Using All Of Your College Resources: The Professors

A college professor can open doors for you (Photo by Medill DC)

You are stretched to the limit between work and school and home. It seems as though you have five minutes of stuff crying for attention for every minute that you have available. Even so, there is one thing more that you should add to your ToDo list. At least once or twice a term, make time for a one-on-one with each of your professors. There are many opportunities that will present themselves, and many reasons to do so.

Both inside the classroom and out, college professors are valuable resources. College professors teach classes because they like the subject matter. If anyone can spark your interest in a class that you don’t want to take, it is the guy who is teaching it.

To get the most out of your classes, turn to your professor whenever you need assistance. At the beginning of the term, scan the syllabus and note any questions you may have. When you talk to the professor, ask him what he is looking for in the work you will be turning in. Before you submit your first paper, ask whether it is in line with what the professor wants, and how you can improve your work.

If you are having trouble with assignments or tests, ask the professor to review your work with you. Don’t dump the whole thing in his lap, though. Figure out what exactly is giving you fits, and try to come up with some solution before you talk to him. He will appreciate the effort you put in and your interest in doing well in the class.

When it’s applicable, a professor can also set up independent study projects with you. He can even give you tips on how to choose electives to fill out your degree track.

Outside of class, a professor can be a valuable networking resource. Many of his former students are now successful business people, on the lookout for potential employees. They are the job fair recruiters, and the internship sponsors.  Through his contacts, a professor may be able to direct you to learning experiences that will help you decide whether this degree track is really what you want. He can also supply you with those oh-so valuable letters of recommendation. But he can only provide this sort of assistance if he has some idea of the kind of person you are, and what you are looking for.

You’ve made the decision that the time, money, and effort you’re putting into a college degree is worth it. But don’t be content with just a piece of paper. You will never have another opportunity to spend time with people who are learned in so many fields. Just a few minutes with each of them can change the course of your college career, and may provide opportunities that you haven’t even dreamed of. Building relationships with your professors may make the difference between just getting through college and having the chance to put your skills to the test before you ever earn that diploma.

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