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How to Maintain a Positive Relationship with Professors After College

As a college student, sometimes it’s difficult to wade through the noise you’re surrounded by and really take advantage of all of the opportunities you’re afforded during those four years. Most of us are preoccupied with keeping grades up, making it to the student government meeting on time, and cheering on the football team.

One resource that I think is often overlooked and allowed to languish after we’re handed our diploma is our professors. Sure, they’re charged with teaching us the fundamental principles we need to know to be successful in our careers, but that relationship doesn’t have to end just because your college career does.

I was fortunate in that I had developed a strong relationship with a handful of my professors before I graduated. They were the people I turned to for recommendations, for career advice and for constructive criticism. They respected the fact that I cared enough about my work to ask questions, and I appreciated their willingness to really help me chart the course I would be taking for at least the next five years.

So how can you continue to foster these relationships? Here are a few tips:

Send a “checking in” email every six months. Professors love hearing about where students have ended up, so I’ll often email my old professors and share with them where I am in my career, the challenges I’ve faced, and what I have on the horizon. This helps me stay top-of-mind, should they hear about any good opportunities — jobs or otherwise — in my industry based on their network and connections. They’ll often write back and fill me in on the book they’re writing or the changes they’ve witnessed in their classrooms, and it’s a great way to keep the dialogue open.

Offer up your services. If you’ve been working in your field for a year, or even six months, you have valuable advice and experience that’s relevant to those still in school. Ask your professor if he or she would be open to having you present a guest lecture with tips and tricks for landing a gig or maybe things you wish you would have known when you were in school. Serving as a guest speaker not only improves your public speaking chops, but it also helps the professor provide a more robust experience for current students and helps position you as a thought leader. Don’t live in the city you went to school in? No problem. Skype makes it easy to direct the conversation from afar.

Write them a LinkedIn recommendation. Another underutilized tool, LinkedIn’s recommendations feature allows you to publicly praise your professors for a job well done. Use a specific example of how he or she went out of their way to help you, or talk about a particularly memorable class. Not only is it good karma to celebrate that which you appreciate in others, but it, once again, keeps you top-of-mind, should a great opportunity arise. Make sure it’s succinct, well written and free from spelling and grammar errors.

Are there any other ways to stay in contact with a professor that are missing from this list? Let us know in the comments section.

This article was written by Erica Moss who works as the social media outreach coordinator of Georgetown University’s online Masters in Nursing program.


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17 Responses to How to Maintain a Positive Relationship with Professors After College

  1. Great advice! If your professors are active on social media, you could also follow them on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. If your posts look interesting, they might even follow you back!

  2. Erica Moss says:

    Great advice, Victor! Social media is a great way to stay in touch. Thank you for the comment.

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  8. K. Braun says:

    I’ve found a lot of my professors had respectable jobs in fields I was interested in getting into. The ability to pick their brains and get their recommendation to previous colleagues of theirs proved to be priceless!

  9. updatepedia says:

    great article about professor. respect is must necessary between student and professor.

  10. kiltmandavid says:

    Great information you have produced in this post….keep up the great work!

  11. JustDashiki says:

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  12. blogsubway says:

    Great post.
    This is really helpful for me.

  13. Shikha Yadav says:

    Great Post to maintain relationship with profession after college.
    My suggestion is we can exchange phone numbers. So that we can keep in touch with each other. We can maintain relationship by inviting several function like marriage and birthday party etc.

    Over all awesome information! keep up the great work!

  14. Apki Soch says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this great info about professors.

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