Guidelines for the College Classroom

You’re finally out of high school and ready to embrace the college classroom. No more silly little rules, like no gum chewing, to hinder your classroom comfort! But hold on just a second–the college classroom is definitely not an “anything goes” environment. You are now expected to conduct yourself like an adult and to inherently know what is and is not appropriate.

The following are 8 spoken and unspoken guidelines that all students should follow. “Violating” these isn’t going to earn you detention, but it also isn’t going to earn you the favor of your professors or classmates and, trust us, you will need help from them both to succeed in your classes.

  1. Show Up Regular attendance is expected. Attending classes is critical to student success. Students are cheating themselves of what they (and/or their parents) are paying for when they don’t attend class. In addition, you will find faculty are less willing to write positive letters of recommendation for students or provide assistance in extenuating circumstances to students who repeatedly miss class.
  2. Be On Time Arriving late and leaving early are better than not showing up at all, however both are disruptive to the instructor and your classmates. Arrive on time and stay for the full class period. If you have an emergency and need to leave early, please inform your instructor before class to explain the situation.
  3. Professors Are Not Oblivious Students seem unaware of how easily instructors can see what each student is doing during class. Doing other work, reading a newspaper or magazine, etc. is very obvious and disrespectful to the instructor. Also, the use of laptops in classrooms has become widely accepted and can be a great tool for students. However, they can also be a temptation to surf the web, check Facebook, etc. These types of activities are inappropriate and self-defeating. Attendance in the form of just filling a seat will not earn you a successful grade. Instructors notice mental absences too!
  4. Unplug: Cell Phones and Texting If you must carry a cell phone to class, it should be turned OFF. Having electronic devices go off during class is disruptive to the instructor and your classmates. It is not uncommon for a professor to ask a student to leave if their cell phone rings during class, regardless of whether or not they take the call. Also, the sounds of texting are surprisingly obvious in most classrooms, even if your phone is in silent mode. You may think you’re going unnoticed but you’re not. Texting during class is rude and inappropriate and should never be done. If you chose to text during class, don’t be surprised if the instructor reacts strongly and if they develop a negative impression because of that encounter.
  5. Cork It Talking to friends is disruptive to both the instructor and to classmates. It may be easy to think that others seated near you will not mind a little mindless chatter; however many students are offended by the distraction. When the instructor is prepared for class to begin; students should stop talking and focus their attention on the topic for the course.
  6. Not Chow Time If a student has no lunch break, it may be acceptable to eat or drink inconspicuously in class. However, unless that is the case, it is very unprofessional to bring food or drink into the classroom environment. Students are expected to eat breakfast or lunch before class time. Food or drink is not allowed near computer equipment at any time. If food or drink is brought into the class, the student is responsible for discarding the trash and cleaning up any spills.
  7. You Are Not the Only Person in the Classroom Be courteous in the same way you would like faculty and classmates to be courteous to you.
  8. You Miss It, You Find a Way to Get It If you miss class or arrive late, it is your responsibility to obtain the information that you missed from other students or the instructor. It is not the responsibility of the instructor to check to see that you get assignments or handouts that you may have missed.