Archive | Universities

Source: elitedaily.com

Source: elitedaily.com

 
Planning to study an MBA in the US, but worried about the high tuition fees? If yes, it would be a treat for you to find a destination that offers an affordable and but quality MBA education!

Canada is one such popular study destination that is preferred by students across the globe. Studying next door to the US in Canada is a great idea for aspiring MBA students. The Canadian government is increasingly making efforts to attract more students. The post on canadainternational.gc.ca tells that the Government of Canada has introduced an ‘International Education Strategy’ to focus on maintaining the global position of the country in higher education.

Top Reasons to Choose Canada

Here we highlight the five key reasons that make Canada a perfect destination to pursue an MBA degree:

1) Affordable Fees
Studying management courses in Canada is considered more affordable than in the USA, Australia or the UK. The college fees as well as cost of living are comparatively lower in Canada. Moreover, the place has a life inside and outside your campus to explore different food, music, art, and adventures.

2) Quality Education
Quality education and excellent career opportunities are the primary reasons for pursuing higher education from the world’s best universities. Canadian MBA colleges and universities are some of the most preferred options due to the quality learning experience offered to students through an updated curriculum. Business schools in the country offer excellent infrastructure, exposure, and scholarships.

3) Full Value for your Money
Paying for your education is an investment for the future. When it comes to studying abroad, tuition fees become a huge financial undertaking for many students. Studying in Canada is a promise to receive the full return on your investment.

It is an opportunity to enhance your career prospects as degrees offered by Canadian universities and business schools are recognized globally. An MBA program in these institutions offers practical and theoretical knowledge to face the job market competition. Moreover, there is always a possibility for students to gain valuable work experience in the country through off-campus employment.

4) Global Ranking
Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.22.19 AMMany prominent business institutions in Canada are featured in well-recognized global rankings such as Academic Rankings of World Universities, QS Research, and Times Higher Education.

On one hand, where MBA colleges in the US are ranked in top positions in the Top 100 Global MBA Ranking 2014 by Financial Times, the ranking of some of the Canadian business schools in the list are not small achievements.

5) Experience Multiculturalism
Another reason to study in Canada is the opportunity to experience living in a multicultural country. Moreover, it is a country with political stability and a peaceful environment with a low crime rate. The country has two official languages – French and English. This gives students an opportunity to develop new language skills.

Where to Study?

Canadian MBA schools are among the best universities and institutions in the world. Those interested in studying in the country can find several options. Some of the best include:

  • York University’s Schulich School of Business
  • Queen’s School of Business, Queen’s University
  • University of Toronto: Rotman School
  • Desautels School, McGill University
  • Sauder Business School, University of British Columbia
  • University of Alberta, Alberta School of Business
  • University of New Brunswick, Saint John Faculty of Business

Return on Investment (ROI) on education is an important factor that makes your college selection an important decision. This means that one should analyze the cost-benefit ratio of studying in a particular country and college. The ROI is high if your salary earned after completion of the course is higher than the cost of your program.

Some of the popular courses offered by business schools in Canada include MBA in International Business, Master of Science in International Business (MScIB), Executive MBA, Executive Management (EMBA), MBA in Community Economic Development, MBA in Financial Services, and MBA in Global Management.

Based on your career plans and area of interest, you can choose any such course offered by the top colleges. Studying abroad is a great way to gain global exposure and step into your desired career.

This article was submitted by Swati Srivastava.

Image by William Mewes, Flickr

Image by William Mewes, Flickr

Rape, kidnapping, shootings – you’ve heard the news stories of these happening, even on campus. Although rare incidents, they can happen to the least suspecting people. Often, students haven’t taken the proper precautions.

