How to Catch Your Professor’s Eye

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Nicole Eisenberg>Sophomore>Marketing and Finance>University of Maryland, College Park

Some professors may wear glasses and some may wear contacts; some professors may wear pirate eye patches and some may wear blindfolds.  Regardless of how well they can see, professors can always spot a good student in the midst.  


In a large lecture hall, it is harder to be recognized as a face instead of as one little speck among hundreds.  To help your professor out, you need to become your own air traffic controller.  Become the person with the orange light sticks that directs the plane onto the runway.  Kindly force your professor to look your way.  Now, this does not mean that you should be bringing a disco ball or searchlight into your lecture hall; however, it would be advantageous for you to introduce yourself to your professor and sit towards the front of the room.  

Besides introducing yourself after class, Lindsay Garten, sophomore at Barnard College, recommends meeting your professor during her office hours because “this way your professor will know who you are and might pay more attention to you in class.”  Since your professor has met you as a person instead of as a number and she can see you, she’ll be more inclined to look your way.

Besides carrying your plane-directing light sticks and taking notes of course, your hands are good for one other thing in the classroom (none of which are texting, Facebooking, iChatting, or checking football stats).  Your hand can be raised.  I know it’s a novel concept that goes back to lower school, but asking questions in class or making an intelligent remark is a fantastic way to show your professor that you are interested in her class (and awake to hear it).  

 “Ask a question during lecture, in a direct and mature manner,” suggests Ann Shinnar, Ph.D., Assoicate Professor of Chemistry at Lander College for Men/Touro College.  “Avoid those introductory clichés such as ‘this might be a really stupid question, but…’, [and] get right to the point.”

Also, if there are unique opportunities at your university, make sure to take advantage of them.  

“There’s this really cool program where the university sponsors you to take your professor out to lunch,” explains University of Virginia freshman, Mariya Balakirskaya.  “I haven’t done it yet, but it sounds like an amazing idea and definitely a great way to get to know your professor.”

Above all, you must remember that you want to catch your professor’s eye in a positive way.  This means that you must be on time, study, and complete all of your work.  Chances are that if you don’t, your professor will first encounter your name on a ‘not-so-good’ list.

Photos courtesy of radiusimages.com and utexas.edu.

College Magazine Staff

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