How do I build a good rapport with my professors on a virtual platform? I don’t see them in person and I can’t make the same connections that I would like.
That is a great question! Thank you for sending it in. I feel many people struggle with the same thing and are either too afraid to ask for help or don’t know who to ask. I’m here to help.
To answer your question, developing a strong connection with professors can be hard on a virtual platform. There are multiple ways for one to build a better connection with professors they do not see in person.
One thing I would suggest is emailing your professors and introducing yourself. Let your professors get to know you by the words you write to them. Going to “office hours” is not as easy as it once was but is not impossible. See if you can organize a zoom with your professors. A one-on-one Zoom meeting will allow the professor to see who you are and help you to build that connection.
Staying in touch and checking in with your professors might seem cumbersome at first, but it really isn’t! Remaining in constant communication allows the professor to see not only what type of student you are but also helps them get to know you as a person.
Another simple way to get to know your professor is signing into Zoom a few minutes early. This can be equated to arriving to class early. Being logged on before the start of class allows you, your classmates, and your professor to be informal. This is the perfect time to make jokes and talk about the latest episode of your favorite TV show, or just get to know each other.
I am a person who, like you, likes to build strong connections with my professors. I do not like just being a name to them; I want them to know me enough so that when an opportunity presents itself I am the first person they think of. Going virtual has definitely made this harder but not impossible.
Just a few weeks ago, I was logged onto class about maybe ten minutes early and there was just me the professor and two other students. Because I was logged on early, I was able to have a conversation with the professor that had nothing to do with the class and everything to do with my interests.
Most students wait to log on until last minute, so being early gives you a few minutes to be personal with your professors. This will give you an edge over other students. While everyone else waits until the last second to join class, you have already been there and have had conversations that help you build the good rapport with the professor you are looking for.
Do not be afraid to reach out. Professors want to hear from their students. In this virtual world, professors and students alike are looking for conformation that they are doing something right. Starting a simple email and having that conversation will benefit both the student and teacher.
Communication is key today, so communicate anyway you can. Bring that attention to yourself; just make sure it is positive attention.
I hope this helped to answer your question!
Have a question you need answered? Need advice? Email Shannon at Shannon.M.McGorty@monmouth.edu and she will be glad to help.
She doesn’t promise to have all the answers but for the answers she doesn’t have, she is committed to getting the answers you need.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University