There are steps you can take to increase your safety on campus. Although taking these measures doesn’t mean you’re 100% safe, it will minimize the risk of having anything catastrophic happen to you. Use the following guidelines to safeguard yourself on campus:

  1. Avoid being on campus late at night. If you can avoid taking night classes, great. Walking around campus at night, especially alone, can be unsafe. You never know who you’re going to run into. Run any errands during the day, and don’t walk to visit your friends on campus alone at night.
  2. Travel in crowds. Always walk with at least one other person while at school, as this makes you less of a target for crimes. If you are alone and need to travel to on-campus events, campus security can walk you to and from the event.
  3. If you’re going to a party, make sure you know at least one person there. Going to a party where you don’t know anyone is risky. You’re in a private setting with people who you don’t know whether to trust. Let’s not forget some parties can get out of hand, making them the perfect setting for crime.
  4. Don’t open the door to strangers if you’re living in residence. Doing so gives him or her easy access to your home. Make use of the peephole in your door, and don’t be afraid to ask who it is before you open the door. Remember to keep the door locked and have an alarm on, if possible.
  5. Read the news and pay attention to talk about the latest crimes. This way you are not only informed, but you are also able to protect yourself. Campus crime may not always be published or broadcasted, so it’s important to listen to other people’s reports of what’s happening on campus. Even if they’re just rumours, it doesn’t hurt to keep an extra eye out.

Campuses can be breeding grounds for crime. You may worry that you will be a victim, but ease your mind and know there are precautions you can take to prevent yourself from being targeted. Only worry enough to keep yourself safe. Have fun exploring campus!

Image by pixabay

Image by pixabay

When I graduated high school, I (surprisingly) did not know what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I knew getting an education was important, and since I liked school anyways, I applied to a few popular Ontario universities and accepted an offer to attend a Visual Arts program at a university an hour from my home. I figured that while I didn’t know exactly what career I wanted, my experience in university would help me figure it out eventually.

When I moved into my university residence, I was floored by how much I loved the school and the people in it. I spent my first semester getting accustomed to university life and attending classes. However, while my classes were interesting, I realized I was not passionate about anything I was learning. I felt uneasy knowing my program was not giving me the life changing clarity I craved, and that I still had no idea what career path I wanted to take. I felt even more nervous thinking I was stuck in a program I didn’t like for the next 3 years.

As fate would have it, on a particularly cold, snowy night, my friends and I decided to go to the theatre to see the movie Avatar. The animation and visual effects of that movie blew me away, and made me realize that computer graphics and design were the kinds of things I wanted to do.

I left the theatre confident that visual art was not something I could see myself doing as a career. Instead, I dove into research about programs that offered the creative outlet I was searching for, but had options for animation and graphic design, things I was truly interested in (thanks to Avatar’s inspiration!).

The university I was attending did not offer programs that related to what I wanted to do, so I chose to expand my research to other schools. I searched for programs with key words like “graphic design” and “animation”, and came across a plethora of programs focusing on these interests.

I contacted a few schools to get more information about their programs, and I ended up being accepted into a university two hours away. Their program offered a university degree with a college certificate so that students are provided with the academic and applied learning of both types of institutions.

I finished my first year as a Visual Arts major, and used the credits I had earned towards my degree at my new school.

While transferring meant another transition into another new school, the process was easier than I had anticipated. The staff at both universities helped me with each step of the transfer process, so I was able to attend my new university in September as a second year student. While the process was at times stressful and scary, it was comforting to know that the decisions I made in high school were not set in stone, and that I had the power to change my mind to find what I was truly interested in doing.

Image by aherrero, Flickr

Image by aherrero, Flickr

In the big apple, New York University enrolls more than 50,000 students. The University of Toronto has more than 50,000 students at its St. George campus alone, and more than 300,000 students attend the University of Phoenix. Carleton College, a small liberal arts university in the town of Northfield, Minnesota, enrolls just over 2,000 students – a big step back from Phoenix’s 300,000. North American universities have a broad range of size.

How does size affect the average student experience? Many urban universities are large and can seem intimidating. Smaller universities in rural areas can seem friendlier, but may not present as great a challenge. Here are some positive points defending both proportions:

Pros of a large university:

1. Anonymity

You may not know anyone in your classes, but that means you can focus on yourself and your own learning pace without distraction.

Large universities offer bigger student populations and a wide variety of people from around the globe. If your new friends turn out to be jerks, you can disappear into the crowd. Instead of being stuck with one group of people that you may not get along with, you can eventually find the right group of friends through trial and error.

2. Interesting Campus

A large campus allows you to carve out your own niche. You can mix it up and keep your favourite spaces and commute interesting. Instead of having only a handful of options for study spots, you can find your favourite pockets within a larger campus.

