By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
One of the main reasons anyone goes to college is to become a professional in their field of study, but that does not mean that you should not strive to act like a professional the very moment you start school. Whether you are fresh out of high school or have been out of school for an extended period of time, the college classroom is a very different environment from anything else you are used to. It is extremely important that you do everything in your power to act professionally at all times. Acting professionally not only improves your collegiate experience, but also the experiences of your classmates and professors.
What exactly does it mean to “act professional?” Below are some tips. Many of these are common sense, but that does not mean that they are not worth mentioning.
- Use a professional email address at all time. The easiest way to do this is just use some combination of your name and numbers. It is highly inappropriate to use email addresses that do not portray yourself in a professional manner. Many schools provide you with a campus email address, and it is advisable that you use that one anytime you are interacting with someone on campus.
- Use proper grammar in written communications. This may sound obvious, but you should never use “texting” grammar when writing emails, posting to forums, etc. Also, the use of emoticons can be professional in a very limited capacity. They should never be used excessively.
- Do not be afraid to engage in discussion, but do not take it to an unfavorable level. College is a place for you to hear diverse opinions on many important subjects. There will be many times where you disagree with what a professor or classmate has to say. There is nothing wrong with debating, but this should be done in a professional manner. If you are engaged in a debate, use logic, reason, and understanding.
- Stay engaged in the classroom. If you are not completing your work and contributing weekly to the class, you are not being professional. As a college student, you have a duty to make the classroom a better and more informed place. There is no possible way to do that without staying engaged.
There are many other things that one could do to act professional in and outside of the classroom. As stated before, many of these things are common sense. Anyone who truly wants to represent themselves in a professional manner should not have a hard time doing so.