The Twenty-Three Unwritten Rules of College Etiquette (page 3)
All colleges, no matter where they are located and no matter how big or how reputable they are, share some similar "rules of the road." These rules are really more about interpersonal interactions in college than they are about college itself. Nevertheless, the failure to abide by these simple rules gets students into heaps of trouble with their peers every year.
Respect And Follow Your School's Honor Code
This is at the top of the list, because it is the most important rule of all. Don't cheat.
Even if you don't get caught, nothing will kill your reputation with your classmates faster than hearing, anecdotally or otherwise, that you were willing to cut corners to bail yourself out.
Go To Class And Get There On Time
It is disrespectful to your professor and distracting to your classmates to walk in to a lecture or seminar late. Sure"everyone is going to screw up every now and then, but don't make it a habit. It is rude, and if you do it too often, your professor will notice and may dock your grade for it.
Similarly, you should do everything you can to avoid missing class. If you don't think the professor has something valuable to teach you about a subject and can do so skillfully, don't take the class.
Be Prepared For Class And Be An Active Participant
A large part of the learning experience in college is what students teach each other, both inside and outside of class. If you have a question about a subject in lecture, raise your hand, wait to be called on, and ask it. Chances are, others are confused on the same point and will be grateful to you for stopping the train.
If it is a seminar or small-group class and your professor routinely solicits your active participation"then participate! Don't be afraid that you'll say something stupid. The only way to learn and gain confidence in learning is to stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Don't assume that the people who are talking actually know more than you do. In all likelihood, they are just more confident.
Don't Monopolize The Discussion
Having said that, no one likes the person who doesn't know when and how to shut up. Inevitably, there will be someone in your class missing this social filter - who thinks that his or her opinion on every minor point should be voice - who has his or her hand raised from the minute class begins until after it ends, and then also monopolizes the professor after class. This is the person who makes every question into one of politics or religion or whatever his or her hot-button issue might be.
Don't be this person.
Keep A Lid On Religion And Politics
Unless you are actually taking a religion or political science or political philosophy class, or have actually been invited to do so, try to keep a lid on your personal political and religious views. Nothing will polarize people to you faster than getting a reputation for being a screeching knee-jerk liberal, an unthinking gun-toting conservative, or a religious zealot (no matter what your faith). And once you have this reputation, it will follow you everywhere"into your other classes, into the dorms, and into your social life. If it is germane to the classroom discussion, then by all means express your views and listen to others. But do so with care.
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.
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