5 Ways to Get on Your Professor’s Good Side

Looking to make a good impression this year so you can score that “A”? Read these tips on how you can become the teacher’s pet.

Get there early: Arrive 5  minutes early. This is not only a sign of responsibility, but a sign of respect, too. At the very least, never be late to class. Not only is it embarrassing, but the most important material from your professor’s lesson is generally given at the beginning.

Never miss a class: A college student that shows up to every class is a rare gem. Teachers get paid whether you show up to class or not, but they like to see that you’re there to learn and not just to pass. If you do miss class, always let the professor know why, and ask how you can make up for time missed. Your teacher will appreciate that you’re taking initiative  to stay on top of the course material.

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New York Schools Battle Low Attendance Rates

Small class sizes, new textbooks, effective teachers and monetary funding are all among the needs to make public schools successful, but none of it matters if students aren’t showing up. This was the case in New York according to recent studies showing evidence of decreasing attendance at public schools. In 1995, 1 in 9 elementary school students were absent every day. Recent efforts focused on attendance caused that number to drop to 1 in 15 in 2011.

To combat the epidemic of absenteeism, a multitude of creative efforts have been implemented by New York City officials. Students receive automated wake up calls from celebrities, such as Magic Johnson, reminding them to make it to school. Other incentives include receiving prizes for consistent attendance.

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Northern Arizona University Installs Attendance Sensors

Proximity Card: Image Via

Proximity Card: Image Via

Say goodbye to roll call. Next fall, students at Northern Arizona University will be having their attendance tallied up electronically.

To ensure that more students make it to class, the college is installing an electronic system that detects students’ ID cards as they enter the classroom. The university was granted $75,000 in federal stimulus money to pay for the sensors. To check on their students’ attendance, teachers can receive electronic reports.

Karen Pugliesi, Vice Provost for academic affairs, said the electronic sensors will improve attendance, and attendance is key to better academic performance.

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High School Senior in Maryland Graduates with Perfect Attendance

Stefanie Zaner (right) has never missed a day of school, attending all 2,340 days of classes in the past 13 years.

Stefanie Zaner (right) has never missed a day of school, attending all 2,340 days of classes in the past 13 years.

Stefanie Zaner is not your typical high school senior. She has never, not even once, missed a day of school. She has made it through 2,340 straight days of public school in Darnestown, Maryland. That’s 180 days a year for 13 years and zero absences.

Zaner’s accomplishment is highly unusual: public schools are a cesspool for germs; families take vacations; seniors need to visit colleges. To find someone who has never missed a single day, and earned straight As for the past nine years, is a very rare thing indeed. In fact, in an informal study of 20 public school systems, there was only one other senior who could boast the same accomplishment. Read the rest of this entry »

7 Ways to Succeed on the First Day of Class

college classroomThe first day of class is not big deal, right? Wrong! Many students blow off this day and don’t take it seriously—and that’s a mistake. Professors and other college instructors spend the first day of class setting the tone for the class and going over the important information you need to do well in the class.

It’s also important to take the first day seriously because that helps you get into the right mindset for the rest of the semester. It’s kind of like going on a diet. If you don’t take it seriously the first day, how are you going to get into the habit of eating right and exercising more? Which doesn’t mean that diets don’t fail—and that your classroom experience won’t be a failure—but neither diet nor a college class is likely to go very well if you don’t get into the habit right away of taking it seriously.

Here’s how to succeed on your first day of class:

  1. Be there. There’s no way around this. If you’re not there, you’ll miss key information. And believe me, as a former professor, I knew who wasn’t there– and this made a terrible first impression! Nothing says, “I don’t intend to take your class seriously” more than not showing up on day one. So if circumstances dictate that you can’t be there on day one (and sometimes they do) be sure to call your professor ASAP, apologize, and arrange to stop by his or her office to get the syllabus and to chat about what you missed.
  2. Pay attention to the course expectations. The purpose of the first day is to let you know what’s expected of you in the class. The teacher will probably give you a syllabus and go over it. Knowing what’s expected of you is necessary before you can succeed—so be sure you know.
  3. Ask questions. If something that the syllabus or the professor says about the course expectations are unclear, ask questions. Don’t be shy—this is information you need to know.
  4. Be friendly. Say hi to the professor and your fellow students. I’m not kidding. Help create a pleasant classroom atmosphere from day one by being nice.
  5. Participate in whatever is asked of you. Perhaps the teacher will include an ice breaking exercise, or ask the students some questions. Do what you’re supposed to do, or you risk making a bad impression.
  6. Get a hold of required materials immediately. On the first day class, you’ll find out which books and other materials you need. Don’t procrastinate. Take care of getting what you need now before the semester becomes very busy.
  7. Do your homework. Is there a homework or reading assignment due soon? Even if it’s not due the first night, do it as soon as you can. This is a fantastic way of getting off to a good start, and also freeing up time later when you’re more busy.

College Students: Come to Class, Every Day!

Students, need some advice about how to do well in school? Here’s the most basic advice I can give you, which many students choose to ignore: come to class! Come to class every single day, unless you are truly ill (not just a cold) or you have a serious emergency that takes you away from campus. If you follow this simple attendance rule- and pay attention in class, of course- you’re going to do pretty well in school. If not, you’re in trouble.

It’s so tempting not to go to class. I know. I used to be a student, too. It feels exhilarating to be out of high school and to be able to do whatever you want. And there are so many tempting things you can do that are more fun than stepping into that classroom- especially if it’s a lousy class. So what’s the harm in sleeping in, or playing video games, or using that time to study for a test later in the afternoon?

Trust me. I taught college for 14 years. You cannot do well in school—at least not consistently—if you don’t go to all or most of the time, no matter how good a reason you have for staying away.

Sure, you can get notes from someone else, right? Well, yes, but that’s no substitute, even if the fellow student who’s helping you out is a good note taker. It’s really not. You need to be able to go and listen and catch everything that’s said, or the material won’t make as much sense to you.

It’s also important to go to class everyday to make sure you understand how all the material fits together. Professors do not create class periods as stand-alone sessions that make perfect sense if you’ve never attended before and never attend again. Class sessions are part of a series of class sessions, and they all relate to one another. Material in one class session may not make sense if you’ve missed what came before it.

And when it comes to the exam, you’ll be expected to understand how it all fits together. If you just come some of the time, and perhaps have notes from days that you missed, you’ll know lots of little bits of information, but you might not be able to explain the big picture.

So give it a try. Come to class every day, listen, and take good notes. I bet your grades will go up. When I was a student, and I made a commitment to come to class almost every time, I went from decent grades to straight As. For real. Come to class, and see what happens.


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