You are not alone if you sink in your chair when a college instructor tells everyone to “introduce yourself” in class. Some professors use icebreakers such as personal introductions to encourage student participation in class discussions. Asking and answering questions in class is less intimidating when you know your classmates. Ironically, a well-intended activity to help you feel more relaxed can unleash all your anxieties. Preparing a short introduction paragraph about yourself can calm your nerves and bolster self-confidence when you are put on the spot to introduce yourself in college.

Start With an Attention Grabber

Instead of quickly mumbling your name in a monotone voice and identifying your hometown and high school, share unique or silly details to help people remember you. For example, if you are from Roswell, New Mexico, you could brag that your city is the UFO capitol of the world. Or you could introduce yourself in class by sharing a funny story about how your parents decided to name you Rocky, for instance. When you introduce yourself in class, keep it light and friendly. Your goal is to come across as warm and approachable.

Explain Academic Plans and Goals

When asked to introduce yourself in college, consider the needs and interests of your audience when choosing what academic information to share. Like you, your classmates are hoping to make friends with other students who may have the same major, similar goals or who might be able to help them learn in areas where they struggle, such as math.

Related Articles

Typically, an introduction includes your major or favorite academic subjects, if you haven’t selected a major. You may want to mention why you chose that major and what type of career you hope to pursue.

Share Hobbies and Personal Interests

When choosing what personal information to share, keep in mind the purpose of being told to introduce yourself in college. Your mission is to help fellow students and your teacher get to know you and your uniqueness.

Many students eagerly seek out potential new friends, especially if they hardly know anybody at their new school. In your introduction, talk about favorite pastimes like playing video games, watching movies, working out, running or drawing. Students also enjoy hearing about less common hobbies like kite-boarding or spelunking.

Speech About Myself Example

Although it takes a little more time to develop an outline or introduction paragraph about yourself, you won’t have to worry about your mind going blank or awkwardly fumbling for words if you are prepared. An introduction paragraph about yourself doesn’t have to be very long either.

Example:

Hi Everybody. I’m Peter Smith. I just returned from an awesome church missionary trip to Belize where I slept in a grass hut that was about the size of my dorm room. Does anyone else here live in Taft Hall? Cool! We should get together. Don’t laugh, but I am from Cornville, Iowa. No seriously, that town does exist. In high school I played soccer for the Cornville Huskers.

Anyway, I am a math geek hoping to be a high school math teacher after I graduate. You may want to keep that in mind if you don’t like math and need a tutor. I spend most of my free time at the campus rec center working out. I am looking forward to this class and getting to know each of you.

About the Author

Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Minnesota State University. Dr. Dowd has also led many administrative offices such as affirmative action, women’s center and student conduct. She enjoys teaching, writing and advising students on how to succeed in college. Dr. Dowd's literary accomplishments include published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles. Her writing reflects years of professional and personal life experience, including parenting.