Online or Campus-based, Make a Course Syllabus Your Best Friend

Different professors can put varying degrees of effort into their course syllabi, but in almost every case, such a course outline is provided to students at or near the beginning of class.  Many professions will urge you to read or even ask you to sign off that you have read the course syllabus, which would likely indicate that it’s important to them.  And these same professors typically won’t be happy if you show by asking questions that are answered somewhere within that outlined course structure that you haven’t read the information they’ve provided to you by way of a syllabus

A syllabus is provided to you’re for a reason, and like a guidebook to your semester in a particular class, you’re likely to find certain pertinent information that can affect your overall success within a course.

What You’re Likely to Find in a Syllabus

There is certain information that is likely to show up in your course syllabi.  And while this information can vary from class to class and professor to professor, here are some of the more common items you might discover in a syllabus:


  • Course description and subject matter
  • Rules and regulations
  • Necessary course materials, books and manuals
  • Dates and timeframes
  • Contact information, group help options, pertinent websites and support
  • Major project outlines
  • Grading scale and curve (if there is one)


Why It’s Important to Have Read the Syllabus and Understand its Contents

Having read and understood your course syllabus can be important for a multitude of reasons.  First off, it illustrates to your professor that you care enough to have taken time to review what he or she may have taken hours to write out for you.  This could pay off down the road if you happen to encounter issues in the course and require a professor’s assistance or possible empathy.

Having read a syllabus may also keep you from asking questions that annoy the professor because the answers have already been provided to you in the syllabus.  It could also keep you from looking bad when the professor rips you apart in front of classmates for making such an error.

A syllabus might also act sort of as the professor or student aid when the professor isn’t around.  It may provide dates, times, project outlines, goals, homework and reading assignments, class outlines, and all sorts of other information and data for when you might not have the option or ability to ask someone else.  This can not only be a time saver, but a grade saver as well, keeping you from mistakes that could affect your overall success in a course.