Prioritizing responsibility helps students learn dependability, not attendance policies

October 31, 2017

Jasmine Nelson

[email protected]

    Classes with strict attendance policies can be unpopular among many students.

    Students argue that we’re adults; we should be able to decide whether we will be able to turn in A-worthy assignments without making it to this Wednesday’s 9:25 a.m. class.

    Many professors feel that an attendance policy with severe consequences prepares their students for “the real world,” where you get fired if you don’t show up.

    There is merit to this point of view – some students might fail if they aren’t forced to attend class. Strict attendance policies make those students learn the material they otherwise wouldn’t be able to on their own.

    But there is one significant difference between classroom attendance and job attendance.

    Many students already are in “the real world.” Your job pays for your immediate survival, but your art history class does not.

    Students have to learn to balance priorities and know how to get everything done, but that doesn’t always mean choosing a lecture over every other responsibility.

    One of the most important skills we learn in college is how to be reliable, but class attendance policies are not what helps us to develop that skill. It is the prioritization of the responsibilities in our lives despite those policies.

    Prioritizing our own responsibilities is how we’re shaping ourselves for the rest of adulthood. Oftentimes, attending class is highly important. After all, there is a reason that we pay so much in tuition to attend lectures for four months.

    But sometimes, it’s smarter to prioritize other responsibilities, and make up for missing our lectures by closely reading our textbooks, doing additional research online and visiting one of the Excel Centers on campus if we need help.

    According to a Harvard study, only 60 percent of students attend lectures, showing that many students don’t find it important to attend class on a weekly basis.

    Being a reliable person influences most aspects of a student’s life. Those who know how to manage their time and priorities earn higher grades

    Reliable employees are offered promotions and trusted with more responsibility. Reliable students aren’t just working a job or taking classes; they’re building a career, consistently and dependably.

    Reliability is not about saying yes to any and every offer that comes your way. It’s about prioritizing effectively and being straightforward about what commitments you can be responsible for.

    Maintaining a full course load and a full-time job to support themselves or their families is how UCCS students learn dependability. Being the first person in their family to achieve their educational goals and earn a college degree is how UCCS students are dependable.

    Taking care of their families, starting careers, paying the bills, joining a club and finding the time to finish homework and study for exams are the responsibilities UCCS students can be counted on to take care of.

    Doing away with attendance policies could help students further develop these skills. Students who don’t attend class regularly quickly realize that behavior is misguided and learn to decide what priorities are important.

    Teaching students the importance of reliability and dedication is important. But students who show up to class begrudgingly, and who don’t engage with the material aren’t learning from their classes as much as they would if they understood the value of in-class participation on their own.