In Class, It Helps to Dress to Impress

imagesLadies and gentlemen,

You may be shocked, appalled even by what I am about to tell you: how you dress for class matters. I know, I know, people shouldn’t judge a book by its cover blah, blah, blah. But let’s face it kids, the way you look matters. Although college professors are the cream of the academic crop, they are still human beings and thus cannot help but to judge what they see.

It may not bother you to go to class in sweats with morning-after hair, but let me fill you in on what assumptions go along with this careless look. If you are the messy kid in morning class, a professor will probably assume you are poorly organized, a big drinker and not very dedicated to your studies. And, he will instantly develop the picture of a kid rolling out of bed and dragging to class probably without even bothering to grab a pen.

Professors’ judgments can make a big difference in your grades. The impression that you make upon professors can translate to their final decision about your dedication to the class. This can be the difference, let’s say, between a B and a B-. If you are the sweat pants kid, you will probably receive the B- because the professor assumes you wrote your paper the night before, probably making up some of your sources or just using Wikipedia.

It may seem like it takes a lot of effort to get dressed and ready before class, but it doesn’t! Here are my top three easy steps to dressing for success in the classroom:

  1. Ditch the Sweats. Rather than waking up and literally rolling out of bed and out the door, grab a pair of jeans. This small transition can make the difference between lazy student napping in class and active participation.
  2. Fold your T-shirts. Nothing says, “I don’t care,” more than showing up to class in a wrinkly tee. It shows that mess doesn’t bother you and that you probably treat your books the same way you treat your poor, misguided clothing. The great thing about t-shirts is that you don’t even have to iron them: hang them in the closet or fold them in half horizontally before you shove them in a drawer and you will be squeaky-clean looking for class.
  3. Brush your hair. This piece of advice is definitely directed to both men and women. Please, please; please just brush your hair before you leave the house. Guys, this is really all it takes to make you look like you possibly took a shower in the morning. And ladies, if you aren’t going to brush your hair, just shave it off. No one wants to see that rat’s nest of a messy bun on top of your head. This is also just being considerate, because when that rat’s nest is on your head, the poor slob sitting behind you probably can’t see.

Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox (CAS '11) writes "Socially Yours," a social manners column, for the Quad. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is now living full time in Boston. She is studying Art History and hopes to stay on for her masters. One of her goals in life is to one day own a penguin. She would also like to stop dropping the F bomb so much -- class it up a little bit.

One thought on “In Class, It Helps to Dress to Impress

  • October 17, 2009 at 5:56 pm
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    I think that you’re being unreasonably harsh about sweats. Sweats don’t immediately correlate to someone who is disorganized, a big drinker, and who doesn’t care about school. Sweats are sometimes worn just because they’re comfortable and they’re warm and I don’t see how they present a negative image at all.

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