to get to know the professor on a more professional level, rather than just as a student. You may learn about some real-world connections they have that might interest you. Plus, it is something to help build your resume up. Student puts his hand on his professor's shoulder.

College is a time where all kinds of connections and relationships are made. However, having a good relationship with a professor can go a long way. They might be the one to write you that letter of recommendation that lands you your dream job. Getting close with professors is definitely worth it, and Rowan makes it easy with smaller class sizes. Don’t be shy if you have a question about something. Staying after to talk to the professor might just be the start of that professional relationship. 

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Julia McAleavey, advertising graduate