Attendance policies don’t prepare students for real life
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 02:04
College: This is the time to experience newfound independence, responsibility and freedom… supposedly. The freedom aspect of college, however, is questionable. In some academic departments, strict guidelines apply to students; if these rules are not adhered to, you may fail the class.
One particular rule that several departments have put into place is an attendance policy. The English department, for example, has one of the strictest attendance policies. According to one class syllabus, “Attendance is mandatory … You can be absent up to three times before it affects your participation grade.”
I may sound like I’m just trying to find excuses to skip class, but I feel like this expectation is babying students too much. College is a place where students should learn to make their own choices without facing such concrete consequences, such as failing class because of simply missing a couple of classes.
Students should be able to make the decision on their own whether skipping class will hinder their learning experience or not.
College should be a place where students learn to manage their time more effectively to prepare them for life in the real world. After college, we will all (hopefully) find a professional career where time management and decision-making skills are important. If we are not offered the chance to practice these skills in college, we will be doomed when it comes time for us to actually utilize them.
Not only will our professional expertise be hindered from this type of babying from department rules, but it is also just the principle of the matter: If a class is too easy or boring to attend every day, it is the professor’s own fault. If a handful of students skip class each week, perhaps this should be a hint to the professor that he or she needs to amp up the class so that it is more valuable for the students.
Essentially, it all breaks down to this simple fact: Students are paying tuition for the education that they are receiving. If a student decides that he or she does not need to go to class that day, so be it. If that student fails the class because of missing important information, that is a chance for that student to learn and improve.
However, if a student can afford to miss class without experiencing a drawback, then all the more power to him or her. This is an indication that this student knows how to manage time well and knows the content of the class.
In college, students should learn to make their own choices and embrace the freedom that they get to experience. With these department-wide policies, the college experience is thwarted. I suggest students who, like me, take issue with this policy to speak to the professor.
Just as professors encourage students to take interest in the topic at hand, students may do well to encourage the professor to create a more enticing classroom environment that may be less likely for students to skip.