Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Guide to Developing Good Relationships with Professors for Recomendation Letters

pcristianipcristiani Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
edited March 2011 in Transfer Students
I want to write this "guide" or whatever you want to call it, to contribute a little to the community because I feel I have been helped a great deal in this forum and I have seen that many people are asking the same question frequently. This is one of my strong points as a student (develop good relationships with professors). This past semester I had 5 professors and I developed a really good relationship with 4 so I just want to share how I did it. I'm sure it can help others. If anyone has any comments and suggestions, feel free to add them.

It would be nice if it could be "stickied" if the consensus is that it is helpful.

Well first off many might think that having a good relationship with a professor is everything to getting a good recommendation letter, it's a step but it's not all there is to it, you have to be a good student, not a goof off. I think it's very important to have a good relationship with your professors because when you do and when you are a good student they have more to talk about in your letters since they know you better. Remember they have tons and tons of students (depending on class sizes and university size) and you are probably one more number if you don't take the time to stand out.


1) Attend ALL of your classes, unless you have an emergency, or something really important that you have to do. Most professors notice you if they see you everyday sitting in the same spot.
-If you have to miss class for some good reason go talk to them and ask them what he went over in class. He will notice your interest in the class.

2) Ask questions. If you don't understand something ASK! I know it can be embarrassing, and a lot of college students don't ask because they're shy, or insecure about what others might think BUT you are paying for your education get the most out of it.

3) Participate in class. If you have something to add, or comment on, say it. It will make the class more interesting for you and your professor. It's not fun when ONLY the professor does ALL the talking.

4) Talk to him during his office hours if you have any questions (that's what their office hours are for), make use of them. , also ask them how their day is going. Personally I like to go off-topic with them (if they are OK with it) and talk about random subjects not-class-related.

5) Exchange e-mails or call their office. This is a less personal approach than the others, but I guess it can help, but not as much. I wouldn't suggest doing this as much as the other suggestions.

6) Greet them when you see them in the hallways.

7) This is a personal one... but I felt so good about certain professors that I gave them a gift (a pound of Gourmet Coffee). I just wanted to let them know how much I appreciated their time. I also hooked up another professor with some DVDs of a rare documentary he was interested in.

8) At the end of the semester thank them and tell them how much you enjoyed their class and give them any suggestions on how to make their class better.

I'd suggest asking the professors that teach the courses that relate the most to your intended major to write the Rec Letters.
Post edited by pcristiani on

Replies to: Guide to Developing Good Relationships with Professors for Recomendation Letters

  • racnnaracnna Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    I think research with the professor whose course you're taking is also a really good way for the professor to get to know you and be better acquainted with your strengths.
  • primetime2152primetime2152 Registered User Posts: 162 Junior Member
    i applied to transfer to schools for junior standing (penn and cornell - accepted only at cornell) but should I subtly ask them to hang on to the recommendations for me if I want to apply to business school or graduate school? (even though I had them freshman and sophomore year?)
  • AdamM412AdamM412 Registered User Posts: 472 Member
    in regards to research...how do you go about asking something like this? I am in my local CC but my current teacher is also a teacher at Carnegie Mellon University so I'd really like a good letter from him. How should I approach him about possible research opportunities.
  • 'tisthetruth'tisthetruth . Posts: 865 Member
    Also, how exactly could a student benefit a professor's research, given that the student is not carefully trained in scholarship yet (I assume that the overwhelming majority of undergraduate students aren't advanced enough to produce original thought)?
  • The ApproachThe Approach - Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Very good post, a sticky indeed.
  • pcristianipcristiani Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    Personally I haven't heard of research for the undergrad level...
  • DoryxDoryx Registered User Posts: 461 Member
    Just put yourself in the professor's position. Don't over suck up because it can become nauseating or annoying.
  • WindCloudUltraWindCloudUltra Registered User Posts: 1,761 Senior Member
    "Personally I haven't heard of research for the undergrad level..."
    Where do you go to school? It's not as uncommon as you think.
  • jbruner17jbruner17 Registered User Posts: 303 Member
    MIT and UNC-Chapel Hill taut undergrad research all the time. It's a huge selling point for them.
  • racnnaracnna Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    what does taut used in that context mean?
  • pcristianipcristiani Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    i think he meant taught
  • pcristianipcristiani Registered User Posts: 283 Junior Member
    hi 10 char
  • burgler09burgler09 Registered User Posts: 1,386 Senior Member
    Research at the undergraduate level is not only uncommon.. its often close to a necessity for applying to med school and dental school! Most schools have opportunity for it and it is very important to become involved if you can. Make sure to ask direct questions about it, some schools boast about it, but when you start asking questions it becomes apparent its a lot harder than you think to get involved in it. Ask current (upper-division) students how hard it is to become involved, don't ask an incomming freshman :)
  • ElggujElgguj Registered User Posts: 469 Member
    office hours are probably the best and most realistic/practical way of developing good relations with your prof. not sure i agree with getting them gifts though...a lot of profs will be uncomfortable with that.

    oh and its probably worth mentioning that you should pick and choose from that list. doing ALL of those is way over the top in a bad way.
  • mrxmarkmrxmark Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    Step 9) Bribery in the most illegal way possible
This discussion has been closed.