3. Programs and Classes

Although online academia is growing in popularity and accessibility, larger universities can offer a more extensive variety of programs and/or specializations. Not all universities offer Celtic Studies, The History of Maple Syrup, or Elvish 101 (and yes, some do).

Larger universities need more professors to service their student population. Each professor is a unique link to their respective academic field. More professors means a broader range of opportunities and experiences you can tap into.

4. Extra-curricular Opportunities

At a small university, you might be the only Doctor Who fan. At a large university, there could already be a Doctor Who fan club that meets every week. A small university might have only one or two student publications, but a large university can have dozens of official and unofficial student publications. You can comfortably stretch out your interests and share them with your peers.

Pros of a small university:

1. Social Security

In your dorm, your classes, walking down the street, you feel at home. You will rarely feel alone or abandoned amongst the masses because you will always have someone to hang out with since there’s probably only a handful of people in the same classes. You might even know all the undergraduates in your residence, or those in your program.

2. Familiarity

Figuring out the campus takes less than a week. And by the end of first semester, you know the surrounding town inside out, including all the best places for takeout. If you’ve fully explored your campus environment, you may be more encouraged to go on international exchange.

3. Access to Resources

As one in a small body of students, you will get priority and easy access to all of the university’s resources. This includes one-on-one time with professors who might not have time for you in larger classes. If your grades slip, your professors or TAs might check in or take you aside. At a larger university, you might just get an impersonal warning from the Dean’s office. Getting references for graduate school will be a lot easier than at a large school, where you might not have as much face time.

4. Trailblazing Opportunities

No Doctor Who fan club? Make one, be a trailblazer. The same goes for student publications – no student historical journal or poetry magazine on campus? Found one, and it will look great on your resumé.

In conclusion, while there are definitive pros and cons to both large and small universities, all of the above observations are generalizations. Your happiness depends on your own personality and academic preferences. Have faith in your ability to find happiness in an overwhelmingly large university, and your creativity in a small one.

Image by University of Salford, Flickr

Image by University of Salford, Flickr

An MBA degree is considered to be the ultimate ticket to success. It is a highly coveted qualification in the realm of business management and can give your career a major boost. However, pursuing an MBA isn’t as easy as some students think it to be. The following article will offer advice to students who are researching admission to MBA colleges in Canada. The given tips will help you join a respectable business school and productively utilize your time spent there.

A management program in Canada can offer a plethora of opportunities, boost your earning potential and help expand your network. It also increases your employability across the globe. Those students who wish to study management courses in Canada and succeed in life can seek guidance from the following tips.

Chalk Out a Plan and Set Career Goals

An MBA aspirant must begin his/her professional journey by deciding where to go. Young professionals who are seeking to build a strong career or who wish to change their career path can opt for an MBA. But before you make up your mind, it is better that you define your long-term as well as short-term career goals. You should first decide where you want to be in the future and consider the different kinds of jobs and industries where you can seek employment after completing your course. Knowing what you want will help you prepare better and ultimately strengthen your applications.

While targeting business schools, you must ensure that the companies you wish to work for will come to the select colleges for campus recruitment. If they don’t, it is wiser to reconsider your choice. It is a drawback to study in a college where your dream company does not visit for recruitment. Most business schools judge your application based on the following criteria – 70 per cent and above in graduation, GMAT scores, TOEFL, group discussions and personal interviews. A candidate must also have relevant work experience.

Take a Quantitative Course

There are certain aspirants who may not have quantitative knowledge due to a non-commerce background. Such applicants can put in extra efforts by taking up additional coursework. You can take additional classes for finance, calculus and statistics. It does not matter where you take these classes; you may take them online or join a community college. If you have a particular management institute in mind, you can check the course subjects with them and seek recommendation so that you are prepared for the quantitative tryst of the MBA program.

