You walk up to that auditorium on the first day of classes and look around the room — 200 students are filing in and grabbing the many seats available. Everyone around you likely has the same thought, “How am I ever going to stand out among all of these other students?”
It’s no secret that lectures can be extremely daunting. Whether the class has 50, 100, or 400 students, standing out and being known by your professors is very beneficial. You never know when you may need that extra bit of help or even a few extra points at the end of the semester to turn that A- into an A. Follow this advice to help ensure you stand out from the crowd:
Taking time to introduce yourself and have a genuine conversation with your professor is a great way to stand out from the sea of potentially hundreds of students your teacher sees. But even if you have a smaller class of 30 students, for example, this tip still applies. Your professor will notice that extra effort you made along the way, as easy as simply introducing yourself may seem. It pays off to have had even that very small personal interaction.
It’s not shocking to hear that getting to class on time is essential in school. But if your class begins at 2:00 p.m., you may want to aim closer to 1:50 p.m. as your arrival time, as it’s recommended to show up at least a few minutes early to make sure you can get seated and prepared for the lecture. Flinging open the doors 10 minutes into a lecture is a great way to get some attention — but not in a good way! By being timely, your professor will likely take note and be appreciative. Moreover, you can always take advantage of those extra few minutes to say hello to your professor and even ask any thoughtful questions you may have about the class material.
Put down your phone and leave excessive side chats at the front door. School is a time to learn and you should treat it as such. Approach your lecture class as you would a job — be respectful, do not get distracted, and follow the deadlines and policies set by your teacher. If you take this approach in school, and particularly go that extra mile, you are more likely to stand out from the crowd and may even land yourself future job or internship opportunities because of your rapport with that professor. After all, instructors tend to have important connections!
If your professor is one to pose questions or encourage open discussion in the lecture, always make the effort to put your hand in the air and contribute something valuable to the discussion. Not only will this allow your professor to get to know and understand your thought process, but it will also aid in making your lecture experience so much better. Interacting with others and the class material are great ways to learn and make sure the topics stick in your brain for the long term. It can also help break down any nerves or barriers you have about speaking in front of large groups!
Attend office hours
Many professors offer office hours outside the classroom for students to come in and ask questions, discuss the coursework, and even just chat with the professor. Unfortunately, many students overlook this valuable time to connect with their professor; do not be that student! Instead, take advantage of the opportunity to get to know the person who is in charge of your class, the tests, and ultimately, your final grade. Do not be that student who only shows up to the final office hour of the year, pleading for extra points because you fell short of that solid B.
Jenny Modlisz is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.