At the start of every class, professors all around the world waste approximately five minutes to roll call a room full of adult students. Professors take attendance and participation so seriously, that it affects around 10 to 20 percent of overall class grades, leaving students with full-time jobs, families or massive amounts of homework completely stressed. Mandatory attendance is a highly debated controversy, as students are trying to juggle an education with everything else going on in their lives.
Mandatory attendance and participation should have a more lenient policy, not affecting students’ GPA — especially since most students pay out of their own pocket for their education. Shouldn’t students get to decide what they do with something they pay for? There should not be such a harsh punishment for not attending classes, especially for appropriate reasons such as sick days, mental health days, appointments, or work.
I myself have had a professor practically force me to bring a doctor’s note when I emailed her in advance that I would be absent from class. I am an adult; if the only appointment available for me is during class time, I’m going to choose my health over one lesson I can make up. And I shouldn’t have to provide an instructor — whom I barely know — a note verifying it.
Another argument against mandatory attendance is that professors miss classes too. They are allowed to miss multiple classes over the course of the quarter, with little to no penalization. However, they give us little academic mercy if we need a couple days of the quarter off.
Personally, I have near-perfect attendance, yet I am still able to see where professors and universities need to make more lenient attendance policies. UW Tacoma’s student body is filled with diverse and unique people, and each of us live different lives that deal with different events and different ways of coping. Although my opinion is that if you are able to make it to class, attend, everyone leads a different life, and there shouldn’t be any judgement or penalty for that. There just has to be a happy medium attendance policy out there.
I understand that attendance does matter, but there needs to be a more lenient policy in which students are able to work towards an education, whilst still balancing other obligations in their life. But, for the time being, make sure to attend class regularly, and get those participation points. The end of the quarter is near, and my challenge for the UWT community is to finish the quarter strong!