By Paul Culp, MA (Oxon.), CFT, GCDF, CCSP

In our Fifth Commandment we met the awfully demanding and demandingly awful literature professor Dr. Y, whose ideas about study methods were highly instructive but whose notions about assessments bordered on criminal insanity. Perhaps some of our readers were taught (if that is the right word) by someone worse, though we hope in all charity that none of you have suffered as we did. Sheesh. If you haven’t read the Fifth Commandment for College success, do. You’ll understand today’s Dr. Y reference:

The Ninth Commandment for College Success: 

Thou shalt gather intelligence about teachers and register for classes accordingly.

A personal friend Dr. Y had warned me in advance that the doctor was “a wonderful human being but the worst literature teacher in the universe,” yet when I saw the good doctor’s name accompanying a section in a convenient time slot, I ignored the warning and registered for that class. I am not sure whether my friend was right about Dr. Y’s character, but if anything he was too charitable about Dr. Y’s talents as a teacher, considering the Wordsworth episode and other bizarre indignities. I learned from this harrowing ordeal to gather any information I could about professors and their methods and to try to avoid the bad apples, who are much more numerous than one would wish.

Then there was Dr. Q, who once literally threw a book at a student and who was overly fond of lewd puns and personal humiliation in seeking ways to teach the German vocabulary of wellness, illness, and personal hygiene.

While it is important not to give credence to irresponsible rumors, and always to consider the source of negative comment, a teacher with a longstanding and consistent reputation for being incompetent, abusive, vulgar, or prejudiced is probably one to shun if you can sign up to take the course with someone else. If you have to take an early-morning class, so be it.

That’s your Ninth Commandment for college success. Be sure to join us one more time. 

Getting into the college of your choice and finding the wherewithal to pay for it is wonderful. That’s what The Coaching Educator is here to help you do. But that’s not the only reason we’re here. We also try to be expert in all things related to college success, and to pass that knowledge on to our student/clients and our readers. The quest for college success begins with the college search process and continues until you take your diploma and shake hands with the president.

To learn more about our philosophy and capabilities, be sure to watch our free webinars, listen to our podcasts, sign up for our four-week College App Boot Camp, consider our Ultimate Programs and our special services for athletes and performing-arts students, and book a consultation to hear what we can do for you and how we do it. Keep reading this blog, and look for us on social media (see links below) as we keep our clients and admirers advised of new developments in our effort to help students get into and succeed at the right school.

Paul Culp is certified as a global career development facilitator and writes about college admissions, college costs, financial aid, and college life in general for The Coaching Educator team. A former journalist and corporate ghostwriter who now operates Shenandoah Proofreading, Editing & Composition Services (SPECS), he has also been a humanities teacher at all levels from university down to sixth grade. Paul has degrees from Oxford University, Jacksonville State University, and Samford University, and also is certified as a fitness trainer.


Recommended Reading About College Success

Culp, Paul. “Beyond Tuition, Fees, and Books: The Other Costs of College,” The Coaching Educator, 7 June 2018, http://tce.local/2018/06/07/beyond-tuition-fees-and-books-the-other-costs-of-college/

Culp, Paul.”Getting to Grips With Test Anxiety,” The Coaching Educator, 28 November 2018, http://tce.local/2018/11/28/getting-to-grips-with-test-anxiety/

Culp, Paul. “More Than Half of American College Students Leave Without a Degree. Here’s Why,” The Coaching Educator, 8 September 2018, http://tce.local/2018/09/08/more-than-half-of-american-college-students-leave-without-a-degree-heres-why/

Culp, Paul “The Myth and Madness of Multitasking,” The Coaching Educator, 18 November 2018, http://tce.local/2018/11/18/the-myth-and-madness-of-multitasking/

Culp, Paul. “The Prez, the Prov, the Profs, the Veep, and the Redge: Who’s Who on Campus,” The Coaching Educator, 17 December 2018, http://tce.local/2018/12/17/the-prez-the-prov-the-profs-the-veeps-and-the-redge-whos-who-on-campus/

Culp, Paul. “Remedial Nation: The Ghastly State of College Preparedness,” The Coaching Educator, 19 January 2019, http://tce.local/2019/01/19/remedial-nation-the-ghastly-state-of-college-preparedness/

Culp, Paul. “These Go to Eleven: Our All-Star Lineup of College Illnesses,” The Coaching Educator, 19 October 2019, http://tce.local/2018/10/09/these-go-to-eleven-our-all-star-lineup-of-college-illnesses/

Culp, Paul. “What the Cap and Gown Mean and Why They Matter,” The Coaching Educator, 21 December 2018, http://tce.local/2018/12/21/what-the-cap-and-gown-mean-and-why-they-matter/

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