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Why Should I Get to Know a Faculty Member?

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Stanford has amazing faculty who draw students from all over the world. Faculty can introduce you to new ideas, get you involved in research, and open doors for you that you never would have discovered on your own. The best way to make the most of your university education is to form close connections with faculty.

Reasons to get to know a faculty member

Faculty can help you explore your interests

Ever take a fantastic class and want to learn more about the subject? Curious about a particular major and want to know if it's the right fit for you? Faculty can be great people to talk to about your developing intellectual interests. They can suggest classes you don't want to miss, books or articles you may want to read, and other professors you ought to meet. They can also tell you more about their department and the major, and how that major trains you to look at the world.

Faculty can get you started in research

Faculty want to get students involved in their research. It's a field they are excited about, and they want to pass on that excitement to the next generation. And faculty can also guide you should you decide you want to embark upon a research project of your own. Remember that if you are considering writing an honors thesis, or getting funding for your independent research project, you'll need a faculty mentor to sponsor you. If you are interested in doing research during your time at Stanford, your first goal should be to identify the faculty on this campus who are working on topics that intrigue you.

Faculty can give you advice on your future path

Thinking about applying to graduate school? Not sure what careers you might be able to pursue with your chosen major? Faculty can give you excellent advice on your options after you graduate. Don't be shy about asking your instructors about their own career path and how they got to where they are. And if you are considering Ph.D. programs, faculty can give you the inside scoop on what programs are the best fit for your interests, and what schools are looking for in a strong candidate.

Faculty can write you letters of recommendation

If you are thinking of applying to scholarships, coterms, graduate schools, or even certain kinds of jobs, you may need a recommendation letter from a faculty member. The strongest letters come from people who have known you a long time, so it's worth building your relationships early on and maintaining them long afterwards!

Faculty can be excellent mentors

Remember that your professors all went through college themselves at some point, and survived and came out the other side. No matter how successful they seem now, they probably had their fair share of setbacks along the way. Talking to your faculty members can offer you a broader perspective on Stanford and on your education.

Keep in Mind...

Tip: As you get to know your instructors at Stanford, keep in mind one fundamental piece of etiquette. In email or in person, address a faculty member as Professor and use appropriate tone and language, until you are invited to do otherwise.

Ready to Learn More?

Head on over to our guide on Connecting with Faculty for tips on how to get started!

See Also

Return to the Advising Student Handbook