What College Professors Expect from College Students


Unwritten rules of the academic game- subscribed to by most college instructors- state that students who demonstrate the greatest amount of motivation, interest, and hard work should be rewarded with high grades. Conversely, trying to ‘get by’ with little effort will usually result in poor grades. Below is a list of some of the behaviors that college instructors expect from students. As you can see, most of these behaviors involve the qualities listed above- motivation, interest, and hard work.

1. College instructors expect students to come to every class.

Beginning freshmen miss more classes than any other group of students. Unfortunately, this fact has a direct impact on grades. Students who attend classes regularly make better grades than do students who miss class frequently. Not attending class is a sign of lack of motivation and interest. Remember that college tests are structured to reward those who demonstrate these qualities.

2. College instructors expect students to put forth effort to understand the material and to be prepared for class.

This means that college instructors expect students to study regularly and to keep up with assigned readings. The conventional advice is that students should spend three hours studying for every hour spent in class. That means about thirty hours each week should be devoted to studying. Most beginning college freshmen cannot image studying thirty hours per week. In fact, most indicate that they expect to make a ‘B’ average or better their first semester by studying less than ten hours per week. This discrepancy between instructor expectations and student behavior will often lead to disappointment when students receive their test grades.

3. College instructors expect students work to be of high quality.

In order to produce high quality collegiate-level work, students must learn to avoid the natural tendency to procrastinate and must be aware of important dates and deadlines. An organized student will probably make better grades than disorganized students. All college students need some sort of calendar or daily planner. They also need a system for organizing their study materials (notes, handouts, syllabi, etc). Finally, they must begin working on assignments and begin studying for tests enough in advance so that their work will be of high quality. It is obvious to instructors when a student has waited until the last minute to complete an assignment or has not prepared adequately for a test. The grades students receive often reflect this fairly accurately. 

4. College instructors expect students to behave like mature adults.

Be aware that faculty members frown upon immature or adolescent behavior. Examples of behaviors that annoy college professors would include sleeping in class, having your cell phone ring in class, coming to class late or leaving early, packing up your books before the end of class, missing tests, missing appointments, and turning in assignments late. You want your professors to remember you because of your positive attributes, not for problems you might cause. Let your instructors know if you are experiencing problems that interfere with your school work. Dalton State College instructors, by and large, will work with you regarding problems that might disrupt academic performance.

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