February 26, 2017

What To Do If You Missed Class in College

The good thing about college classes is that your professors will most likely not take attendance which means they probably won’t notice if you’re not there. Especially if you’re in a large lecture class. 

missing a college class


It’s all fun and games until it’s two days until your midterm and you have no idea as to what you’re going to be tested on. YIKES.

Missing class in college is definitely not the end of the world It’s fine if you had a family emergency or you were really sick. it’s more of what you do after being absent from class that really matters. If you go about your day as if nothing happened and expect your professor to come up to you the next class to hand you notes from the lesson you missed, you’re playing yourself. It’s your responsibility to go above and beyond to try to catch up on whatever you missed. Here’s how to go about it:

Talk/Email your professor before class
Do not wait until the next class to talk to your professor about why you missed class. You should definitely call/email before then or go to the he/she’s office hours to find out what you missed. Don’t expect your professor to go over the entire class lesson again just for you thoughthat’s probably not going to happen. The most, they will do is answer questions you might have about the lesson.

Here’s a sample email to send your professor about your absence:
          Dear Professor_________________,

I would like to apologize for not being able to attend [Insert Class] on [insert date].
I had to [insert a legit reason for missing class. Keep it brief]. I received notes from the lecture from a classmate and learned that the study guide for our upcoming exam was handed out. Would you be available [insert day and time] to give me a copy of the study guide and maybe answer a couple question I have about the lecture? Thank you for your time.

[Insert Name]
[Insert Class]

Look at the attendance and late work policy
I've had professors who were very strict and followed everything on the syllabus to the last dot, and others who were a little more open to giving students a break. If you missed class the day your homework assignment was due or the day you were meant to take an exam, make sure to look at your syllabus for your professor’s policy on such matters. I once had a professor who wouldn't let me take a make-up exam unless I basically brought picture evidence of me lying on a hospital bed (Talk about doing the most). But I've also had professors who let me make-up whatever I missed with just a warning.

Yes, you missed something. No need to ask
I doubt there’s a professor who doesn't think every one of his classes is important. It’s so funny to see their facial expressions when students ask “Did I miss anything important last class?” Oh no, Sarah. You certainly didn't miss anything at all. In fact, we went ahead and stopped everything we were doing because no one wanted you to miss anything important.

You missed something okay? There’s no need to ask. Your professor might even take offense to this because you’re basically implying that his classes aren’t important. What you need to do at this point is try to find out if there were any handouts given or collected while you were absent.

Talk to your classmates
I always try to have the phone number of at least one person in every one of my classes in anticipation of times like this one. Your professor might have said something important about an upcoming exam. If you know more than one person in your class, ask them all for their notes because everyone has a different note taking styles.

I once asked a classmate for her biology notes and I basically felt like I was reading a comic book. There were so many drawings and barely any wordsI couldn't understand a thing.  It was impossible for me to make out what anything meant yet after asking her about it, she was perfectly able to explain everything. Another reason why it’s always good to ask notes from multiple classmates is because people have different ideas of what’s important and what isn't. One classmate might write down a concept they think is important, while another might not.

Next time, give your professor a heads-up
If you’re going to be absent again in the near future, definitely let your professor know in advance. You certainly don’t have to say too much about why you’re going to be missing class again, but you should provide a reason that’s going to help determine whether or not you should be allowed to submit late work or be exempted from class activities. Also, if you’re going to be absent because of a concert or something of the sort don’t bother mentioning the reason for your absence.

When you miss a class in college you take like 5 steps behind and everyone else and the more classes you miss, the larger the distance from everyone else becomes. You’re going to have so much catching up to do, you won’t even know where to even begin in order to get back on track. From never-ending reading assignments to countless lab reports, you’ll barely have any room to breathe. If this doesn't sound like something you would want to deal with, don’t make missing class a habit.

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  1. This is very important! Especially the piece about getting caught up as soon as possible because everything moves so fast in college.

    1. Definitely! College doesn't wait for anyone.

  2. I agree that this is so important! It's different from high school and no one cares if you weren't there so it's your responsibility to take care of what you missed. I have a professor who always talks about how she hates for people to ask if they missed anything because yes, obviously you missed something. The class doesn't pause for you and since a college class doesn't meet everyday, every class period is important!

    1. Exactly! All my professors also say they don't like being asked that question.

    2. Yes! I am a professor and I really dislike that question. I appreciated that you suggested that the person get the notes from a classmate. Don't expect the prof. to keep a set of handouts and lecture notes for you - get those from someone else in class. Be sure at the start of the term that you get at least 2 phone numbers/emails from classmates in case you need to be absent or have questions about the lectures and assignments!

  3. Great post Yvanne! I like that you include a template for emailing professors, a lot of students don't know how to email their professors and you've just simplified that.

  4. I am glad that I saw this post. It is informative blog for us and we need this type of blog thanks for share this blog, Keep posting such instructional blogs and I am looking forward for your future posts.ติว a level

  5. Having classmates to get notes from is SUPER helpful especially in lectures! Most of my professors are pretty understanding about missing class as long as you have a legit excuse. It's always nice to just send a quick heads up!