Saturday, August 27, 2011

School Suggestions: Come to Class

This week’s tip is going to sound pretty basic, especially to all you highschoolers, but it’s amazing how many people don’t do this simple thing. One big thing that many university students don’t do is come to class.  Attendance at university is ridiculously low. I’ve been in a class where the room was always half full, until when the midterm rolled around and we had to bring in extra chairs. There was another class that had a 120 people signed up, but there were only 50 there on any given day.

I understand why people skip class. Sometimes you’ll have a doctor’s appointment or something that absolutely can’t be skipped. Sometimes you just hate that particular class, or you think that the lecture is useless and you might as well just read the book. Other times you might be just too busy with coursework to come to class. When you hit university and you’re not forced to come to class, it’s far too easy to find excuses to skip.

Before you get into that habit, I suggest you think about all the good reasons for coming to class. First of all, lots of courses have participation marks. If you don’t show up, then you loose 10-15% of your mark. That’s a lot to loose because you didn’t put your butt in the chair for three hours a week. If your class has a participation mark, attending is a really good idea.

Even if you don’t get marks for coming, it’s still important. For instance, a lot of English classes don’t have a textbook. You might study the literature, but most of the material that will be covered on the exams comes from the lecture. When I took Shakespeare I read through the plays, but my prof also lectured on the theatre itself, as well as Shakespeare’s life. If I had missed the class I wouldn’t have known that for the exam. If your class doesn’t have a textbook, it’s pretty much mandatory to come to class. At very least, get someone’s notes and look them over.

Personally, I think the ‘I’m too busy to come to class’ excuse is just a load of you-know-what. If you’re so busy that you can’t take an hour or two out of your day to go to class, you probably need to cut back on work or partying or TV or whatever it is you do. Even if you’re skipping class to do work for another class, this still means you need better time managing skills.

The last reason to come to class is that profs don’t like it when students skip. My dad finds it so frustrating when students come to him for help, even though they’ve missed almost all the classes. It’s not fair to ask the prof to help you with something one-on-one if you don’t come to the classes. Also, it’s discouraging for a prof to teach to a half-empty classroom. It’s hard for them to be enthusiastic about a subject if their students couldn’t care enough to come.

In short, attending classes is one easy thing that can help you learn, up your marks, and improve your overall university experience. Coming from someone who’s never missed a class, I strongly recommend you try to skip as few classes as possible.

1 comment:

  1. In the English classes at my university, you can only miss four classes before you fail the course. The department's reasoning with that rule is for the very points you wrote about. You just can't understand the material if you don't go to class.