Laker Tips and Tricks: How to Get Your Professor to Love You

Written by Nick Gbur & Posted on January 7, 2019

Welcome to a new semester. With a new semester comes new classes to enjoy, new friends to meet, and unfortunately, all of the progress that you’ve made turning your professor from intimidating megalith to normal human person with specialized knowledge is out the window. Never fear — we’re here with tips and tricks on how to get your prof to love you or at least tolerate you more than the kid next to you who smacks his gum and texts during lecture.

Ask a question.

Asking questions shows that you’re engaged, that you’ve done the reading, and that you aren’t a lazy bum destined to repeat the class. An easy way to get this done is reading the syllabus before the first class meeting (shocking, I know). Something on the syllabus might be somewhat vague, ask a question about that. There are also probably three different ways to contact the prof listed on the syllabus, so ask which one they prefer. Boom, you’ve got your foot in the door, and you’re on a first name basis.

Student raising hand in classroom

Professor asking class a question

Don’t make them wait.

If it’s happened once, it’s happened a thousand times. The prof asks a question and no one answers, crickets begin to chirp, elevator music plays in the blank minds of 30 students projecting empty stares at the person in the front of the room when two words shatter the silence into a million pieces: “I’ll wait.” Don’t let this happen. Even if you don’t know the answer, try. The effort shows the professor that you want to learn, and you will break the tension and inspire your classmates to speak. Profs appreciate a leader, and being the first to break the silence will make you just that.

Pay attention.

The laptop that you’ve been scrolling on, noticed. The phone you think you have artfully hidden under your desk, seen. Profs aren’t new to the game; they know what you’re up to and every trick in the book. And believe it or not, professors are people, too. They don’t want to fight for your time. They want to make the most of your money and effort at GVSU. If you want your prof to love you, genuinely pay attention. If your laptop is out, use it for notes, not Facebook. Leave your phone in your pocket and whatever you do, don’t leave your ringer on.

students on lab computers

Professor and students studying together

Go to office hours.

Professors are required to have office hours, but a lot of the time, no students come. It can be a bummer. Think about if you invited your friends over and no one showed up. That would suck. If you want to be closer to your prof, go to their office hours. Have some questions lined up about the course content and then look around their office. Nine times out of ten, it’s decorated. Ask questions, you will find some sort of common interest and spark a conversation.

With these tips, you’ll get to know your professor and start building a professional relationship with faculty, one of the most underrated and underappreciated ways to grow as an individual. You’ll learn more, practice networking, and find more opportunities. Don’t just attend class; be present.

Page last modified February 3, 2020