Book cover for Connections Are Everything: A College Student's Guide to Relationship-Rich Education by Peter Felten, Leo M. Lambert, Isis Artze-Vega, and Oscar R. Miranda Tapia. An illustration of a female student in graduation cap and gown is surrounded by illustrations of various people (other students, professors, and many other people) -- all these people are connected by lines, forming a network.
Buy in Print

ISBN: 9781421443126

Johns Hopkins University Press, July 2023

[Download as PDF]

Here are some basic strategies to begin building a relationship with any professor:

  1. Read the syllabus, which explains course content and procedures like homework and grading. If you still have questions about the course after you’ve read the syllabus, ask the professor. Start your email or comment to them with something like “Would you please help me understand this part of the syllabus?” or “I have a question that I didn’t see answered in the syllabus.”
  2. Be ready to participate and be engaged in every class. Do the reading and the homework. Ask a question or join in classroom discussion, and use technology (your phone, a laptop) only for educational activities in class—and as described in the syllabus. And come to class! If you absolutely must arrive late or be absent, email your professor letting them know and asking what you need to do to make up any work that you miss.
  3. Communicate with your professor if you are having difficulty with (or are excited about) the course material or if you will be late with an assignment. Sometimes professors are willing to provide a deadline extension if you communicate with them in advance. Do not “ghost” your professor, leaving them wondering why you have missed class or not submitted assignments. Let them know what is happening with you, and oftentimes you will find that moment can become an important point of connection for the two of you.