5 Tips for Staying in Contact with College Professors
Student/professor relationships are extremely important – especially after you graduate from college. Whenever you have industry-specific questions, or just need some general life advice, you can reach out to your favorite professor for a hand. By nurturing these relationships early, you can gain a lifelong mentor, a colleague, and a friend. Below, we’ve shared how to stay in touch with college professors who made it all worthwhile.
Go to Office Hours
While enrolled in your favorite professor’s course, make sure to introduce yourself during office hours. Office hours are the best time to have a real conversation and ask questions about the material. If you show up a few times and make a connection, you’ll establish yourself in a sea of students.
Start an Email Correspondence
Most professors love to help their students out and have engaging discussions outside of class. Once you’ve gotten to know your professor at office hours, you can ask for their email address to stay in touch after graduation. Periodically, we recommend sending a cheerful (and brief) update to your professors after college. If you find an article or YouTube video in their academic field, you may want to send them a link as well.
Be Genuine, and Give Thanks
At some point, you may need to ask a professor for a favor. Whether it’s a recommendation letter, job-related introduction, or some urgent advice, make sure to send a thank you note afterward. Handwritten notes are always appreciated, so if you know their address, you should write them a thoughtful message.
Don’t Ask for Too Much
No matter how strong your relationship, you should never put a professor in a high-pressure situation. If possible, give them at least a month to write a recommendation letter, so that they can fit it into their busy schedule. Likewise, you should stay in touch with college professors via email, but you shouldn’t spam them with constant messages. As long as you respect your professor’s time, they’ll make an effort to respond to your needs.
Nurture the Relationship Over Time
Ultimately, it takes a while to gain a lifelong mentor. Your favorite professors have demanding schedules, with academic research and instruction taking up most of their time. That’s why we recommend taking the long view, and gradually building a mutually beneficial relationship, instead of alienating professors with too many requests. Take the right approach, and you’ll have a fierce advocate in your corner.