Everyone knows that going away to college for the first time can be a rough transition.
You constantly hear the rights and wrongs from parents, older friends and classmates on what to do those first few months of class. Who you don’t hear from about what you really should be doing? Your professors. It can be especially tough to get to know your professors freshman year when most classes are big, introductory lectures, but you’d be surprised at how much they actually wish students would reach out.
Here’s what several professors around the country offered as their advice for incoming freshmen:
1. YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW YOUR MAJOR ON DAY 1.
“I wish students knew that they didn’t have to plan on being a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson, that there are lots of amazing jobs out there that a well-rounded liberal arts education will prepare them for. So they should major in something they care about and let the skills they acquire carry them where they want to go.” — Kevin Boyle, history professor at Northwestern University
2. BE COURTEOUS IN EMAIL.
“I wish that students knew the importance of maintaining professional electronic communication with professors. I’ve found that students often assume a more casual tone in their e-mails than they would in face-to-face interaction. Some also send emails when they are angry, without much thought to the fall-out of these types of messages. The students who err on the side of formality and cordiality stand out in the best possible way.” — Sabrena Deal, advertising and public relations professor at The University of Georgia
3. BONE UP ON YOUR GRAMMAR.
“Please: Study English grammar, so that you are ready to advance toward mastery. Also: Learn to write a polite formal email to someone who’s not your friend.” — Chris Daly, journalism professor at Boston University
4. GET TO KNOW US.
“Get to know your professors and stay in touch with us through your career as resources. We got into this profession because we care deeply about our students and our field of research and teaching. We are doing research and current studies in the areas we teach, so ask us about our research and experience in the field. It is so great to also hear from past students years later, who are often successful in the field and thank us for the rigor and skill set, that, at the time, was very challenging. A main goal is to transform lives for the benefit of society.”