How important is attendance in college?

‘Does attendance matter?’
‘Do we have marks for attendance?’
‘What’s the minimum attendance for which I will be allowed to give the exams?’

The record in our teacher’s attendance register about the number of classes we managed to grace our physical presence in the class rooms drive the subject of this article. Is attendance necessary or not?

Well, no matter how much the students hate this concept and crib about its very existence in the first place, attendance in fact is important. Yes, it is important to attend the lectures in college for a better understanding of what the textbooks and guides cannot provide. It is important to indulge in classroom discourses to formulate ideas and it is important to be there and learn the things for which we will be awarded an undergraduate degree in the future.

All of it being of utmost importance in relation with being present in the classrooms, we come to the next part of the question – is it necessary?

Is it a necessity to be present in a class when we really don’t want to study, already know or do not consider very important a particular topic? Is it necessary to mark our physical presence for an hour for the sake of the record register when we won’t be paying attention to what is being taught in the class?
The difference between important and necessary can be absolutely subjective. If I, being a student, believe that an internship and work experience will be more beneficial for me than the attendance, my personal perspective of the two terms might completely differ from a student who thinks that attending every class will contribute to better academic understanding which will further be beneficial for his/her academic goals.

Being in college, I perceive, the students are capable enough to know their priorities. If these students are allowed to make choices of choosing their careers and are seen capable of making the right choice, the fact that they are not given liberty to not attend classes which they think are not of importance is a self-contradictory concept in itself. In addition to that, making a certain percentage of attendance a necessity still makes sense to some extent when the college authorities do have to maintain if students are actually attending classes or not but the practice of awarding additional marks for more attendance in some colleges doesn’t make sense.

Completely getting rid of the concept of attendance is perhaps not the solution either. Removing necessity of attendance will also give liberty to that part of the crowd which is ignorant of the fact that classrooms exist. But again coming to my previous point, if a student is not willing to attend classes, even if attendance is made compulsory, they won’t suddenly start attending all classes. Certainly not with the availability of fake medical certificates. What’s good in promoting such forgery?

It is as simple as this – if someone wants to attend classes, they will. And if someone doesn’t, they will not and find ways to compensate for attendance. Making attendance a necessity will only make a slight difference which will be that the student will start attending lectures right before the exams to compensate for the low attendance. Does this serve any good to the student or contribute in any sense to his academic ability? No, because we all know how much we feel like studying when we reluctantly come to attend classes in the conclusive days of the semester. He/she will be either sleeping in the last row or scribbling designs in the last page of his/her notebook.

As an alternate solution, the minimum threshold of attendance should be reduced to a limit where students don’t feel forced to attend classes. And then again, if they don’t, it should be their choice.

A first year student of English in Miranda House, Himanshi can be best described as someone who loves to read, write and sing. She worships Pink Floyd and Kurt Cobain. When not writing quirky lyrics and articles, she can be found singing on the top of her lungs. She wants to spend her life exploring her fixation with country music and Chevy trucks while travelling and writing about it, listening to any Beatles song in the background.

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