In my undergraduate years, I have forged a rather close relationship with some of my professors including the head of school – they were supportive as I did struggled with mental-health issues and were also open to interesting academic discussion as equals.

Before I returned to my home country, they have offered to be my reference for both academic and industry prospects – including for reasons related to graduate admissions. After seven weeks of searching, I have now found a research role in the area of air-traffic modelling for UAVs at a new research institute within a globally ranked top-fifteen university while working alongside with another professor at another university.

While I am unsure whether they were rang up, I would, however, like to continue keeping in touch with them as I do visit the country of my alma mater every few weeks while also being aware of my plans to pursue postgraduate studies at my alma mater. Do professors empirically appreciate their former students keeping them in the loop of their career progress? Or would I only come across as being “just another student” unless I have produced stellar research work?

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    Anecdotal but I've kept in touch with a few academics from my undergrad and Master's and they always seem happy to hear from me. If you send a short, friendly email every now and again I don't think anyone could object to that.
    – astronat
    Mar 25, 2018 at 18:42
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    At the university that I am a student of professors are interested in the success of their students. If their students are being successful in their careers by applying techniques and principles which the students learn from their classes. Personally, I notified my statistics professor that I recently became second author of a scientific biophysics article published in a journal, and I mentioned how I used and perfected the exploratory data analysis techniques that he taught me in applied bioinformatics. Excitedly, He presented my publication to his class the next hour!!
    – xyz123
    Mar 25, 2018 at 21:17
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    Your accomplishment is amazing. There are more ways to be successful than in academia.
    – xyz123
    Mar 25, 2018 at 21:19
  • @xyz123 Thank you. While I still do feel strongly about underachieving due to factors outside of my control (most of my friends are Rhodes, Fulbright or even knight hennessy scholars), I consider myself extremely fortunate still and believe I can mitigate previous "sins" by moving forward and making best use of the opportunities now. Mar 27, 2018 at 9:45
  • I still feel like you do. One of my friends told me that everybody has their own path in life, as I have not succeeded in the same way that my friends have and did not make any accomplishments for quite some time. I still need to remind myself of what he told me. It kind of stings that I'm giving a research presentation at a university that rejected me for a PhD after interviewing me. I'm just a sojourner. There's people like you.
    – xyz123
    Mar 27, 2018 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


Do professors empirically appreciate their former students keeping them in the loop of their career progress?

You know your professor's personalities better than anyone here on SE. If they seemed cold and remote to you while you worked with them, then you probably won't gain much by keeping in touch. But it seems you have 'a rather a close relationship' with them. If that is the case, then I would say: Yes, get in contact with them.

Understand, you aren't just 'keeping in touch'. What you are actually doing is professional networking. If these professors work in your field, or have any similarities, then it is to your advantage to stay in touch with people in your field. At some point, you may find that they can help you with future employment. Or perhaps as your own career advances, they will come to you for help in something. This is part of the 'game' of being successful in the professional world.

Tip: If you haven't seen these professors in a while, ask if you can stop by. Just try to have lunch together. Tell them about your new role. If you learn that someone did help you by being a reference, see to it to send that person a Thank You card. It's all part of the networking game.

Lastly, Now you haven't tagged what country your are in. If it is the case that in your particular country, in your particular culture/society, people don't network like this, then ignore my answer.

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    Actually, even some "remote" professors are just reserved. My advisor was Czech and very proper. Were he still alive, I'd actually like to go back and thank him as I've done for others. I'm pretty sure he would like to know of my successes.
    – Buffy
    Aug 22, 2018 at 21:23

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