December 15, 2015 - Posted to Writing
Benefits that You Can Get From Friendships With Professors
Students often complain that there professors cannot be bothered to learn anything about them. It certainly is frustrating to feel as if you are another student number in a sea of anonymous students. However, have you ever taken the time to consider the flip side of things? How much do you know about your instructors? Have you ever reached out to any of them in a friendly manner? One thing to keep in mind is that as a college student, you can and should form friendships with your instructors. Yes, there are certain boundaries that must be maintained for ethical reasons, but there is no prohibition on having a friendly, personable relationship with your instructors. Ideally, this would be something you would do, for the sake of being a friendly, companionable person, but there are also some academic benefits that you can gain as well.
You May Receive a More Timely Response to Your Emails
If you email your professor on a regular basis to discuss a variety of issues, not just what happens in the classroom, they may add you to an email list or filter your email to a folder for personal correspondence. If they happen to check this folder more frequently, you may get a faster response to anything that you ask them.
They Make Great LinkedIn Connections
Sure, you can ask any of your instructors to join you on LinkedIn, but if you are friendly with them, it is much more likely to happen. In addition to this, they are more likely to be of help to you when you do make a LinkedIn connection. Many instructors will go the extra step for students they are friendly with by introducing them to people in their field. This can lead to internships, research positions, and possibly job offers.
They Are Excited About The Same Things You Are
If you are nearing graduation, it is a good time to get to know your instructors on a more personal level. After all, you are now taking the classes that are most related to the career that you plan to pursue. If you befriend your instructors now, you can learn so much about the field you are about to enter, and you can use their enthusiasm to help you stay motivated as you work to survive these last semesters.
They Might Give You Better Grades and a Few Other Breaks
Of course it would be unethical for a professor to give you an A when you really deserved to fail. However, there are minor subjective things that can impact grades. If your professor is friendly with you, they are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in those situations. It may not raise your grade by several points, but it could mean the difference between a high C on and assignment and a low B. If you find yourself needing to miss a lecture or get an extension on an assignment, your friendship may also help. It is human nature to believe an excuse or extend a favor to someone we have positive associations with.
They Can Give You Advice on Which Courses and Professors Are The Best Fit For You
Most instructors won’t bad mouth their peers, even if they deserve it. What they will do is strongly steer you in the right direction if you ask them which classes and professors best fit your learning style. Listen to what they say, and you can avoid instructors who are going to be trouble for you. If they regularly steer you away from a particular instructor, you can take that as a hint.