The difficult decision of a college student

Classroom attendance. Photo Courtesy of Gail Fredericks

Classroom attendance.
Photo Courtesy of Gail Fredericks

By Gail Fredricks| Published March 3, 2017 

As a college student, it’s always interesting to see the difference in number of students in the classroom in the beginning of the semester from the number of students still standing strong towards the end of the semester.

Earnest and eager, it’s like the first day of kindergarten. We all dress in our best clothes, our hair is in place, and our notebooks and pencils are fresh out of their packets and ready to be used. Fast forward a couple of months, it is a completely different story. Our best clothes have turned into sweatpants and pajamas, we fail to even look in the mirror before leaving the house and our notebooks have been replaced by our cell phones.

According to an article in USA Today, most colleges have given the power to the professors to implement their own attendance policy for their classes. On average, most professors believe to do well in a class and get the best grade, attendance is mandatory. A lot of student and even some professors disagree.

There seems to be a lot of miscommunication when it comes to trying to figure out why students do not attend their classes. Some professors assume students are just lazy, others are more understanding if presented with a valid excuse why their students are missing classes.

According to a survey done by the “Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” “Why Students Don’t Attend Class,” there are four factors that help students decide whether or not to attend class. They are: whether the students expect to learn from the lecture, the difficulty of the class and the material, how the lectures will relate to tests and/or homework and how interested the students are in the subject matter.

Who wants to go to a class where they aren’t learning anything? It’s pretty safe to say most college students would rather have that extra hour or two of sleep than attend a class where they feel they aren’t benefiting.

If a student is not challenged by the material or what is being taught in class won’t be on a test for a grade, students could use that time to work on other classwork or assignments for other classes they may be struggling with. Especially if a college student is working, as most are, time is of the essence when it comes to making time for more assignments they find more difficult or time-consuming.

From experience, one can sit in a lecture for three hours of their day twice a week and when it’s time for a test, none of it what was spoken about in class relates to the test. Everything will be out of the book, if there is one. Students feel that lectures should be aligned with what appears in the homework and on tests.

As with anything in life, the more interested you are in something, the more effort you’ll put into trying to gain knowledge about the subject. Some professors go out of their way to try to spark interaction among students and get them excited about the subject matter. Other professors, have accepted their fate and drone on each week with no mercy on the ears of the students they are robotically lecturing to. It’s simple. Most of the time, if a professor is passionate and excited about the subject they’re teaching, there’s more of a possibility the students will be too.

It is true. Some students really are lazy. Some students really do not care. However, students who understand the value of their education and find it in their best interest to attend the classes they are paying for. A student who frequently misses class may decrease their chances of receiving a high grade in a given course.

However, as adults, we are given the choice to attend college. We are given the choice to spend thousands of dollars to receive a degree. By paying that money, we have the right to choose how many classes we attend, and our grade will show for it. As adults, it is our prerogative whether we want to utilize the classes we register for efficiently and get the most out of it. At the end of the day, it is our choice. As Laura Quinonez said in her article, “Taking Attendance in College is Ineffective and Inconvenient,” “Taking attendance doesn’t make students learn, it just makes them present.”

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