Why Go to Class?

Learning Outcomes

  • Explain why regular class attendance class is important

What is attendance?

Attendance is being present in class, and depending whether you’re taking a class online, in-person, or a combination of both, your teacher will give you information on how this is measured on your syllabus or you may be able to find the information in your college handbook. For example, the Student Handbook of Ivy Tech in Indiana, defines “attendance” as the following:

Regular attendance is expected at scheduled class meetings or other activities assigned as part of a course of instruction.

  • Attendance records are kept by instructors.
  • When personal circumstances make it impossible to attend scheduled classes and activities, the college expects students to confer with instructors in advance.
  • Instructors can offer students the option of making up the material missed.
  • Absences may be considered by instructors in awarding grades.[1]

As you can see from this list, your attendance is important. Even if instructors allow a certain number of unexcused absences, you should still aim to attend every class session.

What happens in class that helps your learning?

You might wonder why it’s important to measure a student’s attendance. Class attendance enhances class performance in the following ways:

  • Engaging as a class participant: If you don’t attend class, you can’t participate in class activities. Class activities are usually part of your final grade, and they can help you apply concepts you learn from lectures and reading assignments.
  • Building community: Your interactions with your peers and the teacher is important. If you rely on learning on your own (by doing the reading assignments outside of class, for example), you’ll miss out on class discussions with fellow students. Your classmates will often have the same questions as you, so going to class enables you to learn from them and to ask your instructor about topics you find difficult.
  • Benefiting from interacting with the instructor: There is a reason why classes are taught by instructors. Instructors specialize in the subjects they teach, and they can provide extra insight and perspective on the material you’re studying. Going to class gives you the chance to take notes and ask questions about the lectures. Also, the more you participate, the more your instructors will come to know you and be aware of any help or support you might need. Getting to know your instructors will make you feel more comfortable to approach them outside of class if you need advice or are struggling with the course material.
  • Increasing your learning: Even though you will typically spend more time on coursework outside of the classroom, this time outside of class makes class sessions even more valuable. Typically, in-class time will be devoted to the most challenging or key concepts covered in your textbooks. It’s important to know what these concepts are so you can master them—also they’re likely to show up on exams.

Try It

  1. "Student Handbook." Ivy Tech Community College. https://www.ivytech.edu/studenthandbook.