How To Get on Your Professor’s Good Side

By: Julian Patterson

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Unfortunately we don’t live in a world where everybody is uber intelligent and gets straight A’s. Some people have to work the system to get a leg up. Here are few simple things you can do to show your professor you want the A.

Show up to class on time.

It’s hard to find motivation to show up to class sometimes—too tired, too far, poor weather conditions, agonizingly boring lecture material, etc. However, getting to class on time is one of the simplest ways to demonstrate that you care about the class and are serious about doing well. Punctuality shows your professor that you value and respect their time, which could positively influence your final grade come the end of the semester.

Contribute early and often.

Students who show up to class having completed all the reading and other various assignments are few and far between. That means the majority of us are in the same boat when we take our seats in the classroom: woefully unprepared, having only skimmed over a fraction of the material the night before or the morning of. The key to making it look like you are prepared is to contribute early and often. Make broad and open-ended statements pertaining to the topic of conversation. Perhaps choose a passage or quote from the textbook to discuss. Or maybe even offer some anecdotal evidence to support your statements. This demonstrates you put in work outside of the classroom, which your professor will keep in mind when appraising your work.

Make eye contact.

More often than not, the lecture hall or classroom is filled with disengaged students, who are busy napping or planning their next nap. Thus, making eye contact is a great way to let your professor know you are present and engaged in the class. However, doing so can also lead you into murky waters, as there is a chance that you may be called upon to comment or share your opinion on something you didn’t read, which could make you look like a total idiot if you aren’t a smooth talker.

Limit phone use.

We all have the urge to whip out the phone when class gets unbearable. Texting, BBMing, tweeting, Facebook stalking, etc. are all great ways to kill time. However, college professors frown upon blatant use of your mobile device. Nothing shows disinterest more than a student zoned out in the back of the classroom mindlessly scrolling through his or her phone. It’s rude and attracts attention in a bad way. At the end of the semester you don’t want your professor to know you as the douche bag know-it-all, who had nothing better to do than play on his or her phone all class.

Don’t check the time.

When your professor is looking in your general direction, you should refrain from looking at the your watch or the clock behind you. By doing so, you are basically saying, “this class is brutal and I can’t wait to sprint out the door.” It’s difficult to sit in your seat without an idea of how much time is left in class, so make sure you check the clock when the professor is writing on the board, directly addressing another student, or looking in the opposite direction. Be careful though, because if you get caught, the professor could punish the whole class by “accidentally” going over the allotted lecture time.

See your professor outside of class.

This is always easier said than done. But if done correctly, it can pay huge dividends. It does not have to be a regular occurrence—once, maybe twice will do the trick. The point is to show your face and develop a rapport with your professor. By doing this, you show that you are working relatively hard, you have an invested interest in the class, and you want to do well. Also, be sure to follow up with an email if you really want to make an impression. Your professor will take note and be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt when grading your work. A little bit of extra effort can go a long way.

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