5 Ways to Impress Your Professor

Jacquelyn White is an Ithaca College graduate and freelance writer. She currently curates and runs Sexual Healing, her blog about female sexuality and pelvic pain. Her previous essay publications include “Portraits of Mata Hari: The Creation of an Oriental Identity,” “The Land of Ghosts,” and “Killing Venus: The Crisis of Female Sexual Dysfunction in the Western World.” She has also published two short stories: “The Pretender” and “The Mouth of the Sky.”


College can really be rough, to say the least. Between attending classes, working, hanging out with your friends, and studying – keeping up with all your work can seem almost impossible! It always helps to have that little extra edge up on everyone else. How can you accomplish this? Having your professor like you and respect what you have to say in class can really make that difference at the end of the semester if your grade hangs between a B and an A. Here are 5 ways to get your professor to like you:

Greet Your Professor When They Arrive
First off, arrive to class on time – preferably early. Make sure you’re not that chronically late person (there’s always one in every class)! After making yourself comfortable, strike up a conversation with the professor if they arrive early and don’t appear busy. Ask them how their day is going and show a sincere interest in their answer. Of course, make sure you stay away from personal questions unless the professor offers up such information. This adds a warmly professional connection between the two of you, especially a habit out of it.

Show Active Interest
Professors may not mention it or call anyone out for it, but lecturing to a classroom of bored students is a little demoralizing. All of their hard work is being pushed to the side! It’s even worse when students are openly scrolling through Facebook or texting beneath their desks. Be that student that looks engaged and interested in what the professor is saying. This develops a sense of common respect between the two of you.

Participate in Class Discussions
Saying insightful things or asking questions that actually require critical thinking won’t go unnoticed. The whole point of sitting in a classroom is to discuss the material, so professors love it when students actually help them move the conversation forward. Of course, make sure you don’t dominate the discussion or give the professor a list of questions 10 miles long. You’ll just annoy them and your fellow students. Moderation is key here.

Hit Your Assignments Out of the Park
Use your take home assignments and papers as an opportunity to strut your stuff. Throw yourself into them. Honestly, this isn’t just great for getting on your professor’s good side, but also just generally good advice for getting an A. If you don’t understand something on the homework, make sure you let your professor know. For example, circle part of a homework question that you don’t understand and write a note there explaining why. This way your professor can write back a short explanation and they know you didn’t just get lazy and leave the question blank.

Come to Their Office Hours
Stop by their office to discuss the course material, particularly if you have questions. Though an email will do the same trick, it’s not quite as personable. If your professor seems like they really enjoy visitors, drop by and discuss an article you saw recently related to their field. Ask them their thoughts on it.Starting a discussion with themabout the classwork and their personal area of interest is another way of actively participating in the course. Your professor will appreciate the time and effort.

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