You finally got the diploma that you have always wanted. Now it’s time to apply for a new job or graduate school.

On the application, there is a section for academic references and you realize that you do not have a relationship with any of your professors. You went to class, turned your assignments in, and left. You highly doubt that they would remember your name!

You can avoid this situation altogether by leaving a positive impression on your professor. I am not saying you have to become best friends, but it is essential to get along with your college professor.

Should you really put in this amount of effort into creating an academic relationship with your professor? The more effort you put in, the more effort the professor will put into your recommendation. Your future boss or dean of admission would be able to tell if the recommendation is generic or if the professor really knew you.

If you are not sure if your professor has anything positive to say about you, then here are some ways to improve your academic relationship:


In order to participate, you have to attend class. A professor can tell who cares about the curriculum and who stares at the clock just waiting for class to be over with. I am not saying you have to answer every single question, but you can write a list of questions you have and wait until after class for clarification.

Update Your Professor

It is understandable that you may be sick or just need a personal day. Professors do not expect every single student to be perfect and to be able to attend every single class. If you skip class, take the time to meet with the professor and show that you are interested in learning what you missed.

Don’t Be Late

If you are that student that rolls in fifteen minutes after lecture has began, then don’t expect a glowing recommendation to your future boss and expect your professor will back you up on your ‘professionalism’. If you are late once, you probably should not sweat it.

Coming to class on time gives not only gives an impression on your professor, but your classmates as well. After all, your classmate could be your co-worker one day to help you or prevent you from getting a job.

Make an Appointment

Soon as the clock strikes, everyone, including your professor, may be eager to get to their next appointments. If you have one question, then your professor may have the time to answer. However, if your conversation is going to run more than five minutes, have the courtesy to make an appointment.

Know When to Raise Your Hand

Don’t raise your hand soon as you have a question that comes to mind when your professor is in the middle of a lecture. Write down your questions and wait until an appropriate moment or until the end of class to ask the questions.

Where Should You Sit in Class?

You do not have to sit in the front and center but if you do sit in the back because you want to take your phone out, don’t think that your professor is dumb enough to not notice. If you sit in the back, do continue to show your interest in the lecture and pay attention.

If you know you are in good grace with your professor, then remember to ask first! If possible, ask in person, and get the required information. Make sure you give the professor enough time to provide the recommendation and follow up with a thank you.