Want to Make a Good Impression with Your Instructor? Here’s How!

10 tips for showing yourself in your best light

Once you start college or career training, you will soon realize that you are not in high school anymore! Your instructors will treat you like an adult and expect you to act like an adult too. They will want to see that you have learned to take your school work seriously. If you want to get on their good side, take some time to read these tips.

Tip 1: Be a few minutes early
Always show up to class a few minutes early. This way you can be in your seat with your books unpacked when the class is scheduled to start. If you have back-to-back classes that make it hard to get to class on time, explain this to the instructor. This way the instructor knows that you are making every effort to be there. Being early is a great way to show that you respect the instructor’s time.

Tip 2: Make eye contact
When you enter the classroom, be sure to look at your instructor and greet him or her with a smile and say hello. So many students are busy talking to each other or looking at their cell phones that they don’t remember to be polite to the teacher. Set yourself apart from these students by remembering to greet your teacher.

Tip 3: Be an active participant
Instructors notice the students who are actively engaged in the classroom activities. Raise your hand and participate when asked to. Ask thoughtful questions to show the teacher that you are thinking. Class participation is not only for the students who know all the answers. You can participate even if you are unsure of the answers. Asking a question and asking for clarification are ways to show the teacher that you are engaged and trying your best. Remember, your instructors want to help all students learn!

Tip 4: Ask for help when you need it
Professors and instructors are here to teach. They do not want to give out D’s or F’s. They want you to succeed and earn good grades. So always feel free to ask questions when you don’t understand. This is the way you learn!  If you are having serious difficulties in the class, talk to the instructor afterwards and see if there are opportunities for tutoring or extra help.

Tip 5: Behave like your grandmother is watching you
If your high school class got away with the usual pranks and bad behaviors, consider yourself lucky. That won’t be the case in college or career school. It’s time to show your maturity and act like an adult. Always respect your professors. No talking out of turn, no laughing at others, no bullying, no talking back.

Tip 6: Get a seat near the front
If you are allowed to choose where you sit, pick a seat near the front of the classroom. This way you can see and hear better, and the instructor will probably recognize you sooner. Sitting near the front will also help you focus on learning and avoid whatever distractions may be happening in the back of the room.

Tip 7: Watch what you wear
If you are in college or career school, this may be your first time living on your own away from your parents. You can eat whatever you want, do whatever you want, and wear whatever you want. When you attend class, however, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what you are wearing. If you dress like you’re going out to a night club or just crawled out from under a rock, it may not make a great impression on your teacher. Try to look respectable.

Tip 8: Pay attention!
Your instructors have spent a good deal of time preparing for class. Show them respect by paying attention throughout the entire class. The number one rule is to stay off your cell phones. It is very disrespectful to be looking at your phone during class. Other ways to show you are paying attention are to avoid talking, avoid slouching or leaning on your hands, and keep your eyes on the teacher.

Tip 9: Don’t skip class
Unlike high school, where a school counselor might call home if you skip class, there is no one monitoring you in college or career school. It is your responsibility to attend your classes, so take this job seriously. Don’t skip classes! If you do have to miss a class for a valid reason, tell your instructor ahead of time. See if there’s a way to get the lecture notes and to make up the missed work.

Tip 10: Do your work neatly
Remember, your teachers have to review everyone’s homework and tests. Do them a favor and submit your schoolwork neatly. Instructors don’t want to waste their time looking at sloppy handwriting or disorganized papers. Show them respect by taking the time to do it neatly.

We hope these tips set you on your way to a positive relationship with all of your teachers and instructors. College and career school are exciting times of life, and you want to make the most of them!


The Harris School of Business offers career-focused training programs for adult students in the Delaware Valley. With campuses in the Philadelphia area, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, we may have a campus near you!