Classroom Etiquette

By Sharon Dover

What kind of impression do you make in your classes?  Do you present yourself as a serious, dedicated student? Or do you come off as uninterested, even disruptive?  Good classroom etiquette could improve your grade, especially if class participation is considered.  A good relationship with your professor could also mean a glowing letter of recommendation at the end of the semester. 

So, sit up front.  Add your thoughtful comments.  Ask questions. Do:

  • Be on time, with supplies
  • Contact your teacher if you will not be there
  • Unpack before class/pack after
  • Turn off cell/pager
  • Stop talking when class starts
  • Focus on here and now--don't dwell on last class or what is happening at home
  • Participate in class (no side discussions)
  • Take Notes
  • Keep comments appropriate
  • Take responsibility
  • Remember that in college, as in every other area of life, politeness and respect count

Don't ask these questions, which are classic sources of annoyance for professors:

  • "I missed class.  Did we do anything important?"

  • After chatting with your friend for five minutes: "Could you repeat that?"

  • As your only questions about an upcoming assignment:  "How long does the paper have to be?"

  • In the middle of a fascinating discussion on a new concept:  "Will this be on the test?"

  • At the end of the semester after missing numerous assignments:  "Is there extra credit in this class?"

If you make an effort to participate and get the most out of class, your professors will see that effort and reward it. (You will also be getting your money's worth from college.)