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Being a Student Notetaker

The Office for Accessibility coordinates a notetaker service for students, who due to a disability or disabilities, are either unable to take notes or need notes to supplement their own notes and class attendance. Students who receive this accommodation typically have a visual or hearing impairment, a physical disability, a learning disability, traumatic brain injury, or AD/HD. If you are interested in being a note taker, watch for email announcements of positions in your classes. The Office for Accessibility sends email announcements out to students registered in classes for which there is a need for a note taker, and you may apply by return email. You will receive a reply with further information and instructions.

Please note: All students MUST be cleared for campus work through Student Employment before they can be hired; please be sure to complete this process before applying for note taker positions.

Job Qualifications

The notetaker service is only effective for the student with a disability if the notetaker attends class regularly, and is actively engaged in the class. Students interested in being a notetaker should:

  • Attend class regularly
  • Have strong notetaking skills
  • Have legible handwriting or be able to provide typed notes

Notes Should Include

  • Main points of lecture
  • Explanations, examples, and comments given by the professor and other students, as appropriate
  • Information from the blackboard or overheads
  • Details about exam dates, quizzes, papers and other assignments
  • You do not need to provide personal notes from readings or notes that you have created for studying or writing papers

Delivering Notes

You will need to submit notes by email each week that class is in session, as soon as possible after the last class of the week - by 4:00 pm Friday at the latest. (For classes/labs that occur late on Friday, submission is expected by Monday morning). For certain types of courses (Math, Science, etc), submission after each class is preferred to weekly submission, and may be required in some instances. Failure to follow through with delivery will result in job termination. If you are ill and unable to attend class, it is your responsibility to obtain the notes from a classmate and submit them to our office in a timely fashion. 


Student disability information is confidential. Therefore, notetakers will not always know the identity of the person for whom they are taking notes. However, there may be instances where the student with the disability will share his/her identity in order to collaborate with the notetaker. In this case, the notetaker is expected to keep information confidential.


Effective Notetaking

  • Notetaking is a skill which takes practice and which involves effort. Notetaking is meant to provide a written record for review which requires an active effort on the part of the listener to condense, rephrase and organize information in a short period of time. There are several steps that you can take to improve your notetaking skills.
  • Sit front and center. Your vision and hearing are better, and there will be fewer distractions.
  • Review the previous class notes and think through what has happened in class to date.
  • Tune in and be selective about what you write down. Some things are more important than others are. Be alert for speaker emphasis through tone or gesture, repetition, and use of cue words such as remember, first, finally, usually, however, but, most importantly, etc.
  • Don't try for a verbatim transcript, but do get down all of the main ideas and record some details and illustrations.
  • Paraphrase and develop a suitable system of shorthand - be consistent in its use
  • Leave plenty of white space on the page for later additions
  • Note speaker's organization of the material being presented and reproduce it in your notes. Use an outline format, indentation, underlining, circles, etc. to indicate relative importance of information
  • Underscore or "*" major points