Accredited Education

Getting on Your Professor’s Good Side

Your college professor can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The good news is there are things you can do as a student to get on your professor’s good side. Here we’ll explore some techniques for currying favor with your prof.

Professors appreciate students who lean forward attentively in their seats during a lecture and demonstrate that they are engaged in the class. When classes start, try sitting in one of the front three rows of the class instead of choosing a spot in the very back of the class so you can slip out as quickly as possible after the lecture. Maintain eye contact with the instructor unless you’re taking notes. If you must yawn, at least give your professor the courtesy of covering your mouth and yawning as quietly as possible.

Another way of showing your professor you are engaged in class is asking questions when appropriate and responding when he or she asks for feedback from the class. Let’s say your economics professor asks the class, "Can any of you give me an example of how increased demand affects the cost of goods and services if supply remains unchanged?" Think quickly of some examples of what your professor is asking, raise your hand and provide him with that example. Whatever happens, don’t leave your professor hanging. If your professor asks a question and gets no response from his or her class, it’s often very discouraging. He or she starts to believe students aren’t paying attention or are bored in the class. If you come through with an answer every now and then, he or she will learn to count on you as being one of the few engaged in the class. It’s an easy way to get into your professor’s good graces.

One of a professor’s biggest pet peeves is cell phones going off in the middle of class. Make it a habit to put your phone on silent before you go to class. Don’t put your phone on vibrate because your phone can still make quite a bit of noise at that setting, particularly if your phone is sitting on top of a desk and rattling away. Above all, don’t text in class. You may think you’re being subtle, but your professor likely sees what you’re doing and considers it disrespectful.

Last but not least, chat up your professor after class and let him or her know what you found most interesting about the class. Ask questions about upcoming exams and projects and demonstrate that you are committed to doing well in the class. When your professor sees you going out of your way to learn, he or she will often bend over backwards to help you do well.

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