Large universities are often renowned for school spirit and epic turnouts at football games and tailgate parties, but when it comes to the classroom, this “large”-ness doesn’t always translate well. Students at big universities often fight to get noticed in classes with more than 100 students.
“So what?” you might say—but knowing your professor can be crucial in college. Being on personal terms with an instructor can help when it comes to coursework, understanding concepts, and even your grade.
Think of it this way: Two students are on the bubble between a C+ and a B-. If you were a professor, wouldn’t you be more inclined to give the “better” grade to the student you know over the student who’s just another body in class?
Fortunately, if you haven’t yet been noticed in large lecture classes, there are ways to draw good attention to yourself.
1. Show up in the “Splash Zone”
Many students see large lecture classes as skippable because the professor often doesn’t take roll or even notice when a student fails to show up. However, if you sit up front and participate (answering or asking questions), the professor will take notice.
2. Attend the Professor’s Office Hours
They have them for a reason. Even if you don’t have any questions, it’s always a good idea to stop by and say hello. Introduce yourself so the professor can put a name to a face. In a Niche survey of more than 800 users, 27 percent said they prefer face-to-face communication with professors, while 69 percent preferred email. There’s no harm in doing both when it comes to asking questions and getting noticed.
3. Do the Work and the Readings
The professor may notice you’re coming to class and stopping by for office hours, but if you don’t do the work and it’s noticeable (like when he or she asks you a question and you don’t know the answer), then you may be getting remembered for the wrong reasons.
4. Go to Suggested Events or Lectures
Professors will often advertise for other campus events and suggest students take advantage of these opportunities for further enlightenment on the subject they are teaching. Do it! If the professor sees you there, that scores you some major notice points (and maybe even some bonus points when it comes to the final grade).
5. Take Notes, But Not Necessarily on Your Laptop
Never underestimate the power of the written word—as in the literal written word. Professors often hate when students bring laptops because they don’t know what their students are doing behind the laptop screen (Facebook? Twitter? An incriminating doodle of said professor?). So leave your laptop at home and write down notes so the professor can see your face while you write.
Most Niche users prefer writing notes in class. In a survey of more than 800 users, 81 percent reported recording notes on paper as their favorite note-taking method.
The Bottom Line
You may go to a large university or college with thousands of students roaming about campus, but how large your campus feels is up to you. There are ways to develop relationships with professors in classes to get a one-on-one feel you might find at a small liberal arts college. You just have to know how to stand out and nurture these connections.