Your classes and the way you interact with professors in college will likely feel very different than high school. To help you to navigate this new setting with confidence, view the tips from current faculty and students, as well as suggestions on what to do and what not to do.
- Go to class. Sometimes attendance and participation are not factored into the grade. Go to class anyways. Some introductory courses may cover content you learned in a previous course. Go to class anyways.
- Read the syllabus. Professors spend significant time including detailed information about the homework, grading policies, and exams in the syllabus. Some professors will spend the time reviewing the syllabus early in class; others will expect you to do that on your own and make note of due dates and scheduled exams.
- Sit in the front. You will be more engaged, hear and see better, and be more inclined to arrive on time if you sit in the front of the room.
- Participate. Ask questions if anything is unclear. And take the risk of answering a question the instructor poses, even if you might be wrong – this is how you learn! Make sure you are not silent throughout the class; conversely, try not to be the only person who ever talks. Shy students might consider writing down a question or comment to gather their thoughts before speaking up.
- Ask about a technology policy to see if it’s okay to use a laptop, tablet, or recorder in class.
- If you’re registered with Services for Students With Disabilities and would like to take advantage of the accommodations you receive, discuss your situation with the professor early in the semester. Some accommodations require planning and advanced preparation on the part of the instructor.
- Fall asleep in class. Sleep before class or sleep after class, but not during class.
- Text or use social media during class. Instructors can see what you’re doing and most consider this a sign of disrespect.
- Ask, “Did I miss anything important?” if you must miss a class. Assume there will be important information in every class session.
- Violate the standards on academic integrity. Not knowing the policy is not an excuse for plagiarism or other violations of these standards.
- Keep to yourself in class. On the first day, introduce yourself to at least one person and exchange contact info. This person can serve as a study partner, a point of contact if you are sick and must miss class, and an accountability partner if you’re struggling to make it to class.
- Go on the webpages unrelated to the class content. If you don’t need the Internet, turn off your WiFi or use an app to block distracting websites for the duration of class.
Is the way you’re showing up and engaging in your classes indicative of the student you aspire to be? Are there ways you’re misrepresenting yourself as a student? What changes might you consider based upon the above suggestions?