Starting college may have you feeling nervous about any number of things, especially speaking in front of new classmates. If you have to introduce yourself in front of a class, try to be as confident and friendly as possible. Keep in mind that a thoughtful introduction will make you feel more like part of the class. You’ll need to make an effort to be personable and professional even if you’re introducing yourself to an online class.
Giving a Confident Classroom Introduction
Speak clearly and loudly when you say your name. Everyone is probably a little anxious to be up in front of a new class at college, so remember that it’s alright to feel nervous. Instead of speaking quickly and quietly, speak loud enough for everyone in the classroom to hear you and ensure that your words are understandable.
- For example, instead of looking at the floor and murmuring your name, look at classmates and say your name in an assertive voice.
Tip: It’s also important to make eye contact while you speak. This will make you appear more confident and self-assured, even if you don’t feel it!
Tell the class something memorable about yourself. Chances are that most of your classmates enjoy doing things like spending time with friends or watching movies. Although you could say that you like these things, try to think of something about you that’s more unique. This will help your classmates remember you.
- For example, you might say, “Hi, I’m Raj and I taught scuba diving over the summer.” You could then tell a funny story from teaching the class if you have enough time.
- You could also tell your class where you’re from and something interesting about the place.
Explain your academic interests. If you’re in an introductory course, you’ll probably have classmates who are majoring in different subjects. Briefly tell the class what you’d like to focus on academically and what you’re hoping to do with your degree.
- You could say, “I’ve always loved to write and I’m interested in current events, so I’m a journalism major.”
- If you don’t know what you’re going to major in yet, don’t worry! You can tell the class that you’re undecided or just mention a few courses you’re taking this term.
Limit your introduction to around 1 minute. If you’re in a large class, you may not be able to spend very long introducing yourself. Plan on giving your introductory speech in under a minute, so you don’t feel rushed or spend too long talking. You might be able to give a longer introduction if you’re in a small class that’s devoted to group work.
- If you’re unsure of how long to speak, try to gauge how long other students in the class are speaking for and match their time. For example, if people are only giving their names and majors, avoid speaking for several minutes about your hobbies and interests.
Practice your brief introduction speech before college starts. Run through your introduction at home before you get in front of your class. Try speaking before a mirror so you can watch your expressions and go through the speech at least once or twice so you feel comfortable with what you’re going to say.
- If it helps, ask a friend or family member to watch you speak. They can give you useful feedback or offer encouragement.
Making an Online Class Introduction
Follow the instructor’s introduction prompt. Your instructor will probably ask you to make an introductory post that tells your name and why you’re taking the course. You might be asked to give a little background too. Read through the prompt carefully and spend some time giving a thoughtful response.
- It might be tempting to rush through the introductory post and reply with vague basics, but remember that taking the time to make thoughtful posts will make you feel more invested in the course.
Give some personal and professional details. Since you won’t be able to interact in person, try to make your introduction interesting and unique so your classmates get a sense of who you are. You could tell the class where you’re from or what type of career you want, for instance.
- You might say, “I’m Alex and I took a few years off of school to start my own photography business. Unfortunately, I’m a great photographer, but not such a great business person. I’m hoping to learn some financial tips from this course for running my own business.”
Upload a picture if you want the class to see what you look like. Although it may not be required, consider updating your profile with a picture of yourself. Being able to show what you look like and see what your classmates’ appearances can create a sense of community for the course.
- If you don’t feel comfortable uploading a picture of yourself, you should be able to select an image or avatar that represents your interests.
Tip: You might need to upload a video introduction too. If so, write a brief introduction as though you were going to give it in person. Practice before filming and uploading the video.
Respond to a classmate’s introduction. Take a few minutes to comment on someone else’s introduction. This will foster a friendly atmosphere for the course and will help you make relationships with your classmates, which can be handy when it’s time to study for exams or share notes.
- For example, you might reply to a classmate’s introduction by saying, “Hi, Zara, it’s great to meet you. I’m also a math major so maybe we’ll be in other classes together!”
Introducing Yourself at a College Interview
Greet the interviewer and say your name with confidence. You may be called over to an interviewer’s table or they may come over to where you’re sitting. If this is the case, stand up and firmly shake their hand. Then, clearly tell them your name and take a seat when they offer it.
- Make eye contact and smile so you appear self-assured, even if you feel a little nervous!
Give the interviewer a brief general background. A lot of interviewers will start things off by asking you to tell them about yourself. Keep things conversational while you let them know a few key facts about where you’re from, your educational background, or jobs that you’ve had, but avoid listing everything that’s on your resume.
- You might say, “I’ve just graduated high school with honors back home in Iowa and I loved learning about marine biology. It’s pretty hard wanting to study ocean life when you live in a landlocked state!”
Explain what you’re passionate about learning at their college. This is a great opportunity to let the interviewer know that you’ve researched their school and a specific program. In addition to talking about what you’d like to major in, you could mention specific courses you want to take.
- For example, say, “I really want to go into the healthcare field and your college has several strong programs I could eventually choose from.”
Describe how you’ll contribute to the college. Finish your introduction by telling the interviewer why you think you’re a good fit for the school. Be as specific as you can to show them that you’ve spent time learning about the school.
- For example, instead of saying something vague like, “I’m great at academics,” you could describe how you’d love to work with study groups or create a club with your specific interests.”
Tip: Remember to thank the interviewer for their time before leaving.