How to Develop a Quality Mentor Relationship with your Professor

As a college student, it is beneficial to have a solid relationship with one or two of your professors. Doing so will not only gain you a mentor in your major, but it will also get you a contact name that will be like gold when you are hunting for that first job. So how do you go about developing a quality mentor relationship with your professor?

On the first day of class, make sure you sit up front and actually listen to your professor. Do they sound like someone who would make a good mentor? Professors will usually tell you about their education experience on the first day of class. Are they well educated? How long have they been teaching? Try to be a good judge of character in assessing whether or not you would want certain professors as your mentor.

After a few classes, you should feel more comfortable with your professor. Ask them if you can meet with them during office hours. During this meeting, you should express your future goals and aspirations. Ask them if they would be willing to guide and help you, even after the class is over. Ask them if they have any contacts or ideas for internships within your area of knowledge. You can even ask them what path they took to get where they are today. Doing this will show them that you are interested in your future and that you actually care about the class. They will see that you are not in that class, just for a grade, but that you have a passion for the material.

About halfway through the semester, assess your own grade. Are you doing well? Are you passing tests and turning your work in on time? If so, then approach your professor and offer to help other students. Maybe you can offer to assist in one of the other classes that the professor teaches. Doing this will not only give you experience, but it will show your professor that you are willing and available to help with anything that is needed of you.

Just because the class is over does not mean that you can just ignore your professor now. Once you have started developing that relationship with a professor, then keep in touch. Be sure you update your newfound mentor of your progress in other classes or how you are doing on that job hunt. If you have graduated and have found that job, then great, now your mentor can be your friend and you can now offer to become a mentor for other students.

~Do not try to make every professor your mentor. Focus on maybe one or two professors throughout your college experience.
~Try to develop mentor relationships during your freshman year. This way you will have someone, other than your advisor, to guide you throughout your four years on campus.

Going to college is not about just attending class and passing. Having a quality bond with someone will help a great deal. They will be more than an advisor; they will be there to help guide you along the way to the real world. Make the best of the relationship and don’t forget that you can be a mentor too. Pay it forward.