Each professor runs class differently, but they all need respect. Regardless of how the student perceives the professor or content, the fact still remains that your student's grade at the end of the semester counts just as much as all of the other ones. Slacking in a class just because they don't like the subject or they don't think it applies to their major doesn't pay off, and a lot of students learn that the hard way. Understanding what faculty members expect of students is something you can help them learn.
Attendance and participation
It's true that some professors don't take attendance, but they generally know when a student is there. Failing to show up for class has detrimental effects on a grade, whether or not participation is a part of it.
Many professors stick to their syllabi but add small assignments here and there, and unless all syllabus changes are put online, one of the only ways your student will be able to get the new assignment is by being present in class. Several small grades add up to one large grade, and a professor is much less likely to give a break to a student who regularly misses papers or other graded material.
Participating regularly helps students gain a better understanding of the subject. Being engaged in what a professor is saying or adding to a group discussion not only helps the student remember what was taught over the course of the semester, it also contributes to the class as a whole. At Furman, many professors give a participation grade.
Coursework and plagiarism
Plagiarism is a more serious offense than many students realize. Computers make it so easy to cut and paste from the Internet that it doesn't seem like a big deal, when in fact, it is. Taking quotes from other sources is one thing—it shows the student is researching the material and trying to gain several perspectives—but putting quotation marks around the quote and correctly citing the material is absolutely necessary.
It is also necessary to cite paraphrased material. Any information that is not an original idea needs to be properly explained as someone else's. This can get a little confusing, but any professor would be happy to clarify the difference. Students are also expected to do their own work. Unless it is specifically stated by a professor that students may work in groups, all assignments are to be completed by students.
Respect in the classroom
There are a few obvious things a student shouldn't do in the classroom, like talk while a professor or another student is talking, pass notes, or text. Beyond that,many new college students need to learn how to be properly respectful of both their professors and classmates during class discussions.
College is a place for exchanging ideas, so, of course people are going to disagree with one another. Disagreeing with a student or professor during a class discussion is fine, and so is stating personal opinion. But students need to make sure that what they are saying isn't offensive to the people around them, especially when talking about issues that carry emotional weight. Encourage your student to keep discussions on an intellectual level, and never purposely insult another person. A degree of civility is respected—and expected—by both classmates and professors.
Better understanding what faculty members expect will help your student be a more successful, not just in terms of grades, but also when it comes to connecting with a knowledgeable adult on campus, learning subject matter and figuring out how to put learning into action. Classes aren't a chore to be endured. They're the primary reason your student is sitting in a classroom. Help them make the most of this privileged opportunity.
A deadline is a deadline
Many of today's students view deadlines as suggestions rather than set rules. Yet, many professors see deadlines as actual deadlines. Learning to abide by these deadlines is an important part of your student's education. There's not as much wiggle room as they may think.