I am a college student. I know what it feels like to want to spend the day with my pillow and miss class! Sometimes it pays off, though, to be smart about what classes you are missing and when! This is a guide to determining if it is an acceptable idea to miss class or if you should force yourself to go!
Question # 1: How many days have I missed and is there an attendance policy?
This is an important question for me. Some professors have strict attendance policies, whereas others could care less if you showed up. It is important to take note of which ones keeps track. Normally they will mention it on the first day of class, and it should be on the syllabus! One of my professors has a policy that after 3 absences, 3% of your final average will be docked for each additional absence.
Question # 2: Do I have a quiz or exam on this day? Does the teacher give pop-quizzes or graded in-class activities?
If you know you have an exam or quiz, I really would not recommend skipping unless you plan to make pre-arrangements with the teacher. In addition, some teachers love to give pop quizzes, and if you are not there, there’s a 0 in the grade book.
Question # 3: Am I sick?
If you are truly, truly sick and your body needs to rest, then by all means take the day off! I would never advise someone to put academics before his/her health. In truth, though, sometimes we have to perform our daily functions when we are a bit sick. If you have a minor cold, I would just suck it up. Save those days for when you are really, really sick!
Question # 4: Does the teacher post the notes online? If not, do I have a reliable classmate that will take notes for me?
This is an important question because oftentimes professors will put lecture material on the test. You could be missing a big chunk of material, which could really hurt you on the exam. The lucky part is that many teachers post their notes online. If you were really nice to someone I am sure they would let you copy his/her notes…just make sure you do not ask that guy that snores in the back!
Question # 5: How frequently does this class meet?
This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. I have some classes that meet three times a week and others that only meet once a week. Missing the one that only meets once a week is a much bigger deal because I am missing so much more material, so that is really something to take into consideration.
Question #6: What is my grade in this class like so far?
If I am struggling in a course, I certainly want to make sure I am there. Missing class is not going to make your grade go up. If you are failing a course, I strongly recommend consistently showing up. You will perform better on exams and the professor will notice that you are putting the effort in, which will never hurt your chances to pass!
Those are the 6 basic questions I ask myself before missing a class. I know we all have those days where we just do not feel like showing up! That is ok to do sometimes, but I promise you will perform better in school if you follow this process, especially if you have a habit of missing too many classes!