How to Be a Standout in the Classroom

Congratulations! You’re interested in standing out in the classroom and seeking information on how to go about this—those two items alone show that you have what it takes to achieve your goal.  

Throughout my years of teaching, there are some very specific ways that make students stand out among others, and I’m pleased to be able to share them with you.

Front row seating.

If you’re attending an event like a concert, play or sporting event, most likely you consider the front seats the optimal place to be. The classroom is no different.

Don’t approach your academic career passively by settling for “the cheap seats”; position yourself at the front of the classroom and be sure to engage with your professor or teacher when given the chance.

Front row seat etiquette applies on campuses just as it does in social settings. Don’t be the person that arrives late and then expects to get premier seats by disrupting what is going on. Always be early for class and prepared to take notes when class begins.

Your professor will notice your promptness, interest and dedication and make mental notes of that.

Introduce yourself.

Make sure you take the time to introduce yourself to your instructor, even if it’s just a quick hello. By taking the time to let your professor know who you are and how much you’re looking forward to the class, you are establishing yourself as an engaged and academically driven individual.

Beyond the introduction.

After you’ve briefly said hello to your instructor and are engaging in class, make sure you learn the office hours and take the time to attend them, even if you feel that you are doing well and don’t need to gain any information from your teacher.

Frequently the only issue that bring students to my office is when they are struggling; those students that have taken the time to come and talk to me about what I teach or my thoughts on a particular topic have always stood out and generally gone on to achieve academically. Not because they are asking for special treatment, but because they are genuinely interested in their education.

Developing a rapport with your instructor or teaching assistant is a sure way to help you stand out in the classroom and on the campus as your academic career progresses.

Actively participate and listen.

If you’re sitting in the front row and engaging during class, I can assure you that you’re already standing out. However, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t domineering conversations and that you treat the opinions of others in the class with respect and an open mind.

Listening also includes taking notes and going the extra mile outside of the classroom by learning a little more than expected or required. It’s incredibly impressive when students demonstrate that they are learning independently outside of the classroom.

These are a few of the top ways that you can stand out in your classroom. The most important element to your success is being an active participant in it.