College Students: Come to Class, Every Day!
Students, need some advice about how to do well in school? Here’s the most basic advice I can give you, which many students choose to ignore: come to class! Come to class every single day, unless you are truly ill (not just a cold) or you have a serious emergency that takes you away from campus. If you follow this simple attendance rule- and pay attention in class, of course- you’re going to do pretty well in school. If not, you’re in trouble.
It’s so tempting not to go to class. I know. I used to be a student, too. It feels exhilarating to be out of high school and to be able to do whatever you want. And there are so many tempting things you can do that are more fun than stepping into that classroom- especially if it’s a lousy class. So what’s the harm in sleeping in, or playing video games, or using that time to study for a test later in the afternoon?
Trust me. I taught college for 14 years. You cannot do well in school—at least not consistently—if you don’t go to all or most of the time, no matter how good a reason you have for staying away.
Sure, you can get notes from someone else, right? Well, yes, but that’s no substitute, even if the fellow student who’s helping you out is a good note taker. It’s really not. You need to be able to go and listen and catch everything that’s said, or the material won’t make as much sense to you.
It’s also important to go to class everyday to make sure you understand how all the material fits together. Professors do not create class periods as stand-alone sessions that make perfect sense if you’ve never attended before and never attend again. Class sessions are part of a series of class sessions, and they all relate to one another. Material in one class session may not make sense if you’ve missed what came before it.
And when it comes to the exam, you’ll be expected to understand how it all fits together. If you just come some of the time, and perhaps have notes from days that you missed, you’ll know lots of little bits of information, but you might not be able to explain the big picture.
So give it a try. Come to class every day, listen, and take good notes. I bet your grades will go up. When I was a student, and I made a commitment to come to class almost every time, I went from decent grades to straight As. For real. Come to class, and see what happens.