Socialize to Build Long-Term Networks

Interestingly, most MBAs reveal that the network they developed at their business schools are the most valuable and fruitful. You should begin building associations right at the beginning of your program. It is even better if you start doing so while applying for management colleges. Many MBA institutes conduct networking events to allow potential candidates to interact with school representatives. You can move on from collecting the basic information and interact with the guests present. View it as an opportunity for connecting with the MBA community that you shall be joining for life. Most of these relations will go beyond the admissions procedure and classroom bonding and will eventually help you in the long run when you are looking for new jobs.

Be Confident and Believe in Yourself

As you come across other MBA candidates hailing from business backgrounds, you may begin to second-guess your caliber. When you meet an applicant from a commerce background (like a BBA), it is evident that they will know more as they have already studied the same concepts for their graduation. However, what you need to do is stop thinking and focus on your own strengths, skills and attributes. Tell yourself that you will be an asset to the MBA community and are meant to excel in this field. All management institutes in Canada receive applications by people from different walks of life, but that only makes them distinct and special because MBA colleges encourage diversity.

Like you, there will be several more candidates who are striving to get into a reputed Canadian business school. Do not fear competition or lose hope. If you think business management is your calling in life, begin to feel more confident and aware. Only then will you be able to prove yourself and further impress the admission panel at later stages of admission.

This article was contributed by Devika Arora.


Video courtesy of the Toronto Star

You’ve sat through countless lectures in high school and college/university. Guaranteed, there was at least one lecture where you asked yourself (or in some brave cases, the professor), “When will I ever use this in the real world?” With the fast pace of modern society, students are feeling like they don’t have time to spend learning content they won’t find useful. Many teachers and professors have begun to understand this need, and some are even tailoring their classes to combat it.

Take, for example, the Tourism, Sport and Leisure Marketing class at the Schulich School of Business (York University, Toronto, Canada). Recently profiled by Morgan Campbell in the Sportonomics series for the Toronto Star, the group project for this class is to respond to a real-life issue affecting a pro sports entity. Various companies sign on to work with instructor Vijay Setlur in designing a case specific to their company’s needs. Each group in the class is assigned a company and a corresponding case, and is tasked with pitching a plan of action not only to classmates, but to executives from the companies.

Morgan Campbell interviews Stephen R. Brooks, VP Business Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays, in the video above. Brooks says,

An opportunity like this where the Blue Jays can come talk to not only bright businesspeople with great ideas, but also people in our age demographic that we’ve been trying to focus on, is a terrific opportunity to get that one-on-one feedback from them.

And thus we see the merging of classroom assignments with the real world. These students are given the opportunity to tackle an issue that perhaps may not even be presented to younger staff in a company; one that may be reserved for top executives behind closed doors. A case like this empowers students to not only come up with creative yet feasible ideas, but receive feedback from people with a front-row view of the challenges in their company. It’s an eye-opening assignment that pushes the class to really think about what they’re doing; eliminating the “who cares, it’s just an assignment” approach and adding the “I need to make a good impression because I want to work for this person one day” initiative.

When selecting your courses for the upcoming semester, keep your eyes open for ones that offer real-world experience. It’ll give you the opportunity to be excited about an assignment and will add value and credibility when you’re ready to find your first job out of school.

View the Toronto Star article here.

York University, University of Toronto, and the University of Western Ontario booths at Ontario Universities' Fair

York University, University of Toronto, and the University of Western Ontario booths at Ontario Universities’ Fair

The 2013 Ontario Universities’ Fair took place on the weekend of September 27-29. With all 21 Ontario universities and more than 121,000 students in attendance (as tweeted by @OntarioUniFair), it would seem the popular annual event was a success. But how do you really know?

We got a hold of Fair attendees Catherine and Christian, grade 12 students from two Toronto-area high schools. Here are their responses from our interview:

Did you know what schools you wanted to talk to at the Fair? Did you have specific programs in mind?
CATHERINE: I knew two of the universities I wanted to talk to, but I was open to other schools. I am interested in French Teaching, and I focused mainly on the universities that offer this program.
CHRISTIAN: Before I went to the Fair I heard that it was going to be tough to get around due to the overwhelming amount of people attending, so I analyzed the top programs and schools I was interested in. I narrowed it down to five schools and programs and stuck to finding out more about those. My broad selection of schools and programs was spread out across Ontario: Queen’s Commerce, Schulich’s IBBA, Brock’s Sports Management, University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and Western’s Richard Ivey School of Business.

