For me, one of the most exciting things about college was how little time I had to spend in class compared to high school. During each semester of college, I’ve never had a day where I was in class for more than four hours, and that experience is fairly common. But even with the increased amount of free time that most college students experience, it’s usual for many students to skip classes. The temptation to sleep in or watch a movie instead of going to class is hard to resist. But I’m here to tell you that this is not a good idea! This blog touched on the importance of showing up for class, but I want to go in depth on why skipping class regularly is a bad idea.
Many professors still take attendance
Despite what you may have heard, there are still college professors who take class attendance. In smaller classes, professors may take roll call in the traditional “raise your hand when your name is called” way. In larger classes they’ll sometimes pass around a sign-in sheet. One professor who used this method of taking attendance gave bonus points at the end of the semester to students who had missed fewer than three classes. He didn’t announce at the beginning of the semester that he would be doing that—it was just a nice surprise for the students who decided to show up. I’ve even had a professor who, instead of taking attendance every day, would sporadically give out pop quizzes with questions like “What is the third letter of the alphabet?” These quizzes counted toward your final grade—they weren’t just extra credit—and if you missed one without letting him know beforehand that you’d be gone, you lost those points.
Professors may be less enthusiastic about helping you if you cut class
A teacher’s job is to do everything within reason to make sure you learn the material. If you read this blog, you understand that talking with professors one-on-one through email, phone calls, or in-person is an incredibly important part of finding success in your college career. However, you as the student have a job as well—to attend class and do everything you can to learn. If you aren’t upholding your end of the deal, it would be unfair to expect a professor to uphold his or hers. They may help you even if you do frequently cut class, but they probably won’t have the patience or thoroughness they would with a student who regularly attended. And just so you know, even if your professor doesn’t take attendance and the class takes up an entire auditorium, he or she will know who is consistently there—and who isn’t.
Your classmates won’t always be there to help you
One great advantage of modern technology is the ability to communicate with classmates online through Facebook, Twitter, and email. Since these peers are working on the same assignments and projects that you are, they can be great help if you don’t understand a reading or can’t remember a due date. I’ve frequently received emails from (and sent emails to) classmates asking about various assignments and questions. If the person asking for help just didn’t understand something explained in class or had an excuse for missing class that day, I’m happy to help in any way I can, and most other classmates are, as well. If, however, the person asking for help rarely shows up to class and is asking about something they could have figured out by just showing up to class, I feel like they view their time as more important than mine and everybody else’s. This isn’t a great way to make people want to help you.
Without your parents there to force you to go to school, the temptation to skip class can be pretty powerful. But before you decide to sleep in or play video games when you should be in class, just remember that professors do expect you to attend class whether they take attendance or not, and getting help with coursework can be much more difficult if you don’t show up. So go to class and learn everything you can!