Straight Talk Bob McDonnell

Being friendly to your professors can pay off big at the end of the semester. Remember, the professor is the person who determines what grade you are going to get, so it’s better to be on good terms with them. Many students just show up for class and never talk to their professor, so by putting in a little extra effort you can stand out from all of the “other” students.

Follows are the top 10 tips on how to get on the good side of your professors:

1. Try to meet with the professor one-on-one early in the semester (before you start having problems in the class).

2. Say hi if you see the professor walking around campus. Most students avoid professors or pretend they don’t know them on campus.

3. Do the required assignments. Make sure you don’t show up to class without doing the required reading or without the paper that is due.

4. Turn in work on time. Some professors may not accept work if it is late.

5. Don’t be late to class. Some professors really get annoyed if you show up after the class has started, make sure you are always a little early to avoid this.

6. Do not miss any classes, otherwise professors will think that you don’t care.

7. Contact the professor ahead of time if you absolutely have to miss a class, and make up a good excuse. Usually, “I had a family emergency” works well (“grandma died” only works twice).

8. Don’t fall asleep in class. Bring a soda or coffee to class if this is a problem for you.

9. Ask or answer questions every now and then, this shows you are paying attention and it helps the professor get to know you. Don’t worry about being called a dork or nerd in class, you just need good grades and this is way to do it, plus someone of the opposite sex might notice you know what is going on in class and may approach you to study together.

10. Sit in the front of the class. Professors get to know the students up in front of class because they are closer and seem more interested to be there. This will also help you concentrate, pay attention, and you actually might learn something.

These are all tips that should help you get to know, and get along with the people who determine your grades. Do everything you can to get on their good side without coming across as sucking up.

• Bob McDonnell is executive director of Arizona College Planners, L.L.C., a member of the College Planning Network, the National Association of College Funding Advisors and the National Association of College Acceptance Counselors. For questions, email

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