Did you do research on these schools and programs before the Fair?
CATHERINE: I did research on one of the universities’ websites before going to the Fair. I also received information from an administrator who came to my school last year to talk to us about their French program, and I’ve talked with parents I know whose children attend the university.
CHRISTIAN: I did research on each school prior to my visit. I asked guidance counsellors about specific programs I was interested in, and I researched schools on the internet to find out about admissions.

Did you find it easy to access and talk to the people you wanted to at the Fair?
CATHERINE: Yes. Each booth had well-defined areas where you were able to easily find the representatives.
CHRISTIAN: I found that the better-known universities (Queen’s, York, Western etc.) were hard to get information from as there were hordes of people in front of the booths. Unfortunately, I think the larger universities did a poor job of making their schools approachable, as there were hardly any representatives roaming around. However, weaving through the crowds to get questions answered was entirely possible, and just required some patience.

Did you talk to students or administrators? If both, which one did you find more useful?
CATHERINE: I talked to the administrators at the Fair; I found them helpful because they explained the types of programs offered, and gave me a general feel of what their university would be like.
CHRISTIAN: When approaching universities with questions about admissions, I spoke to students. Their answers provided me with insight on the kind of experience the school would offer. There were few administrators for each booth, and they were almost always occupied.

What questions did you ask?
CATHERINE: I asked many of the same questions to each school: do you have a French teaching program? What courses do I have to take? Do you offer scholarships? How much is residence and what is included? Does your program offer travelling, exchange or taking a course abroad? What teachables do you offer?
CHRISTIAN: My questions were tailored to the specific programs. For example, I asked a Brock representative about their sports management program, and the internship that intertwines with the program.

Did you get the information you were looking for? Were you left with any unanswered questions?
CATHERINE: I got the information that I needed, and much more than I expected. I was left with a few unanswered questions, but they are ones I should easily be able to find online.
CHRISTIAN: I had some specific questions I thought would be difficult to answer, if at all. However, I was pleasantly surprised; questions such as if the iBBA offered an internship in Germany, and whether the sports management program at Brock had a connection with Sportsnet, were answered in a split second.

Did they offer up any information you didn’t think to ask about?
CATHERINE: They made me aware of the changes coming to the teaching program and how it will affect me with more years of study combined with more practicums in the program.
CHRISTIAN: The universities created booklets that contained incredible information from admissions to tuition to programs, and everything in between. These gave me much more information than I thought I needed.

Were you attracted to the booths of any schools you were not originally interested in?
CATHERINE: There were some booths that caught my eye with their French and teaching signs. I approached their booths and talked to their representatives about what programs they offer to make sure I make an informed decision.
CHRISTIAN: One particular booth that stood out was that of the University of Windsor. Their booth was centred around an ice hockey shooting strip, where you could shoot to win Toronto Maple Leaf tickets. The idea was to promote the school’s reputation with their strong tie to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. It was a great way to draw students in.

When you left, were you interested in other schools or programs you hadn’t thought about before the Fair?
CATHERINE: After seeing the different universities and learning about their programs, my interest was piqued and I looked up their websites to learn more about how their benefits compared to other universities.
CHRISTIAN: I became more interested in a sports management program after learning about its reputation and offerings.

Did you attend any of the school’s presentations? Did you find them useful?
CATHERINE: I did not attend to any of the presentations.
CHRISTIAN: I attended University of Toronto’s presentation. I definitely found it useful, as it went in depth about offered programs, specifically, the Rotman School of Business and the different majors within the program, which I was unclear about prior to the presentation.

Do you think attending the Fair helped your decision on what schools and programs to apply for?
CATHERINE: I think attending the Fair was helpful because I was able to ask questions that the websites didn’t answer. It was an easy way for me to see what each university offers.
CHRISTIAN: Not necessarily, as my primary choice was not swayed. However, my secondary choices were definitely influenced by the Fair.

