Should you skip class in college? The answer isn’t an easy “yes” or “no.”
Rebecca and I were both A students who had lots of fun projects on the go. We were really busy people.
In my senior year at Ohio State I was working in a Tuberculosis research lab about 10 hours a week, taking a full load of courses, planning my wedding, preparing to move to Canada, and I was driving 3.5 hours each weekend from Columbus to Pittsburgh so that I could spend my remaining time stateside with my family. It was a lot.
And when life is a lot, we have to find ways to cut back so that things go at least okay. And even though I was a straight-A student, one way I did that is that I skipped a lot of classes. But I was very strategic in which classes I cut and why I cut them.
Now I want to be clear: the majority of the time you should be going to class. The default should be “GO! Get your butt in that chair!” But that’s not always the case. So if these 7 things apply to you, it may be time to skip that class.
1. It might be a good idea to skip class if you aren’t a freshman
If it’s your first year of college, you are not ready for class skipping shenanigans, young grasshopper. Get a few semesters under your belt in which you attend every lecture and then you’ll know where you stand academically and can better evaluate whether or not you’ve got the wiggle room required to skip class.
Bonus: if you’re an upperclassman and you’re grades weren’t good in first year, you’re better off trying to bring your grades up before you start monkeying with efficiency by skipping class.
2. It might be a good idea to skip class if your prof doesn’t give points for attendance and there aren’t pop quizzes
I think this is pretty obvious: if there is an attendance grade, skipping class is a no-go. Your instructor will notice and you will lose points. There is usually an absence policy in such classes, so be sure to review it so that you know how much you can and can’t get away with.
3. It might be a good idea to skip class if you find it easy to understand the course material
This is different than finding the class difficult. I once took a challenging food microbiology class in which the professor was a really poor teacher. I found that my studying time was better spent at home instead of listening to an unhelpful lecture. I went when I could, but if something else was going on, I didn’t mind skipping out on class. The key for that class was just brute force memorization, it wasn’t terribly hard for me to wrap my head around it. Classes like that are ripe for being skipped.
4. It might be a good idea to skip class if the class is huge and the prof won’t notice
If you’re skipping a small class, the professor is likely to notice and that could affect how they grade you when it comes to exam time on a subconscious level. Also, if you want to lobby for getting grades back, they’ll be far less receptive. However, if you’re in an intro physics class with 500 people – let’s just say that I skipped entire SEMESTERS of physics lectures without issue.
5. It might be a good idea to skip class if the professor reads the slides and doesn’t add information
One of my favorite professors put blanks in her notes. It was a very understandable and excellent way to incentivize attendance. Most professors aren’t that sophisticated. And let’s be real–I can’t tell you the number of lectures I’ve sat through where the prof just read through the slides. If that’s all a professor is offering, well, they should reevaluate their teaching methods. I usually wasn’t going to their class unless I had to because of an attendance requirement.
6. It might be a good idea to skip class if you are more efficient at studying at home for the allotted class time than being in class
If a prof is reading off the slides and generally not giving good instruction, oftentimes it’s more efficient to study the slides on your own time and skip class. Now, this is going to be dependent on learning styles and all the rest of it, but if you’re going to use the 55 minutes you would have been in lecture more efficiently if you’re at the library, a coffee shop, or at home, then you’re likely better off using your time that way.
7. It might be a good idea to skip class if you aren’t an auditory learner
If you’re like me, and you learn best reading and writing, or if you’re a visual or kinetic learner, class might not be the best place for you to cement your understanding of the course material. Think through how you learn best to come up with the most efficient and effective studying method for you, whether that involves skipping class or not.
What has your experience been with skipping class? Let me know in the comments!