How Should You Act in a College Classroom?
High schools usually enforce strict rules on classroom behavior, but students often follow them merely to evade punishment. Once they graduate, students enter a world in which adherence to the laws of etiquette is voluntary, yet expected of everyone. Without the threat of detention hanging over their heads, some college freshmen make a few blunders in the classroom. Often the behavior is barely noticed, but occasionally can cause a bad first impression or even impact standing with professors.
It can be difficult to know “the rules” when they aren’t spelled out in a student handbook. Following these etiquette tips in college classrooms should help you meet expectations.
Dress appropriately. It can be tempting to dash to class in your pajamas, but resist the temptation to present yourself too casually. A tidy appearance makes a better impression on your professors and peers.
Arrive early and stay for the entire class. Show that you value your education, and your professors’ time, by arriving a few minutes before class begins. Avoid leaving early, too. Make class time a priority, and schedule other events accordingly.
Turn off your phone. Ring tones, alarms, and other beeps and boops can be distracting to both your professor and other students. Even if your phone is on silent, using it is still considered rude. Better to turn it off and put it away out of sight, so that you’re not tempted to use it at all.
Demonstrate interest. Even if a particular subject isn’t your favorite, it’s disrespectful to demonstrate boredom during class time. Pay attention to the lecture, ask questions, and engage with your fellow classmates when appropriate. Part of your grade might even depend upon your participation. Don’t read, surf the internet on your laptop, or snack during class time.
Bring everything you need. Come prepared with handouts, completed assignments, lab materials, and so on. Asking your peers to borrow supplies, or coming unprepared for group work, makes you look lazy and irresponsible.
At all times, view college classes as preparation for your career. Behave as you would in a professional setting. Remember that you might need to ask professors for a recommendation one day, and your classmates could become your coworkers or even your boss.