Before you take a seat on the first day of class, you may want to consider the importance of classroom real estate – your grade may depend on it! Although there are no proven studies that connect classroom proximity to success, your placement in the classroom determines how you interact with your classmates and most importantly with your professor. As a senior that’s been through it all, classroom participation is the key to any professor’s heart and ultimately your grade. From one fellow college senior to you, here are some of my firsthand tips on where to sit in class based on professor habit and your personality.
Class seat #1: Distraction zones
This zone tends to be the furthest away from the board and by the window. Sure the window seating has an amazing view, but beware: you may be paying more attention to what’s happening outside the class than in the class. When sitting here, it’s best to angle your body facing towards the professor so that even when you do take a moment to gaze outside, you’re less likely to gaze for too long.
I’ve come to notice that the social groups settle towards the back. Seeing as how professors don’t have supersonic hearing or eye-sight, phone use, chatting or surfing the web is easier to get away with. While it may seem fun and tempting, keep in mind that the professor understands this tactic all too well and may call on the students in the back more than anyone else in the classroom. If you find the need to talk, talk during class discussion. If not, be prepared when the instructor calls you out because chances are: you will be.
Class seat #2: The spotlight
All eyes are on you! My least favorite section in class and typically the least desirable. Not only will the instructor notice everything you’re doing, but so can the entire class! However, from the 4 times I’ve sat in the front row, I have found some positives from this area. Since you’re feeling more pressure, you’re more alert. The more alert you are, the easier it is for you to absorb what is being taught. Not only are you learning better, you have a better opportunity over the rest of the class to build a positive rapport with the instructor. Work your charm!
It’s best to stay away from this zone if you just can’t stay away from your phone or if you haven’t caught up with your homework, especially reading. If you are caught up, know your material, or just really want to understand it, have no fear and take a seat at the head of the class.
Class seat #3: Mid-zone aka conformity zone
This is typically where you’ll find me. Close enough to stay an active participant in class discussions, but camouflaged in where I can sneak in a small mental break (let’s face it; some classes are just so boring!). This section gives a good balance of classwork motivation and socialization. You’re surrounded by your classmates that you can work and socialize with, and you can still maintain a close distance or rapport with your instructor.
Class seat #4: Blind spot
This is probably my second least ideal seat in the classroom. This section is typically the last seat of each row. Why do I call these areas the Blind Spots? Most instructors tend to look more down the center of a classroom, and less at the polar ends. While this could be a good thing for some, you distance yourself from the instructor and socializing with your classmates (except the one person next to you). Good thing is that you have more space to stretch, and you’re probably close to the nearest outlet to plug in your laptop. Lucky!
Where do you consider to be the perfect spot to sit in the classroom? Share with us why in the comments!