College and University Blog

The Importance of Attending Class

Class attendance facilitates learning in a variety of ways. Lectures supplement reading assignments. Classroom presentations present information differently than the text. Discussion and elaboration of topics provides current information that may not be found in the textbook. Hearing the comments and questions of others can answer your questions. Instructors can use class discussion to enhance critical thinking skills. They can pose questions that require students to make connections between concepts and relate what they are learning to real life. The more students analyze and examine material, the better their retention will be. As you can see, attending class on a regular basis gives you much more than just credit for attendance.

Most people who fail a course did not attend classes regularly. Regular class attendance requires discipline and time management skills. These skills are beneficial no matter what career path you choose. Attending class also increases a student’s interaction with a variety of faculty members. This raises the likelihood of finding mentors and roll models who can help guide their academic, career, and personal development.

Students seem to be aware that class attendance is important. In a recent survey, only 8 % of students reported that getting class notes from a missed class is as useful as attending class. This 8 % who thought borrowed notes were as good as going to class had significantly lower reported grade point averages than those who valued class attendance more than borrowed notes. Also reported was a strong relationship between the number of absences and the final course grade. Even though the majority of students reported that attending class was important, about two-thirds said that they would miss more classes if they could get missed notes directly from their instructor.

Students miss class for a variety of reasons. Some of the most frequent reasons are because they need to complete other course work, find the class boring, are ill, or have social obligations.

Some professors are very textbook-oriented. You will run into some who read the text rather than provide extraneous information in their lecture. You may think this is a waste of your time to attend class. It is not. While your instructor is reciting the text, you are hopefully absorbing the information and in turn, decreasing your study time later on. If you pay attention in class, you may be surprised by how much you can cut your study time later on. No textbook can explain something to you like another person can.

Some professors are not textbook-oriented at all. They lecture their own material and the textbook is used for clarification of concepts. In a class like this, test questions will more than likely be based on lecture note, not the text. Good notes are what will save you. You won’t have good notes if you don’t attend class.

Regardless of what kind of professor you have, keep in mind that lectures are a continuation. One follows the other – if you miss one and don’t get the notes, you will be missing chunks of information. Since most information is cumulative, this can lead to your not grasping entire concepts.

Students who attend class on a regular basis do better in class. Engaged students do not just fill a seat. They participate in class discussions and ask appropriate questions. Missing an occasional class is not the end of the world. Professors understand that you may become sick or have other legitimate reasons to not be in class. If you come to class on a regular basis and participate, your instructor will know that missing class is not the norm for you. Let your professor know that you will not be in class. Get class notes from a fellow classmate.

Some college faculty believe that students should be allowed to decide whether to attend class. Others believe that attendance should be mandatory. Regardless of your opinion, expectations regarding attendance should be clearly explained for each class. Attendance objectives should also be attainable. Students are often more willing to comply with policies when they understand why the policies exist. Communicating attendance expectations conveys a level of adult-to-adult respect between students and faculty. Remember, there may be consequences for missing class. These consequences should be conveyed along with attendance policies.

Skipping class can be a fast track to poor performance, increased stress and anxiety, lower GPA’s, dropping classes, and even dropping out of school. Realize that going to class is not a decision that needs to be made. You go. Period.