• Staff Writer

Helping Your Student Find the Right Professor

Updated: 6 days ago


Students' academic success rides on an infinite number of variables, and supportive professors are an essential part of the equation. When an instructor isn't the right fit for your student, it may be wise to help them look for different options. Northwest College Support can help your student find the right professor and start the year off right.

Why Does Having the Right Professor Matter?

For anyone who has had impactful or inspiring professors, it's easy to see what a valuable resource they are. Navigating the difficulties of higher education can feel lonely. However, having the right professor provides additional support and allows your student to connect in meaningful ways. Having this kind of support creates a comfortable atmosphere that can nurture learning.

Qualities to Look For in a Professor

A professor's personality usually comes through in how they structure and teach their classes. Typically we know a few personality traits that we mesh well with and others we would rather avoid. These traits are usually good initial indicators of interpersonal compatibility and are worth noting.

Professors Aren't One-Size-Fits-All

Not all professors will be effective instructors for every student. Some professors have been teaching longer than you've been alive and haven't retained much of their empathy. Others may not have much experience but are deeply invested in your student's successful future.

One student may look forward to exhibiting their knowledge by giving a presentation, while another might be more effective with an essay. Note which classes were most enjoyable for your student and those beyond their ability, taking these into consideration.

Teaching Is an Art

Passionate individuals are the most exciting people to learn from. Even lectures about a mound of rocks can be a legitimately good time if the professor loves to share the mysteries behind its history and can get their students excited about the curriculum. Those professors turn to teaching performance art with memorable coursework as content.

Staying Engaged With Their Students

It is generally thought that higher education students are full adults capable of successfully managing their own needs. However, while some students can operate independently, students who have struggled in the past are likely to continue to do so without some assistance.

Instructors know that students' minds will inevitably wander. Some professors don't make it their business to keep students on track. Professors who can inspire and keep students engaged usually understand the human condition and life's quirks. These professors may be a better fit for those with additional considerations, and Northwest College Support can help in the search.

Qualities of a Successful Student

Finding inspiring professors won't guarantee your student's academic success all on its own. Students will work with their team of specialists at Northwest College Support to identify their needs and create actionable strategies to overcome obstacles.

Organize the Chaos

Northwest College Support helps students organize their living space, coursework, and schedule in highly individualized ways that set their students up to succeed. Students who aren't worried about scheduling mishaps or overdue assignments can focus on their goals and submit quality coursework.

Motivation to Succeed

Many students come to Northwest College Support feeling "stuck" at home, wondering what their next 20 years might look like if they fail to launch. When they enter higher education with a team of support to guide them, their anxieties can morph into motivation. We keep the momentum rolling with smaller milestones in between.

How to Choose the Right Professor

Now that we know what a great professor looks like, where do we look to find them? Available resources include various apps and websites focused on reviewing professors and teachers and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

Do Your Research

College inevitably means doing research. However, this kind of research can happen even before enrollment. Learning about potential, current, and future professors will empower you and your student with the knowledge to make informed choices. Do they change or update their curriculum to stay current? Do they avoid certain subjects? Planning ahead will put you in a better position to feel comfortable about your decision to pursue a certain professor.

Peer Reviews and Suggestions

Word of mouth is one of the easiest ways to gather information about a professor or their teaching style. Talk to your classmates, friends, or guidance counselor to see if they have suggestions. They may even have a sibling or friend that could give their opinions.

Apps and websites are also available and well-known on college campuses. Some of the most popular review sites are:

  • RateMyProfessors.com

  • RateMyTeachers.com

  • uLoop.com

If you're still struggling to find information about a teacher, consider the following:

  • Ask to sit in on (audit) one of their classes

  • Find a previous syllabus to gauge their expectations, test methods, and workload

  • Email them directly

Students enrolled at Northwest College Support have various unique and powerful tools at their fingertips to ease their transition into higher education. Each student is matched with their education coach, life coach, and counselor to keep them focused, motivated, and on schedule. They walk to class by themselves, but they certainly don't attend school alone. Northwest College Support offers highly individualized coaching and support to help your student build lasting relationships with impactful educators, find appropriate courses, and ensure reasonable accommodations for those who need them. Call us at (877) 485-2776 to talk to the staff at Northwest College Support to learn how we can help your student thrive at college.

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