The Twenty-Three Unwritten Rules of College Etiquette (page 2)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Don't Embarass Your Fellow Students

If a classmate is struggling with an answer to a professor's question, don't be the person hotdogging with your hand in the air to prove that you know what your classmate doesn't. If you do get called on, be circumspect and respectful in your re­sponse. Try not to show up your classmates. It is fine to disagree with classmates on points of discussion; without such disagreement, classes would be pretty boring. But always be respectful in the way you address your classmates and the points they make. Never preface your responses with snide remarks ("That's stupid") or personal snipes ("That's because you're a tree hugger"). It might be funny for a moment - but that moment of comedy at the expense of a classmate won't make you any friends and will polarize certain members of the class against you.

Don't Talk To Your Friends In Class

You are in class to learn, not to socialize with your friends. If you are going to take a class with a friend or roommate, you'll learn more and focus more on the lecture if you sit apart from your friend and focus on the matter at hand. If you insist on sitting together, though, at least remember this rule. It is rude to the professor and disrespectful to the people around you for you to be whispering and giggling with your friends during class. At a minimum, it will annoy the people around you. At worst, the professor will stop his or her lecture and ask you to stop - which could be very embarrassing and have a negative effect on your grade in the class.

Turn Off The Gadgets (Cell Phone, Blackberry, Internet)

The same rule applies for all your electronic gadgetry. It is fine to take notes on a laptop (try to tap quietly so you don't bother your classmates), but it is certainly not fine for your cell phone to ring during a lecture, to be seen sending e-mails from your Blackberry during lecture, or to spend the lecture playing Internet poker. Professors aren't stupid - they will catch on eventually. Even if they don't, your fellow students will see you, and you'll get the reputation for being a slacker. Then, when you need notes from a lecture you missed, they'll be less inclined to give them to you.

Don't Talk About Or Complain About Grades

This is a biggie.

Everyone hates the "gunner" - you know, the student who constantly talks about and whines about grades. The one who is constantly going to the professor's office hours to try to glean what the exam questions are going to be or to brownnose or otherwise suck up to the professor.

Don't Go To The Professor's Office Hours To Lobby For A Better Grade


The only thing worse than the person who talks about grades all the time is the more cunning person who goes to his or her professor's office hours after a midterm or paper comes back and lobbies for an upward adjustment. Listen well to this piece of advice. Unless your professor has obviously misgraded your midterm by marking something wrong that was actually correct, don't go to office hours looking for a grade change. All that will do for you is get you a reputation as a gunner among the faculty and among your classmates. And that's a rep you don't want to get.

Keep Your Commitments

This is a simple one. There are opportunities to exhibit this trait all over the place in college - in your room, in the dorm or fraternity house, in class, and in your sports and extracurricular activities - and falling down here can have very detrimental effects on your reputation. Make commitments carefully, and once you make them, keep them.

Don't Be A Mooch

. . Neither is the mooch.

We've all met the mooch. The mooch is the person who asks to borrow money, but always forgets to pay it back. The person who, when you go out to dinner in a group, always throws less money in the pile than he or she owes, assuming that others will overestimate what they owe. The person who is always borrowing things, always eating more than his or her share of the pizza, and always taking a couple of beers out of the fridge without ever returning, buying, or replenishing. The person who bums a ride to the airport from you but never offers to pay for gas or parking, and is always late paying his or her share of the cable bill.

Clean Up After Yourself

You'd think this one would be unnecessary to put in print, but guess what?

Apparently it isn't.

Keep your dirty laundry out of common areas, put your books and papers away after class, and throw out your half-finished sub from the night before. When you get back from the bathroom, stow your toiletries, and don't leave wet towels draped all over everything.

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