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Advising Center - Transitioning to College

This guide provides information about making the transition to college for freshmen and transfer students.

Building positive relationships with professors is one of the cornerstones of a College experience.  These relationships will not only help during a particular course, but they will carry into other parts of your academic and professional life.  


Like all relationships, building positive relationships with your professors takes time and effort but the benefits are innumerable:

  • Academic mentorship, advice, and support
  • Professional mentorship, advice, and support
  • Campus and community resources
  • Networking and professional opportunities
  • Scholarship application assistance and advice
  • Recommendation letters and work references


Here's a short overview from one of our Academic Deans: 




When it comes to building relationships, it's important to make a good first impression. Students often find it difficult to know how to address their faculty members the first time they enter a classroom.  For most faculty, you will refer to them as 'Professor,' which is their job title.  Professors who hold a doctorate may prefer the honorary title of 'Dr.'  Some faculty may prefer to simply be called by their first or last names.  Normally, a faculty member will let you know what they prefer to be called on the first day of the class.  They may also make a note of it in the syllabus or in their faculty course profile.  If you do not know, you should err on the safe side and refer to them as 'professor.'


If it is a quick question, you can always email your faculty member and allow twenty-four hours for a response. If it is a more involved question, you can talk to the faculty member before or after class (assuming their schedule permits), during office hours, or by making an email appointment.  If the faculty member has an office phone, you can also reach them at that number.  Faculty members rarely provide students with their personal phone numbers.  A 'best method of contact' is usually listed on the course syllabus.


One of the best ways to build positive relationships with professors is by attending office hours or times that professors set aside each week to meet with their students. They offer students an opportunity for one-on-one time with the faculty to answer questions, assist with work, and provide additional support. Faculty members hold office hours face-to-face or virtually to accommodate our various student populations.  The times, days, and locations are provided in the course syllabus, in the faculty member's email signature, and/or in their office. 


Don't forget to download our Key to Success in Quick Access Printables box on this page.