What were the best and worst parts of the Fair for you?
CATHERINE: The best part of the Fair was receiving materials on the programs offered, costs, and general information about the university. I liked being able to talk to many different representatives and just have access to other universities. The Fair was unfortunately very crowded (even though I went on the Friday), and it was overwhelming at times because I wasn’t sure what to ask.
CHRISTIAN: The best part of the Fair was definitely being able to get answers to my questions from the representatives; I can’t think of a more viable source than being face-to-face with people from the school. The worst part of the Fair was having to weave through the hordes of people in order to receive booklets and ask questions. This was expected, understandable, and inevitable, with 120,000+ students, parents and educators attending the event within a weekend.

Would you recommend the Fair to other students?
CATHERINE: I would recommend going to the Fair, and if you do, go with your parents so they’re also aware of what the university offers and the costs involved. It is very interesting to find out what universities are out there and it is helpful for those who don’t know what they want to do in the future.
CHRISTIAN: Most definitely! The Fair is an incredible place to get valuable information, receive answers to your all-important questions, and even to meet new people.

For more information on the Ontario Universities’ Fair, visit www.ouf.ca. Ready to apply? Here are some tips on Applying to Ontario Universities.

Infographic by Yokoland. Answers "What qualities were very or somewhat important when you were deciding which undergraduate college to attend?" in survey by the NewYork Times (click to view).

Infographic by Yokoland. Answers “What qualities were very or somewhat important when you were deciding which undergraduate college to attend?” in survey by the New York Times (click to view).

Big decisions often come down to the smallest details. As you grew from a baby to a toddler to a pre-teen, your parents increasingly gave you more freedom to make your own choices. While you may not have noticed it, you’ve been gaining valuable experience in making tough decisions. Now it’s time to make an essential lifetime decision – what post-secondary school to attend. You’re numb from the multitude of choices available. Some of them have sent current students to showcase (through creative, sometimes quirky presentations) how cool it is to go their school; others have sent you beautifully-designed catalogues with pictures of architecturally sound and well-preserved buildings older than both your parents combined, boasting pictures of perfect college students sitting on the greenest grass you’ve ever seen (Photoshop?), happily working on assignments with expensive laptops, soaking up the summer sun.

You try to block out the persuasion techniques and consider all angles as you solve this choice paralysis and make a well-rounded decision. Unlike that car or cool phone, your college degree has no return policy upon completion. It’s important to step back and take a calm look before jumping in. When you do, make sure you’re covering aspects that matter to you too, not just what you’ve been told to look for in a school (brochures aren’t everything). Here are two Ds you should consider:

Your Desire

You love clothes, flashing lights and the runaway. For as long as you can remember, you’ve always wanted to work in the fashion industry. Or maybe you see yourself as a life saver; always looking to help people, you’ve seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and you’re convinced that the life of a medical professional is your calling. As the saying goes, “if you do what you love you’ll never work another day in your life.” This doesn’t simply mean that you should sit around pondering how to turn your NASCAR obsession into a money-making idea; it’s important to be realistic as well. Remember, once you do something for a living, it changes everything; you’re no longer doing it for pleasure, you’re now doing it to put food on the table. You’ll probably still enjoy it, possibly even love it, but it will likely be more demanding because of the responsibilities that go with it. You’ll have to meet the expectations of clients, bosses and coworkers, and slowly but surely, your obsession may start taking on the features of hard work. Look at Mark Zuckerberg for an extreme example. He started Facebook as a hobby; soon after, it became his job (and certainly pays well), but now, after taking the company public, he’s responsible for keeping multitudes of shareholders, the great majority of whom he doesn’t know personally, happy. Find the balance that works for you.

Industry Demand

20 years ago, there were no job postings for Social Media Manager, Application Developer, or Cloud Computing expert, but head to LinkedIn today. They’re EVERYWHERE. At the current speed of technological advancement, the jobs that will become available in the next 20 years will certainly be something most current students are not prepared for.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the demand for jobs such as Insurance Underwriter, Reporter, Database Administrator, Farmer, and Postal Service Clerk is decreasing. However, regional demand is a great way to gauge the potential return on your educational investment. According to the Globe and Mail, in Canada today, there is a shortage of skilled workers in particular regions for jobs including Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanics, Biologists, Plumbers, Physiotherapists and Welders. These occupations command higher than average income levels, which makes them quite attractive when you’re preparing to save money by skimping on shoelaces for the next four years.

