Thursday, August 12, 2010

Stand Out in a College Class

Alex Weiser

Most classes that freshmen take are very large - somewhere between 100 and 500 students. This is a big difference from senior year in high school where a 30 student class was the norm and everyone knew your name.

Will professors make an effort to learn my name?
No

Does it matter?
Yes

How can you stand out without being the loudmouth of the class?

All college classes come with a required reading list, which generally include a textbook that is something like the 6th edition. There is very little difference between the 5th and the 6th edition in terms of content, yet a huge difference in price.

College professors used to be college students, so they understand the concept of trying to save money in any way possible.

Send an e-mail to your professor before the semester begins inquiring about the edition of the required textbook. Start the e-mail by briefly introducing yourself, and remember to state which class you are taking in the up coming semester. Then say something like, "I noticed you requested we purchase the 6th edition of 'Principles of Microeconomics.' I found the 5th edition online for $50 cheaper, and I'm curious if it is okay for me to purchase the older edition." Make sure to end the e-mail with a sentence that shows you are looking forward to taking the class. Do not be a kiss-up, though.

Remember to follow through
On the first day of class, introduce yourself to your professor again. Wait until the end of class and then approach him to make a brief statement. It is as simple as, "Hello Professor, my name is _____, I e-mailed you about the edition of the textbook. I just wanted to say hello so you could put a face with the name." Your professor will really appreciate this extra effort - not many people have the guts to do this.

What does this simple e-mail and follow-up introduction accomplish?

(1) When your professor is looking over the grade-book at the end of the semester, and you are in between a B+ and an A-, the grade will likely be bumped up

(2) It is the first day of class, and the professor knows your name and face. You have incentive to show up to class every day - you have put some positive pressure on yourself. Even in a very large class, she could notice that you did not attend lecture.

(3) You now have a personal relationship with your professor, and have successfully taken 100% of the awkward out of any future questions you may have about the class.

If you found this article useful, you can learn more about college related topics at College Tuna. I created College Tuna to make going to college less stressful with down-to-earth articles about topics relevant to incoming freshman.

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