By Alexandria Sese > Sophomore > English > University of Illinois at Chicago, Photo by Geekwithlaptop.com
You’ve heard it time and again that college isn’t all about the GPA. Grades will help you get hired later, but think of the few hundred other graduates who do even better. The trick is to stand out from your peers, especially now that it’s the end of the semester. Setting yourself apart from competition – even at the last minute – isn’t as hard as it seems, as pointed out by Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman in their book, The Secrets of College Success.
Not only are you making the most of your tuition, going to class increases the opportunities for your professor and peers to know you. Class is also the perfect time to ask questions and share ideas, setting you a step further from your absent classmates.
On top of being physically present in class, show interest in your professor during lecture or even say hi to them when they walk in. The authors observe how few students do it, so being the one who does will make you stand out. “Professors do notice students who sit there yawning or looking bummed out,” Jacobs and Hyman write. And you don’t want to be remembered that way.
Yes, you (or your parents) are paying the professors to teach you, but that doesn’t give you the right to disrespect them. Jacobs and Hyman write that two of the ways to surely annoy your professor are suggesting that “the professor has no idea what he or she is talking about” and disputing a grade like a ‘mad dog.’” There is a professional way to handle any disagreements.
Hang Out with Smart Friends
“Pick your cohort as carefully as you pick your classes,” Jacobs and Hyman write. They claim that hanging out with a crowd that doesn’t value their education will bring you down. Additionally, you can be remembered for the people you associate with. As the old saying goes: “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.”
Do All the Extras
Jacobs and Hyman consistently claim that going the extra mile with your school work is a good way to get in your professor’s good side. Go to office hours, ask questions, volunteer when a professor needs one, submit assignments on time, and aim for the best grade in class. Not only will your professors remember you as the hardworking student but you can set yourself apart from classmates who are just in the classroom for the sake of being there.
Standing out in class isn’t as challenging as you might think. Just doing what is expected of you in college may bring you to the level of your peers, but with a little more effort you can get ahead.