If You Need to Miss a Class

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify strategies for obtaining content from a class you missed
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Class attendance is obviously important for academic success, but from time to time you may need to miss a class. Sometimes it can’t be helped. Since college classes have fewer sessions than high school, missing one class means you could fall behind in the course. If you have to miss class, then it’s up to you to make sure you get the information that you need to make up for not being there.

The following strategies can help you minimize the academic impact when you can’t attend a face-to-face class or an online meeting:

  • Make a plan: Although nobody can plan to be sick, students should give their instructors advanced notice if they know they will need to miss class for something like a doctor’s appointment. This notice is not only a respectful courtesy; the teacher may be able to give you any handouts or assignments that you might otherwise miss. If you anticipate that class will be canceled on account of bad weather, etc., make sure you have all the materials, notes, etc. that you need to work at home. In college, snow days are rarely free days—i.e., expect that you will be responsible for all the work due on those days when school reopens.
  • Talk to fellow students: Ask to borrow class notes from one or two classmates who are reliable note-takers. Be sure to also ask them about any announcements or assignments the instructor made during the class you missed. Some students will exchange phone numbers so they can text one another if they miss class. Whenever you are in a group, try to network with your fellow students so you can support one another should an emergency prevent you from being in class.
  • Complete the homework. Even if you have advance notice that you won’t be able to attend the class, complete the homework as if you were. Take notes on any readings to be discussed in the class you missed. If you have questions on the reading or homework, seek help from your classmates. Completing the homework and coming prepared for the next session will demonstrate to your instructor that you are still dedicated to the class. You will also not fall behind and stay current in the course.
  • Watch or listen to the recording: If you missed an online meeting, be sure to listen and watch the recording (if one was created). Be sure to connect with your teacher and/or a fellow student if you have any questions.

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