As the actor Woody Allen said, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” As the quote states, showing up to college lectures is important to the learning process. Frequently, college students are hitting the snooze button rather than heading to class. This can be an extremely detrimental habit. It is the student’s responsibility in college to attend their scheduled lectures and labs. Students should be penalized if they do not attend classes on a daily basis. This issue is highly controversial, but studies have shown that attending class is vital to the learning process.
Attendance policies vary from school to school. At West Chester University, attendance policies are determined solely by the professor. The official course catalog specifies that, “Each professor will determine a class attendance policy and publish it in his or her syllabus at the beginning of each semester. When a student fails to comply with the policy, the professor has the right to assign a grade consistent with his or her policy as stated in the syllabus.” It is very common that teachers allow up to three unexcused absences without penalization.
However, this policy is often taken advantage of by the students. Students will often refrain from going to class due to fatigue or plans with friends. In some universities, the attendance policy is determined by the university president and not professors. At Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the policy states that, “Regular attendance at course meetings and related events is expected of all students.”
Being attentive and active in the college classroom is vital and absolutely necessary in order to develop a strong relationship with the professor, who in turn recognizes the hard work that the student expends.
Elizabeth Whelan, a senior nutrition major and psychology minor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania says, “If you go to college and miss one class you will get a low grade. The more classes you miss, the more poorly you will do. My anatomy professor explained to me that [hypothetically] if I went to two out of three of his classes per week, the highest I was going to get is a 66 percent, because that is how much material I was going to absorb. I think that there is no point in paying for college if you are not going to go to class.”
Attending class allows students the opportunity to ask questions and discuss material with the professor. It also allows for further explanation on the assigned material. In class, professors use the opportunity to tell students what the next steps are as far as tests and assignments go. This cannot be done just by reading a textbook or going through posted PowerPoint slides. Some people also believe they can get all of their assignments via email or the online classroom, but actually some teachers will use class time exclusively to assign readings or other assignments. Attending class reminds the student of upcoming due dates, which approach faster than one often realizes.
In 2014, Core Principle and Crimson Hexagon partnered with each other to examine college class attendance. The study found that a whopping 87 percent of undergraduate students admitted to skipping class. Reasons for doing so were: bad weather, wanting to spend time with friends or because they were too tired. Even though studies have determined that class attendance positively correlates with good grades, students often ignore this and skip their classes anyway.
Although attending class can sometimes seem boring, inconvenient or a waste of time, research does show that it helps in the long run. Attending classes regularly allows for better grades, positive habits and more knowledge.
Amanda Saleh is a fourth-year communication studies major with minors in journalism and Arabic. She can be reached at AS821872@wcupa.edu.