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The Differences Between High School and College and the Importance of Student-Faculty Interaction for College Success

by Dr. Drew Appleby, IUPUI Professor of Psychology

Page 3: A three-step strategy to facilitate student/faculty connections


Stage 1: Get Noticed

The best way to help a college instructor to notice you in a positive manner is to help that instructor form the impression that you are an active, interested, responsible, and motivated student.

Some of my students have told me that the “good” students in their high schools were the ones who simply didn’t engage in “bad” behaviors. In college, simply not being “bad” doesn’t make you “good.” Being a “good” student in college means understanding what is expected and doing what is expected in an accurate, correct, courteous, and timely manner.

Here are some ways to get noticed as a “good” college student:

  • Read and understand the class syllabus.
  • Come to class.
  • Come to class on time.
  • Come to class prepared.
  • Participate actively in class.
  • Ask questions about unclear material.
  • Take advantage of your professors’ office hours.
  • Utilize the services and expertise of your TAs.

Here are some ways to get noticed as a “not-so-good” college student:

  • Carry on side conversations with your fellow students while your instructor is trying to lecture.
  • Let your cell phone ring in class or—worse yet—take a call and carry on a conversation in class.
  • Sit in the back of the classroom when there are empty chairs in front.
  • Behave as if you are bored by what your teacher is trying to teach.
  • Pack up your books noisily before class is over.


Stage 2: Perform Well

Performing well means earning high scores on tests, producing written work that is professional in both content and appearance, and speaking in a clear and articulate manner.

The ability to perform well is dependent upon a willingness to:

  • Be saavy - not clueless! Know what your teachers expect you to do, then actually do it. And seek help when you need it.
  • Work hard - don't be perceived as a slacker! Don't just do the minimum required to pass the class. Make it a point to work harder than your classmates
  • Take an active role in the learning process. Don't just sit back and passively expect to be taught.


Stage 3: Just Do It!

There are many ways to get involved with faculty, including serving as a teaching assistant, research assistant, mentor, tutor, peer advisor, club or organization officer, work-study student, or an OTEAM member.

Some examples of faculty and staff who freshmen will find to be particularly approachable include learning community faculty members, teachers of "gateway" classes (usually your 100 and 101 classes), Academic advisors, club or organization advisors, and members of academic support services such as the Writing Center, Career Center, Bepko Learning Center, etc.

Also, try to seek the advice of upperclassmen about particularly approachable faculty members.


> Page 1: The Differences between High School and College
> Page 2: The importance of the connections students can make with faculty and staff

> Return to General Tips

This page last modified on June 27 2005
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