No matter which stage of your education you are in, showing initiative can be a scary and exciting experience.
The more you put yourself out there, the more chances you have of getting better grades, making friends, or earning trust with teachers and faculty. Furthermore, showing initiative early in life can help forge leadership skills and other talents as you grow and adapt.
How do you show initiative in school?
Getting yourself involved in classroom discussions, asking and answering posed questions, putting forth extra effort into projects or homework, and making sure to engage in afterschool activities or office hours with teachers or professors is a great way to show initiative in school.
Furthermore, showing this initiative can help you grow into a professional and hard-working adult.
In this article, we will explore many different ways you can show initiative and participate more in school!
Table of Contents
8 Great Ways to Show Initiative at School:
As we’ve mentioned, showing initiative is a great part of gaining leadership skills, friendships, responsibility, and talents for later use.
Knowing how to start is the hardest part – especially if you are shy or nervous about involving yourself.
We’ve listed several ways to get involved and show initiative in school here:
1. Involve Yourself in Classroom Discussions
The biggest way to show initiative – especially to teachers or professors – is to get involved with classroom discussions.
Classroom discussions often involve bouncing ideas around or answering questions with your fellow students who have different opinions. These discussions are meant to grow your knowledge of the subject while also letting you get an idea of how you feel about the subject material.
For students that don’t participate in these discussions, the entirety of class may just feel like you are sitting in the corner. There are people who love to listen and observe during discussions, absorbing information, but this doesn’t really show initiative.
If you are interested in showing initiative and impressing your professor or teacher, make sure to speak up and try to prep beforehand.
Most classroom discussions aren’t surprises – though some can be. They generally begin with reading material that is assigned the night before, so if you are doing the reading and absorbing the information, having an opinion on the subject shouldn’t be too far out of your range.
As long as you are able to recreate that opinion in class during discussions, you may find that showing that initiative is easier to do.
This can also be a great way to show courage in school.
2. Join Clubs, Teams or Organizations
You don’t always have to show initiative in the classroom.
In any school – usually middle school and above – there are plenty of ways to get involved with your fellow classmates or with clubs or groups:
- Film or Photography
- Honors Programs
- Science or Math Competitions
These are only a few of the many things that could be available at your school. Universities are going to have MANY more than this, but we won’t list them all here today.
However, if you don’t have options like this available to join, consider getting permission to start your own clubs or programs.
There are plenty of ways to get involved and show initiative by joining, participating in, or even creating your own clubs, groups, or organizations.
If you aren’t interested in any of these, consider other methods of showing initiative in this article!
3. Attend Office Hours
Almost all professors and even some high school teachers will offer office hours after school.
This is a great way to show initiative if you are a shy student – one of the easier things to do on this list!
Office hours are meant to be one-on-one or small group study sessions or a designated time to ask the professor questions that you are too nervous or embarrassed to ask during class in front of your peers.
It may also be a great way to ask your teacher or professor what their expectations are of you and how you can do better in class.
Furthermore, a one-on-one private session may be a good way to express to your teacher or professor that you are shy and are actively listening in class but do not want to be too outgoing or open during the actual class time. This helps them get a better idea of who you are, how you learn, and what you are comfortable with.
Finally, attending and being an active participant in office hours is a great way to show the professor or teacher that you are doing your best in the subject, even if you aren’t loud in class.
4. Extra Effort (Projects, Homework, Performances, Presentations)
Sometimes the best thing you can do to show initiative in school is to put forth 110% on your classwork.
Whether that is homework, essays, presentations, or projects, showing that you actually care about your performance and your grade or score is definitely noticeable, and professors and teachers will appreciate it.
Furthermore, the more effort you put into your projects or homework, the better grade you are more likely to get.
So, while showing initiative can impress faculty and other students, doing hard work or going to office hours can help boost your GPA – which can come handy in the future.
5. Ask Questions & Make Mistakes
This is in the same vein as participating in classroom discussions, but asking questions and making mistakes in class is a huge show of initiative.
Many people don’t speak up in classes, meetings, or public events because they are afraid of saying something foolish and being made fun of by people who are there.
In school, being made fun of after asking questions can be a crippling fear that causes many students to keep quiet and never ask questions. If you never ask questions, you end up not really understanding the material – even if you get a passing grade.
Often, students who don’t ask questions in high school will enter college with an acceptable GPA but not a full understanding of specific information that other students will.
This can set you back and cause you to have a tougher experience later in college or even in a master’s degree.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – take the initiative and ask questions!
6. Enter Competitions
There are some schools that host competitions or drawings in order to win an item or event.
This isn’t very common, but it can be a great way to get involved and show initiative in school events. For example, homecoming events, prom, or even random giveaway raffle drawings can pop up during the school year.
If you join in, enter your name, or even just be part of the exciting and interesting school developments and events that occur, people are more likely to remember you or congratulate you if you win!
This can also be a good reason to start creating a personal journal, so you can keep track of it.
We’ve all been told that volunteering can look good on college and job applications.
While there is some debate about how much it factors into your future success, volunteering is a great way to meet people, do some good, and sometimes learn about hardships that are going on out in the world.
You can help clean a community park, work at a soup kitchen, organize donations to families during the holidays, work concession stands at your school’s sports games, or even help decorate for school functions and events!
Volunteering is a great way to show initiative to faculty and other students – expressing that you are a person who gives back and isn’t afraid to get your hands dirty!
8. Run For an Office or Elected Position
There are student councils and elected positions in any school or university.
Even middle schools hold class president and council elections, which are meant to teach responsibility and democracy while still keeping it simple and easy enough for students to understand.
Furthermore, if you are someone who is trying to show initiative and get noticed, running for an office position gives you great excuses to meet people, spread a message you care about and get your name out there!
Even if you don’t get elected, students and faculty are more likely to see you as a person who tries their best and isn’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in.
Does Showing Initiative Matter When Teachers Evaluate Students?
Especially in college, your grade can sometimes be affected depending on your participation or how much you speak in class.
Now, you do have the option to speak to your professor and tell them that you have social anxieties or are shy and prefer not to speak in class.
They will take this into account when they grade you but may suggest that you show initiative in other ways instead.
Still, missing classes, never speaking, asking very little questions, and not putting in a ton of effort into projects may hurt your grade and will cause your evaluation to come back negative.
If you would like to get a better grade or avoid missing out on something positive in class, consider showing initiative and make sure to remind your teacher and students that you are excited about learning and will put your best foot forward!