If you have a strong sense of knowledge of your own desire as well as the demand levels in your desired industry, it should not be a challenge to decide who offers the required courses. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous when making such a big decision, but before settling into a certain degree option, make sure you fully understand the importance of the first two Ds.

Image by uniinnsbruck, Flickr

Image by uniinnsbruck, Flickr

Getting to know your professor is a great way to distinguish yourself among the crowd and demonstrate that you are keen and interested in his or her class. While the prospect of introducing yourself to a professor might seem uncomfortable at first, the academic relationship you build with your instructor will help you to adjust to university and ultimately feel more comfortable throughout your degree.

Introduce yourself
An easy way to catch your professor alone is to show up during their office hours. This time is scheduled for the purpose of meeting with students – take the opportunity! If you are nervous, simply prepare some questions beforehand. Your professor will likely offer some valuable advice on how you can improve your work or research techniques.

Go to class
If you have introduced yourself to your professor in office hours, he or she will be able to recognize you, and it’s usually a good thing if your professor can put a face to the name of the student whose paper he or she is marking. Attending and participating in class demonstrates that you are invested in the course. It’s best to establish your reputation with a professor early on – sit near the front and be attentive, and in classes where participation is encouraged, try to contribute to the discussion at hand.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Approaching a professor for help is nothing to be ashamed of. They tend to enjoy discussing class material and will notice that you are making the effort to understand, even if you are convinced that your question is stupid or obvious. If you performed poorly on a test or assignment, taking the time to consult the person who grades your work shows initiative, and can help you to improve the next time. If you have fallen behind in class, need extra time for an assignment, missed out on lectures, or feel overwhelmed, it is always better to be honest and proactive about it. Set up an appointment with the professor to discuss your options, the earlier the better. When the alternative is to cross your fingers and sail into your final by the seat of your pants, you’ll find that asking for help is far more effective.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
If you are considering graduate school in the professor’s area of expertise, you may benefit from the advice of someone who works in the academic field. You might want to ask the professor for a letter of recommendation in the future – something that would undoubtedly be easier to obtain if you have already established a positive relationship with your professor.

Ultimately, getting to know your professors can help you to stay motivated in your work and dispel any fears about approaching them with a problem too late in the semester. Taking advantage of office hours allows you not only to discuss course matters but also to learn more about each other as individuals – the academic interests you might share, your future career plans – and give you valuable advice and support during your semester.

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

Image by CollegeDegrees360, Flickr

If you ever wish to forewarn your professor of an absence from class, clarify a question about an assignment, or arrange an appointment to discuss lecture material, you will need to send your professor an e-mail. Don’t worry! As long as you write in a concise manner, state your purpose clearly, and sign off politely, you can’t go wrong.

1. Make sure you are sending the email from your academic e-mail account.
Your school address has a better chance of allowing your professor to identify you and avoiding spam filters than your Hotmail account from the sixth grade.

2. Use a concise but informative subject line.
Include the title or course code of your class, and let the professor know what you are going to talk about in the e-mail. Subject lines like “HIST201 Question about research sources for project” or “BIOL211 Absence next week” should suffice.

3. Read the course syllabus.
Read the material your professor provided you with at the beginning of the course carefully. The syllabus might include specific guidelines for e-mail etiquette – rules regarding content may restrict the length of your e-mail. Also, the answer to the question you plan on asking might already be in the syllabus, which would save both time and effort on your part as well as that of your professor.

4. Address your professor formally, introduce yourself briefly, and try to be as specific and to-the-point as you possibly can.
“Dear Professor [Last Name],
I hope you are well. My name is [Your Name], and I am a student in your [Name of class] class…”

Professors get a lot of e-mails every day, and it can be frustrating to comb through a long-winded ramble to decipher what a student is actually trying to say. In the content of your e-mail, only give as much information as is absolutely relevant to the situation. If your e-mail is longer than four or five lines, you may want to request an appointment to further discuss your situation with them in person.

5. Be polite and use formal language.
Avoid slang, casual language, or contractions. At the end of your e-mail, thank your professor for his or her time and consideration, and sign your full name.
“Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Your Name”