How to Improve Your Communication with Professors

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be a great student. Various factors and circumstances influence your studying years and shape your success. You have to be hungry for knowledge, organized for studying and lead a normal social life. Also, you should always aim for establishing a healthy, productive communication with your professors.

But, what if you feel like your current communication with your professors isn't at the level you'd want it to be? Well, in that case, you need to work on improving it. This article will break down the essential tips, ideas, and steps to establish better communication with your professors.

Communication with Professors

Let’s break it down together.

Know Your Professor

Every professor that you meet will have a different personality and their own little rules. For healthy communication, you must get to know your professors.

You can do this by:

  • paying attention to their introductory lessons where they’ll talk a bit about themselves
  • ask around with other students
  • read their profile on your college’s website

This will help you understand what they’re like and even learn about their preferred method of communication.

You’ll be able to shape your approach better and establish an effective ad productive communication with them.

Consider Different Means of Communication

College students have different options for communicating with their professors. Depending on the reason for approaching them, and their preferred methods of communication, you should choose the most suitable one.

Here’s what options you have:

  • send an email
  • visit them during office hours
  • approach them after class

Each of the options will serve a certain purpose and is best for individual situations. Let’s dig a little deeper and explore each one of these.

Sending an Email

An email is a common tool for communicating with professors. It's a great choice for when you have a more elaborate question or you want to schedule a meeting in person.

There are several things you need to take care of before clicking "send":

  • your email address

Please make sure your address is suitable for the academic level you’re at and the level of communication you’re trying to establish. Don’t use your old teenage address such as ”tomrules007@gmail.com”. Create a more appropriate email address.

  • subject line

    Your professor gets a lot of emails daily. Help them prioritize by making it clear what you wish to talk about in your email. For example, your subject line could be “Developmental Psychology essay question”.

  • introduce yourself

    Start your email with a brief introduction of who you are. Even if you’re sure your professor knows you by your name, write the introduction: "I am a third-year student, currently attending your Developmental Psychology course".

  • get to the point

    Right after you finish the introduction, go straight to the point. Describe the reason for your email in no more than five sentences. Thank them for their time and write your name at the end of the message.

  • proofread

    You don't want to send an email to a professor and realize it has spelling mistakes. Double-check and proofread before you send it.

Try being concise and to the point to not take too much time from your professor’s busy schedule.

Visit Them During Office Hours

Office hours are the time of the week when professors accept students’ visits and are ready to answer their questions. Still, you should think before you knock on that door.

Your professors are bus people with a lot on their minds. That’s why, before heading to their office, you need to ask yourself:

Can I get this answer anywhere else?

For example, you're not sure what book is scheduled to be ready for your next class, or you forgot which resources your professor recommended. Instead of going to your professor, why not ask your peers and colleagues?

“Always rethink the nature of your visit. First, try to find the answers elsewhere. But,  if your professor is the only one who can answer your questions, go for it.” says Madison Pearson, a college professor, and writer at WowGrade and IsAccurate.

Once you reach their office, make sure you’ve got the following covered:

  • materials
    If you’re there to get advice about finding the right masters scholarship, you need to have all the materials with you. Bring your USB with your research so far, resources you’re using, notes you’ve been taking, etc. Come prepared.

  • clear goal
    You need to be able to define the purpose of your visit. If you’re not sure why you’re there your professor might get annoyed.

  • courtesy
    Remember that you’re speaking to your professor who’s a highly appreciated member of the academic community. Talk to them with respect and thank them for their time.

Once you knock and enter the office well prepared, you should once again briefly introduce yourself and remind the professor which course you’re there to talk about.

Approach Them After Class

Some professors prefer and allow brief after-class conversations. These are great to solve minor issues or discuss something that was unclear during the lecture.

If you need this type of communication, make sure you follow these steps:

  • ask the professor whether they have two minutes
  • tell them what you have in mind
  • be brief and focused to understand their answer better
  • thank them afterward

Once again, you have to respect their time and make the most use out of those couple of minutes that you'll be talking to them.

Participate During Lectures

While the above methods of communication are effective and widely-used, there’s something most professors prefer. Communicating with your professor during the lecture is the best way to establish a strong communication.

That's why you must stay active during a lesson:

  • answer your professor’s questions
  • actively think about the lecture
  • ask questions
  • give examples
  • be the volunteer

This way, you know you're doing everything you can to learn and acquire knowledge. Your professor will memorize you and be more willing to give you additional help and clarification.

Work on Your Confidence

Talking to a professor requires great communication skills, but it also requires being self-confident. Boosting your confidence will improve your communication with your professors and help you lead more effective and productive conversations.

To improve your self-confidence, you have to work on yourself:

  • study regularly to be a better student
  • read a lot to improve your general knowledge
  • spend time with the people you admire
  • don’t suppress your struggles, but fight them

This type of maturity will help you gain a better understanding of yourself, and your own possibilities.

Then, you’ll be able to expand your horizons and even talk to your professors about things such as studying abroad.

Work on self-improvement and you'll see that over time, you'll find it easier to communicate with everyone, not just your professors.

Final Thoughts

Communicating with your professor should not be taken for granted. It’s important that you respect their time, and approach them with a clear plan.

The advice above will help you plan and improve your communication with your professors. Choose the method that suits you best and use it to solve your problems while leaving a pleasant impact on your professors.
Written by Dorian Martin, a senior writer at BestEssay Education and a content marketing specialist for GrabMyEssay. His passion for educating his audience through his written content has driven him to collaborate with various online businesses and he never misses an opportunity to learn about something new. In his spare time, he enjoys writing for his personal blog NotBusinessAsUsual.

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