Apr 8, 2010
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I know this is most-likely a very stupid question...


but how do you get to know a professor? Some people know their professors so well...and the professors are fond of them...I don't really know how to do it :S

I am sure it is quite beneficial....but its just something I can't get used to...
 

CaliGirl14

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Visit them whenever their office is open. Offer to do research with them. Ask a ****-load of questions. Basically, suck up to them.
 
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wouldnt they get annoyed?

and i cant just visit them for fun!!!

and u dont offer to do research....they PICK you =\ or u request....
 

AH3

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It's definitely a little harder to do at a big school, but it's important you do well in the class and sit in the first few rows. Going to office hours is important too. Professors are usually excited about their work and areas of study, so if you share that excitement it will make getting to know them a little easier.
 

apumic

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Use your people skills. They're human beings. How do you get to know human beings? How do you relate to them? Listen in class and figure out what gets them excited. Start conversations with them. Often I'll start by making very light conversation at the end of class (or before class) if they seem open to it. Doing well gets you on their radar so they'll be more open to conversation later if you do well, seem attentive, show up on time, etc.
 

CaliGirl14

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wouldnt they get annoyed?

and i cant just visit them for fun!!!

and u dont offer to do research....they PICK you =\ or u request....
Visit them--as in ask questions!! No, it won't be annoying because it's their job to answer your questions.

Then request to do research.
 
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yup im at a big school...extremly difficult..

arrite, ill attempt to get to know them after class...and then during office hours to ask questions!

you're right, they're humans too :D


so after you guys get to know them...do you sometimes just visit them for fun and have conversations?
 

CaliGirl14

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so after you guys get to know them...do you sometimes just visit them for fun and have conversations?

Ding ding ding ding ding..you got it. Honestly, they're not robots or aliens, you can talk to them..
 

Cwc127

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The really awkward part, though, comes when asking them for an LOR.

How do you politely ask for an LOR without making it seem like that was your ulterior motive all along when you were talking to them, asking them questions / visiting during office hours, offering to do research with them, etc...?

For example, I'd like to ask my Neuro professor a letter in a few weeks. I've had 3-4 15+ minute discussions with them, both on the course material, and once on my own background and plans. However, when I ask for a letter in a week or two, it's going to appear as if the main reason I approached them at all was to get to know them well enough for a letter...
 

apumic

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The really awkward part, though, comes when asking them for an LOR.

How do you politely ask for an LOR without making it seem like that was your ulterior motive all along when you were talking to them, asking them questions / visiting during office hours, offering to do research with them, etc...?

For example, I'd like to ask my Neuro professor a letter in a few weeks. I've had 3-4 15+ minute discussions with them, both on the course material, and once on my own background and plans. However, when I ask for a letter in a week or two, it's going to appear as if the main reason I approached them at all was to get to know them well enough for a letter...
Well yeah... you've only had 3-4 15+ minute discussions. If those were all in his/her office and felt very student-teacher-ish that's how it'll look. Be organic. Grab lunch with your prof on campus a couple of times if possible. (This is FAR easier/more natural once you're working with the professor on research or TAing or whatnot. Heck, as a TA myself, if a student asked to grab lunch w/ me whom I didn't know outside the classroom, alarms would be going off in my head! OTOH, if a student I supervise on a research team asked to grab lunch, I'd think nothing of it. It's all about the natural progression of things.)

The takeaway message here is to build the relationship first. Stop thinking about things in terms of "how will this benefit my med school app?" I think that's probably the biggest problem w/ premeds. Everything is about "the app" so they forget everything that matters in the process. The truth is that natural>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>prescribed solution/forced relationships/forced activities.
 

CaliGirl14

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The really awkward part, though, comes when asking them for an LOR.

How do you politely ask for an LOR without making it seem like that was your ulterior motive all along when you were talking to them, asking them questions / visiting during office hours, offering to do research with them, etc...?

For example, I'd like to ask my Neuro professor a letter in a few weeks. I've had 3-4 15+ minute discussions with them, both on the course material, and once on my own background and plans. However, when I ask for a letter in a week or two, it's going to appear as if the main reason I approached them at all was to get to know them well enough for a letter...

If you don't want to seem like an arse, just continue visiting them after you received the letter. Just a friendly hello on different occasions, or send them a friendly "Merry Christmas" email or w/e. Nothing too big.
 

Guile

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Sit in the front of class, ask thoughtful questions, and go to office hours, where you ask questions that show you understand the material and have thought hard about it. And then when you're finished asking school questions, shoot the breeze for a little bit and talk about non-school stuff. They will remember you if you're consistently there.