10 Ways to Impress Your College Instructors

These tips can also make your college experience more rewarding

advice for college students, photo of students in class

If you are in college or career school, you will find that it’s a lot different from high school. In college or career school, you will have more independence. You will have the freedom to make your own decisions. Making the most out of your newfound independence is important! Remember, you are starting on the path that ultimately leads you into your career.

For this reason, you want to be sure that you are making a good impression on those around you. A good place to start is with your teachers. If going to college is like your job, then your instructor is like your boss. Having a good relationship with your instructors can have many benefits, such as:

  • Inspiring you to work harder and learn more
  • Improving your own enjoyment of the class
  • Giving you experience in interacting with older, more experienced professionals
  • Leading to a possible job recommendation in the future

Below is a list of 10 ways to make a good impression. By following these tips, you will demonstrate that you are ready for the independence and responsibility that college brings.

1. Show up to class a few minutes early
Professors and instructors have a lot of material to get through in a class period, so they need to get the class started on time. Show up a few minutes early, sit down quietly, and show that you are ready to learn. Getting there late communicates that you don’t care, and its puts the teacher in a rush to get through all of the material.

2. Smile, say hello, and make eye contact on your way in
As you enter the classroom, be sure to greet your instructor with a smile and make eye contact. If it’s the first day of class, you might want to shake hands and introduce yourself. Greeting your teacher in this way will set you apart from the students who walk in staring at their phones and ignoring the teacher.

3. Participate in class
Class participation is a great way to show the instructor that you are engaged in the classroom material. If you are shy or nervous about answering questions, then try asking questions instead. Ask the teacher about material you don’t understand, or ask a follow-up question to something they are currently teaching. Your teachers want to know that students are actively thinking about the course material. Show them that you are!

4. Get extra help if you need it
Teachers are your partners in learning. They do not want to give out D’s or F’s. They want their students to earn A’s and B’s! If you are having trouble with the course material, stay after class and ask for extra help. There may be tutoring options, office hours, or other help available. You don’t have to be the smartest student in the class to impress the teacher—showing your teacher that you care enough to ask for help will earn you respect.

5. Be courteous and quiet
Classrooms can be noisy places. Keep in mind that there is one teacher trying to teach important material to a whole classroom full of students. Give the instructor a break by being quiet and respectful during class. Make sure you show respect not only to the instructor, but also to your classmates. No laughing at others, bullying, or taunting.

6. Sit near the front
If you have a choice of seating, always choose a seat near the front of the class. This helps the instructor know that you want to learn. It also helps you to focus on the teacher and avoid the distractions happening in the rest of the classroom.

7. Dress respectfully
If your school has a dress code, be sure to adhere to it. Showing up to school in sloppy clothes or overly revealing clothes makes it look like you are not serious about your learning. Dress in a way that shows you respect your school.

8. Pay attention throughout the class
Teachers work hard to prepare course material that will be interesting and informative. Show your teachers that you respect their dedication by paying attention in class. Keep your eyes on the teacher while they are talking and stay focused on whatever task you are supposed to be doing. And by all means, stay off your phones!

9. Contact the teacher if you’ve missed something
If you have to miss class, contact the instructor ahead of time and ask them if there is any work you can do to make it up. This lets the teacher know that you didn’t intentionally skip class and that you want to keep up with the work.

10. Do your work carefully
Teachers have to look at a lot of homework. Do them a favor by doing your work carefully. Prepare it neatly, double-check it for mistakes, and submit it on time. Completing your work on time shows the instructor that you care about the course.

Bonus tip:

Thank your instructor on the way out

The end of a class usually means a lot of people filing out of the room. If you happen to catch your instructor’s eye, simply smile and say thank you as you leave the room. It makes teachers feel good to know that you appreciated the class.

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