Top dog, head honcho, the big cheese, senior. All of these guys and girls know exactly what they’re talking about after three years of experience. Don’t know how to make an impression on your department? They’re here to help!
J.P. ‘The Rocket Scientist’ Muncks, aerospace engineering, University of Virginia: “Going to office hours will help you make an impression on your department. If you show your professors that you are willing to put in the extra effort to get a good grade in their class, they’ll remember you and it will be easier to go to them later on if you need help with another class or a recommendation,” says Muncks.
“Also, there’s the chance that you’ll be able to develop a more personal relationship with them than you would be able to in the classroom. With professors that are friends, you’ll be able to maintain a relationship with them after college so, if you ever need contacts in the real world, they’ll be there to help you out.”
Laura ‘The World-Changer’ Levitt, broadcast journalism, Elon University: Levitt agrees, “[t]he way that I made an impression in the communications school was to get to know the faculty. I would talk to my professors after class if I had questions, and I’d visit them during office hours—sometimes just to say hello. Get to know them on a personal level as well as a professional level. Then when you need help on something you have people who you can turn to.”
Sheila ‘The Future Doctor’ Razdan, public health studies, Johns Hopkins University: Razdan says making an impression is a two step process:
1) “Visit your advisor at least once a semester! The advisors for my department often mention specific internship opportunities to students when they know that the students have a specific interest in a field. The only way they know what students are looking for is when students meet frequently enough with their advisors to communicate their interests.”
2) “Show up to events hosted by your department. Whether it’s a speaker series, bagels and coffee before a 9am class, or an information session about summer programs, the more face time with staff/administration, the better.”
Laura ‘The Ivy-Leaguer’ Morrison, human biology, health and society, Cornell University: “Having relationships with professors can seem intimidating, but in the end it will help you. Not only could it help your grade (because they know you care/are trying), but it will be useful later when you need letters of recommendation. No matter what field you go into, you will need letters to get you there so starting early is always good. I understand waiting though to find that ‘perfect’ professor in a small[er] class to get to know—it always helps when you like the class and can show a genuine interest,” says Morrison.
Kristi ‘The Singer’ Ferguson, biology, Virginia Tech: “In my experience, I have found that sucking up goes a long way,” says Ferguson. “Now I know that sounds crazy, but when I needed to force add a class as a freshman, my department would be slow and really seem unwilling to help.
“However, once they added me into the class, I made them a plate of cookies to show how truly appreciative I was that they had taken the time to add me. They were shocked, and now [they] know me by name. I have been added into every class I could have ever wanted, and all it took was a $3.00 plate of cookies.”
If this method isn’t for you, Feguson says, “schedule meetings with some of them to talk about your coursework and ask them questions about where you could be headed in the future. Most of the time, they love to talk and are very willing to help you but as always, even if you stopped in for 5 minutes, send them an email thanking them for their time.”