College Professor Pet Peeves...
and Positive Student Behaviors

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by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.


Professors love having students in their classes who are there to actively, learn, participate, and demonstrate their commitment to learning.


And then there are certain behaviors best avoided by students in college. These behaviors drive faculty crazy and will lead to you being seen as less than the ideal student. Some of these activities are disrespectful to the professor -- as well as to your fellow students.


College Professor Pet Peeves

What are things to avoid? Here's one list:
  • Failing to come to class regularly
  • Arriving to class late (and especially making a big entrance), and worse, making a habit of it
  • Shuffling papers, putting books away, and other "end-of-class" behaviors before the professor has ended class
  • Questioning whether some of the homework for the class is just "busy work."
  • Asking if "we're doing anything important in class" when informing the professor that you may have to miss a class
  • Asking about what is happening in class when it is clearly marked on the syllabus
  • Allowing your cell phone to ring in class
  • Text messaging while in class
  • Holding a private discussion with someone during class
  • Asking inane or off-topic questions
  • Eating a meal in class
  • Telling the professor you went to his/her office for help, but that he/she is never there
  • Claiming you did not know an exercise was due, that there was a test, or any other class work that is clearly identified on the class calendar
  • Telling the professor you deserve a break because of who you are
  • Not completing the assigned reading before class
  • Going to the restroom in the middle of class (unless it's an emergency)
  • Sleeping during class
  • Complaining about the workload in class, stating "you know, this isn't the only class I'm taking"
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing (or the lack of it) to class
  • Asking to "borrow" a stapler to staple a homework assignment for the class. (Would you ask your boss for a stapler to staple a report?)
  • Turning in assignments that do not follow the class procedure (and every professor has different guidelines; know them!)
  • Making excuses for missed exams, class assignments. (Especially don't use the time-worn dead grandparent excuse, or that you have to pick someone up at the airport)


Positive Student Behaviors Professors Love

Here are the things college professors love:
  • Students who take responsibility for their education
  • Students who have read the assigned reading and actively participate in class discussion
  • Students who complete all assigned work on time
  • Students who sit toward the front of the classroom
  • Students who visit professors during office hours
  • Students who do not make excuses
  • Students who ask for help more than a day before a test or an assignment due date



Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker's Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms. Founder Dr. Randall Hansen Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of He is also founder of and He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at randall(at) Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.


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