How to connect with course instructors

Written by Monica Xiao

Your course instructors are your biggest supporters, and they want to see you succeed in your courses. Connecting with them will help you academically and professionally, especially if they work in the field you’re interested in.

Ask questions in class

To build a connection with your instructors, you need to make sure they know who you are and can connect your name to your face. The best way is to talk to them, and the best topic to start with is the course. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you have a question, chances are that your classmates are thinking the same thing.

If you can’t think of any questions on the spot, come up with questions about the text while you’re doing the readings before class and write them down. Or, review your notes from previous lectures to come up with topics. 

Pro tip: Sit at the front of the classroom where your instructor can see you. 

Meet during office hours

When working on assignments, I always reach out to my instructor to review my work from my brainstorming stage to my first draft. It's always a good idea to share your ideas with them to make sure you’re on the right track. Check the syllabus for office hours to meet with your instructors one-on-one.

While not all course instructors will review full drafts prior to submission, many are open to reviewing a small section for feedback. Proactively reaching out will also leave a good impression and help your instructor remember who you are. 


Don’t have time to meet? Send them an email. Always write the course code in the subject and write your full name and student number at the beginning of the body. 

If you’re submitting work via email, I would recommend putting your name in the subject as well. Sometimes the instructor will be very specific about how to name your documents and what to put in the subject line, so always read assignment sheets carefully.

When you’re emailing to ask a specific question, manage your time wisely and make sure to leave at least two full business days for response. This will not only allow you enough time to complete your work, but will also show the instructor you respect their time.

Check out the Start Strong YU website for more resources to help you start the term right.