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Teachers are valuable resources that students don’t often utilize. They’re not just talking heads at the front of the classroom! Teachers are often interested in getting to know their students better. If students put in the extra effort to reach out, teachers may help them pursue academic interests, may offer up valuable advice and may even end up becoming a mentor!

The teachers that students end up working closely with also become great candidates to write college recommendations. Of course glowing recommendations are a wonderful thing to have, but students are also going to benefit from the opportunities opened up to them by forming relationships with these teachers.

So how does one go about building relationships with his/her teachers?

Start early
Don’t think of relationship-building as something to do just because it will be helpful for college applications! It’s a helpful skill for life, in school and beyond.This means students should start reaching out to their high school teachers as freshmen. It’s as easy as speaking up more in class or asking questions.

Go in and ask questions
By asking for help or just posing questions, students are showing that they care about their grades and are interested enough in the subject matter to inquire further. Teachers respect students who demonstrate the initiative to ask for help or pursue their own curiosity. And the more time students spend with their teachers, the better the teachers will know them.

Discuss college and future plans
Teachers may have advice about which colleges have good programs for students to look in to based on their interests and strengths. Teachers have insight into their respective fields and an understanding of the opportunities available after high school. Additionaly, bringing up college can open up an opportunity to ask for college recommendations in the future.

Get involved
Teachers often enjoy helping students get more involved, especially if that student is actively seeking out more opportunities to pursue an academic interest. Teachers can point students towards internships, camps, clubs, competitions, scholarships and so much more.

Students should also consider asking their teachers to get involved in activities. Does the new robotics club need someone to oversee it? Ask a science teacher – one that the student knows well or would like to get to know better. It’s likely the teacher will be excited to work with students who share his/her interests.

Strong relationships with teachers help students get the most out of their high school career as well as help them towards the next step: college.

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