The lecture is the most common teaching method at U.S. college campuses, where instructors may address 100 students. However, not every professor is an effective speaker, which often inspires students to skip lectures or attend them sporadically, at best. Instead of regarding them as passive note-taking exercises, good students know how to maximize the benefits of attending lectures -- which offer an ongoing opportunity to deepen your understanding of the material that's being presented.
Better Acdemic Performance
At minimum, regular class and lecture attendance reduces your risk of adopting poor habits that impair academic performance, such as all-night "cram" sessions. To curb absenteeism, institutions like Mississippi State University are rolling out initiatives such as its Pathfinders program -- which is aimed at freshmen who struggle academically. Students who miss four or more classes are required to work with academic advisers, who help them get back on track. According to a July 2013 university news release, the program's successes include an overall increase in graduation rates from 50 to 60 percent.
Development of Academic Skills
Regular attendance implies a discipline that transfers to other courses. The effort required to take good lecture notes and process the material in a meaningful way will serve you well throughout your academic career, according to the American Psychological Society. Actively thinking about the material presented in a one- or two-hour class also means that you'll understand it better -- and spend less time reviewing it later, according to the University of Houston's essay, "The Importance of Attending Class."
Improved Preparation for Exams
By skipping lectures, you're less likely to perform where it counts -- on exams and quizzes, according to the University of Guelph's guide, "Learning From Lectures." You won't know what your instructor deems important, which reduces your ability to perform well. Borrowing classmates' notes to make up for your absence is a risky strategy, because you may wind up with incomplete or poor materials that won't help you, anyway. You also risk missing out on material that's not in your textbook.
Positive Faculty-Peer Relationships
Missing lectures means that you don't form positive connections with classmates that could enhance your learning experience -- whether it's sharing notes, joining a study group or seeking help with assignments, the University of Houston's essay asserts. You also lose a chance to build relationships with faculty members who are experts in their field. Not showing up suggests that you don't take the material or their time seriously. Such attitudes will haunt you at grading time, especially if the instructor can't connect a name to a face.
- American Psychological Society: The Observer: Encouraging Student Attendance
- Mississippi State University: MSU Attendance Program Receives Award During Anniversary Year
- University of Guelph: A Guide to University Learning: Learning From Lectures
- University of Houston: The Importance of Attending Class
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Teach Talk: Why Students Don't Attend Class
- The University of Oregon: Daily Emerald: The Price of Skipping: How Much That Single Lecture Costs You
- The University of Texas-Arlington Shorthorn: What Skipping a Class Really Costs You
- USA Today: Skipping Class: Does It Make a Difference?
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