Entering university can be a daunting adventure, one that many embark on right after high school. This means it’s possible a person may slip back into some nonchalant habits they had in high school. But university is a different ballgame kids, and it’s important to make a good impression while you’re here.
Don’t worry though because it’s actually quite easy to do so.
Firstly, make sure to introduce yourself within the first few classes. Just as you would in any other situation, introducing yourself is a common courtesy especially considering you’ll be spending a significant amount of time together during the term. Take it a step further by also making an effort to say “hello’ and “goodbye” to your professor.
Next, try not to sit at the back of the classroom. It isn’t necessary to sit at the very front but sitting at the back gives the impression that you don’t want to participate. Professors notice if you are engaged, making eye contact and asking questions, all of which are important and hard to do from the back of the classroom.
It’s also not a bad idea to take advantage of office hours. If you have a question outside of class, instead of emailing, try going to your professor’s office hours to ask the question. Doing so helps to develop a personal connection with your professor and gives you the opportunity to get to know them.
And lastly, write thank you cards. I understand this sounds a bit brown-nosey, but it is a good practice to get into. Not only does this make an impression, but your professor is sure to remember you. Thanking your professor in writing is a considerate way to acknowledge the time and effort they have put into teaching you. Especially if you enjoyed their class, it is a nice way to let them know. Plus, nobody writes thank you cards anymore, and it is a form of etiquette that needs to be brought back.
You may be wondering why making a good impression in university is that necessary, but university is not just going to school, it’s networking. As with anything else in the world, it is all about who you know.
Making a good impression at university, and specifically on your professors, creates connections that can be beneficially in the future. Professors can provide references for jobs and school applications.
They can offer recommendations for job placements, internships or research projects. If they have seen that you are engaged and a hard worker, they may be inclined to recommend you to others or vis versa.
Apart from a professional capacity, making a good impression is also helpful in your education. A professor is more apt to give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to assignments. For example, say you’ve made few little mistakes on an assignment like grammar or structure, a professor would be less likely doc you marks because they have seen that you are someone who cares about their education and it was probably just an oversight on your part.
And sometimes you need a professor in your corner. If you are in a crunch or feeling overwhelmed, a professor that you have made a good impression on will likely work with you to resolve an issue. This could be in the form of an extension or, as was my case, bypassing the bureaucracy to take an exam on a different day.
Once I was sick on the morning of a mid-term and I had to email my professor to say I wouldn’t be able to make it. Normally she required a doctor’s note to excuse a student from an exam, but she told me not to worry about it because she knew that I wasn’t the kind of student to try and skip. Another time, I asked my professor if I could take my final on a different day because it was the same day as the final for my toughest subject. He said that it was fine and gave me permission to take the exam on a different day even though I didn’t have a technical conflict that prevented me from taking the exam on that scheduled day.
Long story short, making a good impression is a smart move. University isn’t high school. University can play a big role in your future so do what you to set yourself up well.