Q&A: What Information Should I Include in My Student Bio?

Answer: This is a great question. When I was in college (face-to-face classes), I don't remember giving more than my name and major/career choice on the first day of class. However, usually in a ground or traditional class, you get to know your classmates over time. Online colleges and universities want to make sure students have a similar experience with online classes. The goal is for the students to feel like a collective student body, so they can communicate and collaborate with one another. Creating a student bio is a way to begin doing this.

When writing a student bio for college, you should include the following information in 100-200 words (1-2 short paragraphs):

  1. Name and nickname (i.e. Elizabeth/Liz). If you prefer to go by another name, let the class know (as long as it's appropriate). One time a student asked me to call him "Shorty" and my response was "no." Please stick to formal names.
  2. Your major and minor (if applies). You'll be surprised to see how many students in your courses may have the same major or are in the same degree program.
  3. What you plan to do after graduation. State if you are going back to school for a bachelor's, graduate or doctorate degree.
  4. Share any experience you've already had in the field. For example, if your major is nursing and you've worked as a caregiver or in a hospital before (or currently), make sure to share this. If your major is teaching and you've worked in a daycare, preschool or with school-aged children, it's relevant to include this as well.
  5. Where you live and where you are from. Many times, online students are in different states or different countries, so it's exciting to find out where others live. However, you may live closer to another student than you expected. This can give you the opportunity to form a study group or refer to each other for questions.
  6. Your family. You can state who you live with, if you have children, etc.
  7. Lastly, share what you hope to learn/gain from the course. If you are taking English, you might say "I'm looking forward to becoming a better writer" or "I'm hoping to learn more about grammar."

Remember, the point of student bios is for you to meet other students and for them to get to know you, so share interesting information.

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!