Students often elevate professors to being almost super-human individuals.  This necessarily challenges and strains communication. The result can often be that students either do not know how to communicate with professors, or they are too intimidated to do so.  Thus, students are frequently at a loss when compelled to engage professors. For this reason, we at Unemployed Professors have put together a set of suggestions which will help students communicate fluently with those who lecture and examine them.

  • Take Away the Pedestal:  Professors are people too.  Students have a tendency to idealize their instructors, with the effect that communication can be vexed, or even avoided.  Address professors with respect, but also as if they share in the same human frailties as anyone else.
  • Professors are Paid to Communicate with You:  Part of teaching is communicating with students outside class.  While professors are very busy, they are also paid to interact with students.  Many of them, in fact, fund this gratifying. The complex task of conveying difficult information often cannot be accomplished entirely in lecture.  Professors know this, and welcome inquiries in-office, or by email. Therefore, do not be anxious about utilizing these modes of communication.
  • Show foresight:  If you communicate with your prof the night before an essay is due to ask him what he thinks about your thesis statement, it is likely you will not receive a great answer – if any, at all.  The same goes for potential conflicts: address them ahead of time. Notifying your prof that you can’t submit your essay the following day because you have two other papers and an exam that day is, again, demonstrating lack of foresight.
  • Communicate eloquently, with proper grammar:  Do not be crude; and do not use text-talk.  Spell word properly; and use received rules of grammar.  Try to form your emails as if you are writing a paper. Remember, the communication you have with your professor will also help form her opinion of your intellect, not just your paper and exam.  Proofread your emails before sending.
  • Research before inquiring: If the answer you seek is readily available to you, do not ask it.  Instead, research beforehand. For instance, do not ask the professor what his office hours are, or where it is located.  Do not, in fact, ask anything that is available on the syllabus. Keep your questions to content.  
  • Consider prioritizing an in-person meeting:  By taking the time and trouble to see a professor in person, you are indicating your commitment.  You are showing that you will take the time to get the answer you want; and this also benefits you, because, unlike an email, which can be answered anytime, an in-person question is generally answered in-the-moment.  

Communicating well with your professors is a critical aspect of your education. By learning this art, you will gain a definite advantage.  You will have less chance of struggling, or falling behind; and you will emerge from the anonymous sea of faces the prof looks out at during lectures.

With that in mind, ask the team of academic professionals at any questions you may have regarding their college writing services and they will be more than happy to guide you along the arduous path!