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Counseling & Psychological Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173180
Bozeman, MT 59717-3180

Tel: (406) 994-4531
Fax: (406) 994-2485
Location: 211 Swingle
> Counseling & Psychological Services
Counseling Services

How To Get Along With Your College Professor

  1. Go to class! It's important for good relations, and to ensure you don't miss anything. Despite what your professor may tell you, s/he notices if you're not there!
  2. If an emergency causes you to miss class, be sure to make up the notes from another student whose work is reliable. Tell your professor that you have the notes, but say you want to check that you didn't miss any important announcements, such as upcoming tests. Don't dwell on the reason for your absence - your professor's heard it all before!
  3. Don't be late! Note the professor's reaction to other tardy students so that if you must be late on occasion, you'll know whether it's better to miss class altogether than to walk in after it's started.
  4. It's good practice to get to know your professor. Take advantage of their office hours by making an appointment (within the first five weeks of class). Appointments are usually made before or after class or over the phone. If you need to cancel, be sure to call! Don't expect the professor to have nothing better to do than wait on you.
  5. The purpose of meeting with a professor is to enhance your understanding of the class. Before your appointment be sure you have:
    • previewed the topics for the remainder of the course;
    • reviewed your notes so far and identified topics that you don't understand;
    • thought out three or four good questions about the course, e.g. potential topics for papers, effective ways to study the material, etc;
    • located the office so that you arrive on time;
    • checked on the professor's title and how to pronounce his/her name.
  6. In getting to know your professor you'll discover the depth and range of his/her expertise. Surprisingly, s/he may be knowledgeable about topics outside his/her own discipline, and/or have information about special opportunities (e.g. summer internships, competitive awards, graduate courses, etc). A professor who knows you may be your key to such opportunities.
  7. Get assignments in on time! You want your professor to know who you are for the right reasons. Don't jeopordize your standing in class by being irresponsible.
  8. Be courteous and polite in posing questions, but don't feel you must agree with everything that's being said.
  9. If you have a disagreement with a professor over your grade, never discuss it when you're angry. When you do make your points, always be courteous and specific. The current grades probably won't be changed, but the professor might take your points into account when constructing the next test.
  10. Give specific, positive, and constructive feedback on any shortcomings you identify in your professor's teaching or testing methods. Most professors are experts in their field, but not all have had extensive training in how to teach.
  11. Sit toward the front of the class, and pay attention. Your distance from the professor is correlated to your distance from an "A".
  12. Always bring your notebook and textbook to class. This communicates preparedness and interest, even if neither quality applies to you!

 

View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 12/17/08
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