As the semester has progressed, the size of each of my classes has shrunk rapidly. Every day fewer and fewer people show up to class, to the extent where there are sometimes fewer than 50 people in a lecture that is supposed to have 220 students.
Sure, there are times when you really want to just leave class or days when you don’t want to wake up for that 8 a.m. But not going to class is irresponsible when it comes to tuition money, and you end up not getting the most out of your college education.
Each student who skips class is still paying GW’s sky-high tuition, which this year is $40,392, not including housing or a meal plan. With each credit hour costing more than $1,000, you’re looking at over $3,000 for each 3-credit course. But how do you expect to get your money’s worth if you don’t actually go to class?
The other day, a student told me, “I only go to class when I have nothing better to do, or when I have a lot of work to do. When I do go, I sit in the back of the classroom and usually do work for other classes.”
I know that some classes are nearly impossible to sit through, and at times professors make no effort to make class interesting. Despite their dryness, they are still giving you the material that you need to know – not only for tests, but for future careers.
Having a boring teacher or optional attendance is no excuse to cut out of classes. In high school, you were forced to show up. In college, the responsibility to take charge of your own education falls solely upon you.
Every lecture is different. Professors could be defining crucial material, and fully catching up on missed content will take longer than just going to class in the first place.
It’s not completely a lost cause. There are ways to get a large class to show up. In his biology classes, professor Harmut Doebel keeps students interested by employing an educational tool, the “TurningPoint Response Card” which allows students to participate in lectures. The class remains high in attendance because the response cards keep the students active and interested. If more professors used similar tools, classrooms could start filling up again.
In contrast, economics professor Dr. Robert Trost, after lecturing to a class of 20 students that has a roster of 270, says he does not mind having a smaller class, but adds that the students who do go to class every day always have higher grades at the end of the semester.
GW students are known for being focused and taking their work seriously, and you would think that serious students would go to class regularly. It’s not too late to become a responsible student and get the most out of your education. So get out of bed and go to class.
The writer, a freshman majoring in business administration, is a Hatchet columnist.