I am so obsessed with getting involved on campus and am so excited that I have Emma here to talk about how you can further enhance your college experience by getting connected with faculty. Having advisors through SWE and Women in Engineering on campus has definitely helped me get more involved and really made me feel like someone was looking out for me. Don’t know how to connect with one of your professors? Emma has the answers (:
College can be an intimidating place, particularly when it comes to reaching out to faculty and staff at your university. If you’re not used to talking to professors, it can seem scary to make that move, but, as an academic advisor, I can assure you that the majority of faculty and staff WANT you to connect with them! Here are five simple ways to connect with faculty and staff on campus:
1. Find out when faculty members’ office hours are and use them.
If you have a professor who you’d like to get to know better, whether you’re interested in their research, have questions about a class you’re taking with them, or just want to make a connection so you feel more integrated into the campus community, office hours are the time to do it. All faculty have office hours and it’s often posted on their door/the syllabus, but if you don’t see it, don’t hesitate to send them an email or ask about it in class!
2. Join a club or organization.
This may seem like “getting involved in college 101,” but most clubs and groups on campus have a faculty or staff advisor that oversees the group. This can be a great way to get to know faculty and staff on a more 1:1 level over a shared interest. Want to join a cooking club? Chances are the faculty advisor is into cooking too! If you rise into a leadership position in one of these organizations that will give you even further access to those advisors in the form of one on one meetings.
3. Make use of available advising resources.
Whether you have faculty or staff advisors at your university, it’s great for you to reach out and request an appointment. Most students are assigned at least one (if not multiple) advisors when they enter college and/or their major. Those peoples’ jobs are to support you in your academic pursuits! As an academic advisor, I absolutely love it when students reach out and ask for my help with anything from registering for a class to career planning to accessing campus resources. That’s why I’m here!
Note: Just make sure that if you’re sending an email to faculty/staff you’re using their appropriate title “Hi Dr. Smith” or “Hi Professor Smith,” because faculty and staff don’t like receiving emails that are too casual – at least until you have a better relationship with them! Take their lead – if they sign their email “Nancy” then it’s probably okay to call them Nancy.
4. Become a research assistant.
One of the best decisions I made in college was to become a research assistant for one of my professors in the Psychology department. Not only did it get me valuable experience in the field (and add that to my resume!), but it also gave me a different level of exposure to faculty members in the department. Serving in a “working relationship” with my faculty definitely helped me to feel more connected.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek connection.
All of these tips are well and good, but if you’re too scared to ask for help or reach out to faculty and staff that seem interesting to you, it’s a moot point. Most faculty and staff on campus are dedicated to making your experience a better one. Their jobs exist because you exist, so use those resources! I always love when students reach out unexpectedly and ask for help, support, or guidance. Or even just to get to know me better! Because I was so engaged with faculty and staff on campus, I now count two faculty members from my university as my closest friends (and they’ve been great for advice and for letters of recommendation!) All it took was me feeling a little brave and vulnerable and reaching out.
I hope you’ll get in contact with me if you have any questions about anything in this post or about navigating administrative systems at universities in general! You can reach me via email at email@example.com.
Hi, I’m Emma (pictured on the right)! One half of the blogging pair at Emma and JW’s Best Day Ever. We’re a pair of best friend bloggers who are just starting out in the blogging world. We both work at a university – JW in housing and me as an academic advisor – and love talking to college students and making connections on campus. We blog about reading, running, and generally living healthy, fulfilling lifestyles. We hope you’ll come over and join us! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter! Thank you so much to Amanda for letting me join you all today!
Are you a blogger that is interested in being featured in the College Chronicles series? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the topic you would like to write about!
More COLLEGE CHRONICLE Posts:
- Sorority Life Explained
- How to Prepare for Post-Grad Life
- Why You NEED to Get Involved in College
- A Beginner’s Guide to Studying Abroad