Sitting in the "Nosebleed" Section

Why do I always choose to sit in the back rows of lecture halls when professors insist that students learn more at the front? Well, it's not because I want to talk or sleep through the class. As a matter of fact, the constant chatter and light snoring often associated with students who sit in the back drives me absolutely crazy-- but yet I do nothing about it. After some thinking, I came to the conclusion that I feel like I'm under constant pressure when I sit in the front. I hate making eye contact with professors because I don't want to be called on. I don't sit in the middle because I always feel like I'm in someone's way. When I sit in the back, I can see everything that's going on, I know that I'm not bothering anyone, and I'm close to the door if I need to quietly excuse myself.

This made me wonder about the correlations between student seating preference and academic performance. My internet browsing brought me to a USA Today article about what a student's seating preference says about him/her. It brings up a few interesting points-- one of them being that students who choose to sit in the front of the class may develop better relationships with their professors, but they won't necessarily perform better academically. One interviewee, the Dean of Academic Services at York College of Pennsylvania said that seating choice has no impact on her perception of a student's work ethic and that she has "had some very talented students sit in the middle and back of the classroom near the door."

So what do all of you think? Where do you prefer to sit in the classroom and why?


I normally like to sit in the front or middle of the room but to be honest it depends on the class. I will more likely sit in the front in classes that I am more comfortable in and am therefore more willing to participate. This kind of goes along with the point you made that students could feel more pressure when sitting in the front of the class. Maybe I am willing to sit in the front because I am comfortable enough that I am not turned away from the pressure. Simultaneously, in classes that I am not comfortable in, sitting in the front is the last thing I do. I guess it all depends on the situation.

Many professors do believe that the students who sit it the front learn more and According to Dr. Bob Kizlik, former faculty member at Florida Atlantic University, "seating in the front will improve your success in class because you become comfortable with your area and fewer distractions are likely to occur." However, I dont think this is always true. I actually feel more comfortable sitting in the back of the class and still able to focus on what the professor is teaching. You can easily get distracted in the front just as much as the back.

Are students said to be more successful in the front because professors pay more attention to them, or because the students who sit there are more eager to learn? I feel like students (such as yourself) who sit in the back and want to learn don't necessarily get the attention of the professor like the students who sit in the front do. I'm similar to you, Nick, because I come to class to learn, but I feel uncomfortable in the front. I feel safer in the back because I know I won't be seen or called on. Is less expected from the people who sit in the back? I do, however, try to sit close to the front even though it's uncomfortable, because other students in the back around me talk and are distracting. I guess it is true that people in the front are generally more focused! Doctor Robert Wallace suggests a direct relationship between classroom seating and GPA. He stresses the importance of sitting in the front, where students apparently take more notes, participate more, and have better study habits. What do you guys think about this? Is where you sit really THAT important?

I thought this was an interesting topic to write about because I've wondered about it myself. I'm a good student- I get As and Bs- but I don't see a problem with sitting in the back. Like you said, I like to see everything that's going on. They say that if you sit in the front, the room seems smaller... I disagree. I still know I'm in a huge lecture hall regardless of where I sit. I'm not one to raise my hand very often in class, so I don't need to be up front for that purpose. I have wondered if it would help me pay attention to sit further up front, but I'm usually too intimidated. As a freshman who went to a very small high school - 43 in my graduating class - I'm still getting used to the idea of a 300 person class. I researched the topic a little too and in an article from, Dr. Paul Adams stated:

"It's clear students tend to do much better in class when they sit close to the front (the closer, the better) because they become more engaged in the class," Adams says. "Of course it's not the sole determinant, but it's in the mix. It's a strategy we suggest because it works."

Adams argues that it's only part of the equation- so I think that maybe people make too big of a deal out of where in the classroom we sit. If we can pay attention from the back of the room and we do sufficient studying outside of class, what's the problem?

I'm curious to hear from someone who sits up front and thinks it really contributes to their success in the class.

Personally, I also like sitting in the back in my lecture classes. I always get to class early but I never thought about why I chose to sit in the back. I thought about it and came up with my reason. I sit in the back because I am a people-watcher. When I get bored, I start looking around the room at what other people are doing. I find it interesting how many kids have their heads down napping, the ones watching youtube or on pintrest, or the students actually paying attention to what the teacher is saying and taking notes. Sitting in the back makes me only listen to the important points a teacher emphasizes which probably is not a good student tactic. I think that sitting near the middle where you have less distractions would call for higher grades but I honestly think in the end it all depends on the student.

I don't give too much thought to where I will sit in a classroom, whether it's a large lecture hall or a small room. More often than not, I end up toward the front in the first 3-4 rows, and sometimes in the very front row (SC200). I started this class in the last row. Everyone around me created a buzz of chatter and it was difficult to hear Andrew's lecture. Since this class is about more than just looking at the slides, I knew I needed to make my way up to the front. Ever since my move, I have understood the topics we've gone over much better than in the beginning.

I think the location of your seat depends on the class and how it is taught. With a professor who puts everything on his slides or a course that requires most of your reading outside of class, you could literally sit anywhere and get the same grade.

Remember, Andrew only calls on you when your hand is raised, so you could try the front row out in THIS class to see if it is to your liking!

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