It is 7:00 in the morning. Your alarm is ringing in your ear, it’s snowing outside, and staying under your warm covers just seems right. You dread the idea of getting up, taking a shower, and walking the whole way across campus to class. You know that it’s going to be cold, wet, and miserable out. You begin to ponder reasons for missing class in your head and excuses to give the professor. One day isn’t going to hurt you. Right?
Well, missing one or two days of class a semester isn’t necessarily going to hurt your chances of getting an A or your GPA. However, you may find that missing one or two days begins to lead to missing five or six, which is going to affect your grades. You might think that you really aren’t going to miss much or that you can make up the work. However, most professors begin to get annoyed with lack of attendance and stop offering you after class assistance.
For most professors, running a classroom in which a lot of students contribute their individual insight often keeps the information fresh and interesting. Many professors incorporate attendance or participation points into their grades. Some professors make participation in classroom exercises, questions, or discussions worth about 10% of your final grade. Others drop you one full letter grade for each absence after 3. This isn’t because they are mean or want to see you fail. This is because they want you to attend and actively participate in class.
In fact, most colleges have a strict attendance policy. If you miss more than 2 or 3 classes in a semester, your grade may be severely affected or you may even fail the class. Out of the many undergraduate classes that I took, only 2 or 3 didn’t have strict attendance policies. Those professors simply figured that the work you put in would affect the grade and knowledge you got out. However, I could almost bet those classes had a higher rate of failing or struggling students.
Professors notice a pattern with certain students and remember it. You may become known as the habitual skipper. This can come across as a lack of caring for the class, your major, or even your future. Know that if you ever want to get into graduate school or even with some jobs, you will need recommendations from professors. If you were constantly absent, that professor is guaranteed to note that on your recommendation. It is pertinent information to future employers and colleges.
I cannot even begin to count how many times I have heard students say, “I’m paying for college anyway. My professor has no right to require me to come to class.” Yes, you (or your parents) are paying for your education. However, a GOOD professor does care about what you are getting out of his/her class. You aren’t going to get the same education if you are constantly skipping. The professors that don’t require attendance probably don’t really care about student’s success and achievements either.
If you are allowed two skip days a semester, use them wisely. Don’t decide to miss two days in the first few weeks. What happens at the end of the semester when you need a day off for an appointment or if you get sick? Most professors will accept doctor’s excuses. Some chose not to.
It is okay to need a day off every once in a while. However, don’t take advantage of or start skipping class. Your future depends on it. If you received scholarships or grants, you may have them taken away if your grades fall below a certain average. Future employers or graduate schools will consider your attendance records. Start being responsible and miss class only when you have a legitimate excuse.