6 First Impressions

During the first week, you will learn your instructor’s expectations, and you will also introduce yourself to your instructor. This is an important time. You may not realize it, but as your instructors are learning your name, they’re also learning about you as a student.  Every assignment you complete, or don’t complete, provides your instructor with information about you. An experienced instructor will often recognize students who will struggle to succeed in a course based on their performance in the first few weeks of class. Don’t forget, first impressions matter and completing assignments and engaging in class will most likely be crucial to your grade. Carefully read instructions for how to submit your assignments and what style, if any, you’re required to use for homework assignments and larger writing projects. If you’re not sure of your class performance, here are the signs you may be struggling or in danger of failing the class:

  1. You don’t show up on the first day of class or any day during the first week.
  2. You don’t complete AND submit the first homework assignment (completing the assignment but “forgetting” to print it isn’t completing it)
  3. You miss more than one class in the semester’s first three weeks.
  4. You miss several (or more than several) homework assignments in the first three weeks.
  5. You’re late for multiple classes the first few weeks.
  6. You are frequently on your phone (for reasons unrelated to class work).
  7. You don’t have your text by the second week of the semester. (but if you’re reading this, you don’t have to pay for your text, so if you haven’t accessed your text by the second week)
  8. You arrive without your text, a notebook, writing implement, USB, able to access your institution’s LMS, etc.
  9. You haven’t spoken to your instructor.

If you read these signs and it sounds like you, there may be some changes that you need to make in order to pass the class. The first thing you should do is talk to your instructor. Your instructor can help you stay current with the course work and advise you about your future performance.



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Writing and Rhetoric by Heather Hopkins Bowers; Anthony Ruggiero; and Jason Saphara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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