Skipping class is almost always a mistake.
I’ll admit it. Showing up to class isn’t always helpful in a traditional sense. Some teachers can be boring. Learning from them can be impossible. It can even feel like a waste to try. It can feel more productive to just study but it’s not.
When you skip class, you’re missing out on a ton of advantages that you might not fully be appreciating:
- Teachers will like you more
- You will get more options after making mistakes
- You won’t need to manage attendance.
- You won’t miss test hints.
- You will still learn some stuff (even when you think you won’t.)
Do you really have to spend the time to go to class? Unfortunately…
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The details are important…
Teachers Will Like You More
Teachers hate students that don’t show up to class. (Naturally, this applies less for classes that teachers can’t track attendance.)
In most classes, attendance is mandatory. They do that for a reason. They can’t teach students that don’t show up for class.
It doesn’t matter if you can still pass the tests while skipping class, teachers will still treat you like a student that doesn’t care. When your tests are being graded, your teacher is going to read your good answers and rate them worse. You’re throwing away points by not showing up.
This isn’t an easy factor to measure but it’s huge in high school. In college, it evens out a little based on less attendance taking but it’s still big.
You Get More Options After Making Mistakes
There are times when you’re going to screw up.
That’s okay. It happens.
It’s a whole lot easier to have the higher ground when that happens.
When you don’t show up to class…
If you want extra credit, the teacher is going to be a lot slower to offer it.
If you want an extension on a paper, you won’t be as likely to get it.
This is partially due to the likability factor. If your teacher doesn’t like you then you’ll struggle.
It goes farther than that though.
Teachers are more likely to give you leeway if they know you have a higher ground position. If you complain about the teacher while skipping any classes, odds are, you’re wasting your time. You can say, “this is a terrible teacher” and the teacher will be free to say, “this student barely shows up to class.” That’s an impossible to win case.
Overall, showing up gives you more options.
You Won’t Have To Manage Attendance
Showing up to all classes solves a huge problem.
How do you decide which classes to show up to and which you don’t?
You can think of a really basic strategy like:
- Show up for tests
- Show up for lectures on stuff you need help with
- Show up for the minimum classes to still pass
- Show up whenever you’re not sick
But any strategy like this comes with a ton of potential challenges:
- How do you know when stuff is rescheduled?
- You’re a terrible judge of where you’re struggling (until after the test.)
- What happens when you skip the max number of classes and unintentionally are forced to miss one?
- But what if you get really sick and need to take long periods of time off?
- Any pop quizzes?
The reality is that picking and choosing which classes to go to is hard. You need to have a student on the inside of the class to give you careful notes on everything. You have to keep notes on your own decisions you’ve made. You need to manage your future choices. Showing up is dramatically easier.
It’s just not worth it to skip.
You Won’t Miss Test Hints
The most important part of any lecture is the teacher emphasis.
When a teacher emphasizes a point, you know it’s going to be on the test. You need to get that information. Showing up for class is the most reliable method you have.
Sure… this can be managed borrowing a quality set of notes but this comes with it’s own challenges:
- Who will do it?
- How can you trust they’ll notice the important things?
- What do they want from you for it?
- You will still be less exposed to the information.
Showing up to class should be your bare minimum strategy to success in class. Skip homework if you must. Skip assignments. Don’t study for tests once in awhile. Showing up for class is a head start for everything that you decide to do. It helps with priorities in every area.
You Will Still Learn Stuff (Even When You Think You Won’t)
Some stuff will stick with exposure.
Sure… listening to a boring lecture is usually a bad way to learn. There are some strategies that you can use to improve your ability to learn. Little things like focus can make a huge difference. If you can find a way to maintain focus, despite not wanting to be there, you’ll remember a reasonable amount.
Most information won’t stick.
The reality is: you don’t need it to.
Lectures are terrible for memorization but they’re useful for finding the links between information you can remember later. It will get you familiar enough to connect the information you lock in your brain.
When Is Skipping Acceptable
As a general rule, never skip your classes.
It saves you a ton of potential challenges. You no longer have to ask yourself when you should show up and when you shouldn’t. It will just kind of happen.
There are times when it’s not horrible:
- When it’s an accident
Yes… you’ll oversleep once in awhile. Forgetting your alarm isn’t the end of the world.
Sometimes you’ll be so sick that you won’t even realize it’s class time.
Maybe you’re just caught up doing something fun and miss class.
As long as it wasn’t an intentional decision (or a repeated problem) it’s completely acceptable. Showing up to every class ensures the occasional mistake isn’t something worth stressing about. It’s just a lesson.
- BIG Problems!
Imagine telling your teacher the reason you didn’t show up for class.
If the teacher would be sympathetic then it’s not so bad to skip class. (Ideally, send the teacher an email explaining the problem BEFORE you skip class. If you don’t send it before, don’t send it unless they ask.)
These reasons can include family problems, serious illnesses, or major accidents. So… if you’re coming into the next class with a cast then it won’t hurt to skip.
- Huge Classes, No Attendance Taken, And Serious Evidence It’s Pointless
Have a teacher that shows you movies all class?
Have a teacher that lectures about their own personal life and barely scratches the material (and tells you to read chapters 1-17 for next week?)
Have a class that is so big you wouldn’t have time to count all the students in an hour long class?
Does the teacher not take attendance?
Maybe skipping is acceptable.
It’s often easier not to try and manage this decision but okay… this is a reasonable time to skip.
Overall it’s just a poor risk/reward ratio for most people.
Give up on asking yourself when it’s right to skip classes. It gets easier that way.
What do you think of skipping classes? When do you do it? Have you ever done it and regretted it later? Tell your story in the comments below.
Aaron Richardson took his grades from fighting F’s to Easy A’s. In the process, he read over 300 books on personal development. Today he’s founded 2 blogs on studying including Smart Student Secrets. He’s written 3 books on the subject. His work has been featured on some of the biggest news, psychology, and student sites on the internet.
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