by Olivia Hefner
Student A and Student B are freshmen in a 100-level class. Student A attends every class and develops proper study habits. Student B never shows up, but reads the book. Both students pass the class. Two years later Student A and B are in a 300-level class. Student A once again attends every class and devotes a large portion of time to the class. Student B shows up for the tests, reads the book and fails the class.
Students A and B attended a college without an attendance policy, and, in the end, they both got what they deserved. However, Student B did not waste the instructor’s time with ridiculous excuses of illnesses, “car trouble” and various other reasons because there was no reason to lie to skirt around a policy.
Students are paying to attend college and, therefore, should not be subjected to a college-wide attendance policy past the freshman year. Students who wish to waste money and not attend upper-level classes are only hurting themselves in the long run. However, freshmen are often caught up in the newness of college and actually attending classes can be tough.
In upper-level classes, having a student who shows up every other three classes and tries to make up their work compromises the education of those who do show up. Most colleges believe that having an attendance policy will prevent this, and all students will show up for classes. Not true. Students see an attendance policy as a loophole. If they can miss two classes, they’ll miss three and claim a deathly illness that kept them from class for three weeks. If the attendance policy were eliminated, these students would not need to make excuses and take advantage of the professors who are too kind to the students taking advantage of them. They simply would not show to class and would lose points for late work instead of being given extra time for “illness.”
Illness does occur, but a responsible student can e-mail the professor in ample time to explain the illness, ask for the work and have it turned in on time without an issue. The other problem is how awful these students are treating the teachers. The professors at the college are more than helpful to students who need help and offer their time and resources to make sure they succeed. When a student shows sporadically for class asking for help and time extensions, they are taking time away from the class and the professors’ time – which is not endless. They have lives, too.
The only exceptions to a mandatory attendance policy are freshmen. Freshmen should be required to attend x amount of classes, based on x amount of hours in the class. Since freshman year is full of new experiences and is really the first taste of college life, they require a little more of a rigid structure. It builds good study habits and attendance habits. If freshmen learn attendance habits in the first year, there may be fewer students like Student B in the long run taking up time, taking advantage of the teacher and taking college like a hand out.