1. Better gradesOne of the biggest benefits to getting to know your lecture professors is better grades. More contact with your professor can mean more opportunities to ask them questions about class material, which can boost your performance on exams and assignments. Yet, being friendly with your lecture professor can also help improve your grades in other situations. For instance, if at the end of the semester you’re on the cusp of an A and B, your professor may translate that extra effort you took to get to know him or her and round up to an A.
2. InspirationBelieve it or not, professors are people just like anyone else! This means they have a diverse set of personal and professional interests, and many past life experiences. When chatting with a professor, you may find yourself inspired to pick up a new hobby or pursue a new academic area. Talking with a professor requires the same good social skills any conversation requires: maintain good body posture, use eye contact, be a good listener, and ask good questions. Remember to be appropriate and polite in your language.
3. Internship and job opportunitiesCollege professors are often well connected to internship and job opportunities in their field of specialty. If you find yourself very interested in that same academic and professional area, you can ask your professor more about any possible positions to pursue now or in the future. Even if you don’t think you’re interested in academically or professionally pursuing your professor’s field of specialty, it’s worth chatting up your lecture professor. Many professors are involved in interdisciplinary research, and asking about possible internship and job opportunities they may know of may open doors to a position in a field you’re more interested in.
4. A lifelong connectionLecture professors are more than just academic instructors—they can be lifelong academic and professional connections. So, besides opening your eyes to internship and job opportunities, they may be able to help vouch for you when you apply to a position by providing a letter of recommendation or evaluation. If you do plan on possibly asking a professor for a letter of recommendation or evaluation later down the line, it’s important to keep in regular contact with him or her after the semester ends. Reach out to your professor by visiting, emailing, or calling him or her every so often to check in. If your professor does provide you with a recommendation or evaluation, always remember to thank him or her for doing so.
Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.