Here's why you should meet your professors

By Celeste Zuniga, Philosophy and Justice Studies double-major, and Student Success Coach

No matter where you are in your college journey, it can feel kind of intense when it comes to meeting with your professors. ASU is also a big place, which might add to that overwhelming feeling, but I’m here to tell you that creating this connection, is one of the best things you can do to gain help inside and outside of the classroom. Here are some answers to common questions that may help you:

Where do you even start if you want to get to know a professor? 

Send an email

If you don't quite know how approach them, sometimes it's easier to start by writing them an email. In your email you can ask a question, let them know you’re interested in getting to know them, or ask for their advice on how to manage the course load and, yes, make sure to ask about how you should study for your midterms. You can also do this in person or over the phone.

Set up an office hours appointment

Office hours are when your professors make themselves available specifically for the purpose of helping students. So, consider this an open-invitation and the easiest way to meet them. You can ask to set up an office hours appointment over email, phone, or in person. Professors put their office hours in the class so you can easily see when they are available. If you are not free during that time, let them know and they will work with you to meet another time.  

When students reach out first it shows initiative, which lets the professor know that you’re really engaged with their class. Professors are naturally going to respond to your initiative with great willingness to help. 

So you’ve secured a meeting with your professor, now what? 

Get to know them. Ask them questions about their experiences, what their passions are or what led them to where they are today. Learning about these things from a professor whose class you enjoy can spark ideas about what you want out of ASU and help you figure what you want to do in life. 

Why should you meet with your professors: My ASU success story! 

Coming to ASU as a first-generation student, I honestly did not know where to begin, I just knew that I thought I wanted to become a lawyer. My first step towards meeting with my professors started with meeting with my Student Success Coach at an appointment I made with them.

My coach made me comfortable with the idea of reaching out to resources and by the first semester of my sophomore year, I was regularly meeting with one of my professors whose class has shaped me into the person I am today. I continued talking with this professor even after I had finished her class, and during the first semester of my junior year, she asked me to be her undergraduate research assistant for her research project that focused on creating a graduate degree program for people who want to become teachersI received the opportunity to try to create something that would help strengthen education in the state of Arizona and I realized I wanted nothing more than to become a teacher rather than a lawyer. All of this was possible because I consistently met with my professor.  

The benefits of why should you meet your professors

Here are some practical reasons that you should meet with your professors (based on my experiences): 

  1. It will make the class seem less scary and/or overwhelming

  2. They offer great advice for approaching course material

  3. They can provide better explanations of challenging concepts 

  4. They always offer extra help on exams and midterms

  5. They'll share resources you might not have known about otherwise 

  6. They provide confidence boosts when you need it most

  7. Professors can help guide you in figuring out what you want to do during and after college 

  8. If you meet with professors enough, they might reach out to you with opportunities they think you’d like or opportunities they think you’d be a great fit for

At the end of the day, everyone working at ASU wants you to succeed, especially your professors and the sooner you talk to them, the sooner you’ll see for yourself! 

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