You probably thought that the tedious classroom rules of high school were gone forever as soon as you walked across the graduation stage, but not so fast, my friends. Unfortunately, college professors can be just as strict as the average high school teacher.
Free Range Cell Phone Usage
I don’t know about you, but I know I was so excited to finally be able to use my cell phone while in class. My dreams were quickly crushed. Unlike the generation that came before us, we young people are rather skilled at multitasking with our gadgets, and most of us are quite capable of listening to the professor while we send a quick text. Our professors, though, haven’t yet caught on to this fact.
A lot of professors tell you as soon as you walk through the door on the first day of class, “NO CELL PHONES!” It’ll be bolded, underlined, and highlighted in yellow.
Many professors have a zero tolerance level when it comes to cell phone usage in the classroom. Some enforce some pretty tough punishments like: 5-15 points off of your grade every time they catch you, embarrassing you by publicly asking you to leave for the duration of class, or even simply marking you absent for the entire day if they catch you looking at your phone during their lecture. Worse yet, if you get caught on your phone enough times, some professors will even expel you from the class, which means you’ll receive a failing grade for the semester. Ouch!
Professors Not Taking Attendance
Many students think when they go off to college they’ll be able to come and go as they please. Unfortunately, that is not so true.
Class is the one place where you can’t just stroll on in or out whenever you feel like it. You’d think that your professors would treat you like adults, capable of making your own decisions regarding your class attendance. If you’d rather read the textbook than attend that day’s lecture, that’s your choice to make, right? Think about it: If your professors are doing their jobs properly, you shouldn’t be able to skip class and still get a good grade, so if you decide to miss lectures, your test scores and final grade will reflect your lack of knowledge, right? And besides, you’re paying for these classes with your own money, so shouldn’t class attendance be your decision? Well, unfortunately for you, that’s not how most of your professors feel.
Professors reason that if they’re taking the time out of their busy schedule to show up to class, you can show them the same respect and do the same. It probably shouldn’t be their choice to make, and if colleges treated students like the adults they are (instead of just like overgrown high school kids), then they probably wouldn’t have attendance policies. In reality, though, most of your professors will have an attendance policy on their syllabus that says you are only allowed to miss class for excused reasons. Any unexcused absences are grounds for significant cuts to your grade.
In small classes, professors will take roll call just like they did in high school. In large lectures, professors will have you sign yourself in either manually or electronically. There’s really no easy way to skip class in college.
No More Assigned Seats
This rule is the most unfortunate and annoying of them all! We’re supposedly adults capable of making our own life decisions, yet some professors won’t even let us choose where we sit in class. It’s especially disappointing when you have friends in the class!
However, some professors love assigned seating. Some say assigned seats make it easier and faster to take attendance when their aid knows where exactly to look for each student. Other professors like it because if they’re teaching in a big lecture hall and see a student texting, doing work for other classes, napping, or just generally paying attention, having an assigned seating chart makes it easy for the professor to make a note of that student’s behavior after class (and make changes to their grade, accordingly).
Now that you know them, use caution when thinking about breaking the rules of the college classroom. The strictness of your college’s classroom policies depends on your school, of course, but generally speaking, you shouldn’t get your hopes up. In many college classrooms, you’ll have essentially the same level of freedom as you did in high school.