February 20, 2018

Get Your Prof to “Notice You” for the Right Reasons

Many college success guides and blogs include this advice: "Get your professor to notice you." (I've also seen this variation: "Get your professor to like you."). From a student perspective, getting a prof to notice and like you sounds like a good thing, doesn't it? If a prof "notices you", maybe you'll get better grades, or the class will be easier. If the prof "likes you", maybe you can turn in work late or you can be absent more, right? With those benefits that will likely not happen … [Read more...]

Five Must Do’s Before You Leave Summer School (Includes Grade-Saving Advice!)

A gigantic bravo to you if you are reading this post and nearing the end of your summer term. Going to school in the summer is awesome and challenging all at the same time. The awesome? You racked up some additional credits. The challenging? You had to miss some hours of sunshine, pool or beach in order to achieve those credits. Now you’re nearing the end and hopefully you have a little time off before fall term. Before you do a college check-out for a few weeks, here are five things to do … [Read more...]

How Do I Get Better Grades on Discussion Forum Posts?

How many of you out there take classes that require discussion forum posts and responses? Maybe you feel like this student: You think you've done well and then find out that your writing wasn’t strong enough. Dear Chatty Professor, I “beef up” my discussion forum responses as the professor asks, but still not receiving full points. Do you have any additional tips? I definitely have tips! 1. First, ask the prof, “Professor, do you have a sample of what you consider to be an ideal post? It … [Read more...]

Are You “Shoulding On” Other People? Are Others “Shoulding” On You?

A little break from the student/professor dynamic and into a little communication strategy! This is a favorite lesson/discussion from my Interpersonal class. Useful for in college and out! I have a confession to make. I'm a worrier. At times, when I tell others about what is worrying me, depending on what I'm sharing, the well-intentioned response is: -"You shouldn't feel that way" or -"You shouldn't be concerned about that." The tone around the phrase is not condescending, … [Read more...]

Putting Your Term on “Pause”: How to Talk to Your Prof About an Incomplete

My father unexpectedly died just three weeks before I finished a fall semester at my former community college. Instead of finding out what my options were, I simply stopped going to classes and I ultimately failed those classes. Had I gone to see my profs, I could have learned that there may have been another option available for me: The “Incomplete” or “I” grade. What's an Incomplete? I'll give you an example: Let's say you are watching a movie on your DVR or on a Netflix … [Read more...]

5 No-apology tips for non-traditional students

I was one and maybe you are, too: A student who is 30, 40, 50, and even 60 and beyond! Like many non-trad students, I did not intend to be “older” in college. But my parents, who were not college educated, did not make provisions for my education. After losing a parent early, my life took a different vocational path for many years until I decided that I wanted to teach. Because I relate so intimately to non-traditional students, I thought about what communication lessons relate … [Read more...]

Tutor your way into work experience and the job market!

Here is a student question I received in person at the end of one of my “Chatty Professor” college presentations: "I'm in an Intermediate Calculus class and am acing it. I feel like going to class isn't worth it. I could just go on test days and be fine. I talked to the instructor and he sort of said that would be okay. My mom does not think it's okay. What do I do to make my mom happy, but not have to sit through a class where I already know what's going on?" Now, I get that many students … [Read more...]

Do you have to sound brilliant in order to speak out in class?

Do you sit in class and worry about whether you should or shouldn’t speak up? Do you try to get your words just right in your mind before you’ll raise your hand? Then, by the time you’re ready to speak, the class has moved on to something else and you’ve lost your confidence? It’s not a surprise that as a student, you are expected to add to classroom discussions, to assert your ideas/opinions/thoughts in a respectful way... to contribute to a shared, rich learning community. You are expected … [Read more...]

‘Like’ is awesome on Facebook – but not a criteria for grading

Let's talk about two different students: Student A and Student B. (I know, you are blown away by my creativity in characterization!) Student A came to my office all the time, frequently stayed after class to chat, shared career goals, family background, etc. We had a very good relationship; our conversations were always engaging and enjoyable. Student A started strong: Early submissions for me to review. Excellent grades. Later in the term? Student A's proactiveness fell off. Life apparently … [Read more...]

Boost Your Marketability from the Second You Step on Campus

As this blog post comes out, we are getting deeper into summer and your first days of college are still the furthest thing from your mind. So, I’ll save some student-prof talk for when we are closer to that time. For now, I’m going to ask you to start thinking about your future career—and I’m going to give you a job to do this summer: (Yes, I know you are covered in sunblock, sitting under an umbrella the size of a satellite dish, and enjoying a magazine that you haven’t been able to read … [Read more...]