Image description
Mike Westwood
Noodle Expert Member

April 16, 2020

This article will detail my suggestions on how to properly interact with college professors to build a rapport with them. It will be told solely from my perspective.

As far as working with professors in college is concerned, building a rapport with them will be predicated on a few different aspects. These aspects include how you approach them and introduce yourself, how respectful you are to them in class and working with them in individualized scenarios and how much a student is dedicated to their college education. Certain students may not click with their professors in terms of their personalities, however, the professor may respect the students' work ethic if the student works hard enough to earn it.

While I was in college, I made it a point to walk up to each professor I was working with to in order to show my interest in the course and the professor as a human being. Certain professors have different personalities, as is the case with human diversity, so it is important to be mindful of how you articulate and present yourself to them. This method worked for me the majority of the time, as the professors began to learn my name and would interact with me outside of class meetings at times. One detail I will remember about proper etiquette in a college classroom is that students should not be on their cellphones either texting or browsing through the Internet. It is disrespectful and from observations in several college courses, will irritate many professors.

My advice on having conversations with professors is to address them as "professor" and whatever their last name is, unless they permit you to address them otherwise. The professors hand out syllabuses at the beginning of each semester that thoroughly details the course expectations, so make sure to read them and be aware of how the professor grades and what they expect from their students in terms of work and conduct in class. Certain professors I worked with were more strict about the rules they expected the students to follow, which is their prerogative since they are the educators. Based on that, I would suggest that students pay attention in class and participate actively in class discussions. That will show the professors that you are engaged and motivated to learn.

Depending on how much a professor respects a students' work ethic, they will be more likely and willing to be a job reference later on. When a student requests that type of reference from a professor, I would recommend wording the request this way, "Hello Professor (last name), would you be willing to serve as a reference for this job I am applying for please?" That is the way I worded the sentence when I asked for a reference and the professor approved it. As long as the student uses manners and good sentence structure, it will go a long way in determining the professor's acceptance.

I was able to progress in my self-advocacy skills as an adult by approaching my professors and being respectful. Taking their advice about behavior is important too, because the more a student displays unbecoming conduct in class, the harder they have to work to earn the professor's respect. Professors can be a good job reference, so effective communication and following directions will take students in a good direction with their course experiences.

Want to become a Noodle contributor? Email: