Appropriate Relationships Between Professors & Adult Students

There is no room between a college professor and a student, to have anything more than a relationship that involves friendship!

A relationship warrants the dialogue and common element through a conversation between two people. It is felt that is a learning relationship through this dialogue and the guidance of the professor can grow into a special relationship between a young adult.

Respectful Relationship

By the professor igniting curiosity and subtly encouraging students to find answers to things, creates a wonderful relationship between the learned adult and the student.

  • Are there other common elements that would entice the professor to share time outside of the campus?
  • What would the shared time include?
  • Would meeting for coffee be part of the outside schema?

It is probably better to keep the respectful relationship, merely as one that ties into the academic arena.

Share Common Interests

On the other hand, an adult student who has more in common with the professor might develop a student-teacher relationship into a friendship, with neither one being wary as to the appropriateness of the relationship.

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Perhaps the professor is a mother herself, who returned to work, when her children were grown. The adult learner, returning to class herself, might be able to relate to that and converse about the decision of that learner, going back to school. The professor might offer her personal story, and then a shared philosophy might ensue into something more than just an academic one.

If they are about the same age, then the conversation might change into something else that they might have in common, whether it start with a discussion about the Jazz program at the college or the Art expedition.

These are examples which are relationship-starters as one might continue to share the time that one of them went to New York, to a jazz club, etc. They might even plan together to meet at a Tea Room, during the holidays, something which both parties would be accustomed to because there is no age difference.

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Should friendships develop between college professors and students?

It depends on the personality and definitely the age of the student and the commonality of both of them.

A vast oasis might be in front of them with all the topics that can be discussed, from movies to music that a younger student might never be able to relate to.

Lifestyle and life skills can be shared, but it is the experience of both the professor and student that makes the common ground in which they can both relate to, without the hierarchy that can stand in the way.


Grow, learn, converse, and be enriched, whether it be through the professor’s academic experience or life experience; the professor should only give an indication that he or she wants to change the relationship from a teacher-student scenario to one of friendship, and nothing more!