What’s the best way to approach a professor?

Professors hold office hours weekly, and welcome students. You may want to contact the professor beforehand to see if making an appointment is necessary (there is an online list of contact information for the faculty, including office hours). Many students are intimidated by the idea of approaching a professor. Remember that you must be proactive in establishing a relationship with a faculty member; the faculty member most likely does not have time to seek you out, and has many other students. Most faculty members, however, tell us that they are disappointed that more students don’t visit them during office hours and that they would welcome talking to undergrads, so if you do make the effort, you will probably be met with enthusiasm by the faculty member.

When you do meet with him or her, make sure you are prepared for the meeting – discuss what you want to research, why you want to work with the professor, or what advice you are soliciting and for what purpose. If you need some guidance on approaching a professor, you can talk to a staff member of the Undergraduate Program Office, particularly a CA.