Follow these simple tips, and your profs will love you

Pay attention during class. Trust me, your instructors will notice.

It’s Jackson, back again for another semester interning with the marketing office.

The difference between high school and college is staggering. For one, you do not need a pass to use the restroom anymore, and the idea of sitting in detention might make you chuckle.

At first, the change can be overwhelming. But as I got through my first couple semesters of college, I realized that by seeking help from my instructors and following their advice, my life got a whole lot easier.

Instead of spending an entire evening worrying about whether I was doing something right, I just popped into my instructor’s office hours and resolved the issue immediately. Instead of doodling and nodding off during a lecture, I maintained eye contact and took notes. These little tricks, which can be intimidating to put into practice at first, really do pay off—in more ways than one. (Listen below to nursing dean Jewel Diller share her tips to make a good impression on your professors.)

One of the most important things you can do as a college student is learn the dos and don’ts of communicating with your instructors. Acquiring these skills are crucial to your academic success, and if done appropriately, they can also foster some pretty significant connections that can be beneficial come graduation time.

Personally, I try to remind my instructors that I am truly engaged in their classes. The only way to do that, other than doing well on exams and assignments, is by going the extra mile: Go to office hours, show up with well thought-out questions, and actually take their advice.

You don’t have to take my word for it, but you should take theirs. Ivy Tech faculty members gave me their tips about how students can build a better relationship with them. Take a look! Thanks to Jewel Diller, nursing dean, and Deanna Surfus, English department chair, for their help compiling these points.


  • Realize instructors have lives outside the classroom. Understand your professors’ working hours, and be realistic about your expectations for a response time. You’re probably not going to get a response at 3 a.m.
  • Be polite! If the instructor said or did something incredibly interesting or helpful, tell him that. Instructors like feedback.
  • Wait 24 hours before emailing them if you are upset about a grade. Look over your paper or project and THEN email your instructor and respectfully ask why you got the grade you did. Giving yourself some time to process might makes things more clear.
  • Communicate with the professor promptly if you’re going to miss class, just like you would communicate with your boss at work.
  • Be honest with your instructors, and take responsibility for your actions; honesty is better than any excuse or lie.

  • Email an instructor the night before a paper is due asking for major help.
  • Email questions like, “What is due next class?” or “When is the assignment due?” More than likely, everything you need to know about the course will be on the syllabus and/or course calendar on Blackboard.
  • Use “text” language when emailing instructors.
  • Avoid communicating with your instructor if you are struggling in class.
  • Skip class because you don’t understand an assignment. This solves nothing and can put you farther behind.

4 thoughts on “Follow these simple tips, and your profs will love you

  1. When viewing the “Do” and “Don’t” lists (in the email version) the formatting was lost. I see now that I am in “Green Light” that the information is in a chart. Hopefully everyone is smart enough to figure the email out!

    1. And her first name is spelled Deanna. That’s what happens when one is too hasty in posting a correction. 🙂

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