When I returned home from my first winter break my brother asked, “What is the best thing about being in college?” After rolling around a few answers in my head, and checking to make sure my parents were looking away, I said, “I don’t have to go to class.” He was shocked — it was priceless.
I explained that your grade might only decrease slightly if you miss class. Other than that, most professors don’t often care if you don’t come to class. Now, I usually don’t miss class unless it is excused, or I am ill. However, after having this conversation with my brother I started thinking about attendance and how important showing up really is.
Why don’t people attend class more often? After all, attending class does help. Studying and doing homework outside of class is important, but being present helps even more.
When you pay for your own post-secondary education you do reserve the right to choose whether you go or not. Yet, when you do go you increase your knowledge base, gather more skills and can develop better habits such as work ethic among others.
Yet, without fail, there are always fewer people present in class than are on the roster.
There are plenty of reasons to attend class. The most important being that you’re paying for it. Well, someone is. If we take an average credit load of 15 credits — each being a 3-credit course — on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule that counts to 480 classes in a 32-week academic year. If you are an in-state student, the average cost of tuition and fees is $7,488.00. Which equates to each class you attend being worth an average of $15.60. If you skipped a day of class once a week for one semester, 16 weeks, you would be giving the University $1,248.
Now if you are an out of state student, using the same math it would be $49.60 per class. As a Non-Idaho resident student skipping a day of class once a week for one semester you would be giving UI $3,968.67.
These numbers are a giant loss and get even bigger with more classes that are skipped or missed. When looking at opportunity costs students are missing the big picture.
With so much talk about the ever-increasing debt that students can’t pay back due to going to college, it is a student’s obligation toattend class. It is our job to learn as much as we can or not enter into a post-secondary education with no intention of making the most of it.
Attending daily classes and gaining the knowledge we need to succeed outside of our college institutions is not only what is best for ourselves, but what is best for society as a whole.
Austin O’Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org