Professors Prize Intellectual Curiosity
There used to be a time when attending college after high school was not the given that it is today. The realities of the job marketplace have made a college diploma more or less a prerequisite for a wide range of entry level jobs, and so now, whether students love learning or not, most feel that getting a college degree is required of them.
While those of us who teach in academia are aware of the "I can't do anything without a degree" phenomenon taking place today, most of us like to think that our students have come to college not only for that important piece of paper, but also to develop their minds and broaden their intellectual horizons. Convince your teachers early on in the semester that intellectual curiosity — a love of learning — burns within you, and you'll have gone a long way toward creating a positive impression in the classroom.
Show Up and Show You're Prepared
Of course, you can't convince your professors of anything if you develop the bad habit of skipping class. For many college freshmen, college represents their first invigorating dose of freedom to live by their own rules. While your grade may be docked for absences and tardiness, cutting class might seem astonishingly consequence-free until the end of the semester when your grades come out. Don't fall prey to the temptation to "get away with it." Your GPA does matter, and so does your professor's opinion of you.
It's an old saw that success is 90 percent showing up. If that's true with respect to class attendance, then the other ten percent is composed of your level of preparation and your level of participation. Most professors will not test you on your homework during every class, but that doesn't mean we can't tell if you're not prepared when we call on you. Why not remove all doubt and participate in class discussions? Paying attention, taking notes, and asking questions all speak well of you to professors, as they are all signs that you are intellectually curious and engaged with the material.
Check High School at the Campus Gate
Getting into college is a tough competition, and to matriculate where you have, you've probably done very well for yourself in high school. Congratulations, you made it in. What many first year students find hard to accept is that their college grades often are not as good as the ones they got in high school. Hearing you're not alone probably won't help too much, but it's true. What's also true is that a top undergraduate student will come to college armed with this knowledge as well as with the determined attitude to work even harder than they did in high school.