You were up all night writing a 10 page research paper and slept through your alarm. You wake up only to realize that your first class starts in a few minutes and you can either a) rush into class disheveled and disruptive or b) forgo it altogether to get some sleep. You decide for the latter and now, you’re wondering what happens if you skip class in college.

Unlike high school, no one is going to call your parents and tell them that you’re truant. The next step is to consider the best way of making up for missed work since it is solely your responsibility.

Read the Syllabus

Consider missing class as a lost opportunity to learn something new. If you've asked yourself "Is it okay to skip class in college?" that is dependent upon the rules established by each professor. Begin by reading your syllabus. A class syllabus is your guide to all of the expectations that a professor has for the semester. Attendance may or may not be mandatory. Some classes will allow three absences. Others, may dock points from your overall grade total, for every missed class. It’s best to read the syllabus, at the beginning of the semester, so that you know what is required. In the event that you’re faced with a missed class, consider the syllabus as the guide to the potential consequences.

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Get the Class Info

If you miss a class, contact one of your classmates to find out what happened. It’s important to know if the professor gave a pop quiz, or distributed important information about an upcoming test or assignment. Ask a friend for their notes and let them know that you’ll reciprocate, in the event that they miss a class. The notes won’t substitute for a missed class, but they’ll give you some insight about what you’ll need to do to make up for lost time. After reviewing the notes, draft some questions and meet with your professor for further clarification.

Connect With Your Professor

It may seem embarrassing, but meeting with your professor about your absence will solidify your commitment to the class. Make an appointment and apologize for missing class. If you were ill, let them know. If you chose to miss class, consider mentioning that you had a personal conflict with class. Let your professor know that you’ve already reviewed the class notes and that you’re just checking in to see if there’s anything else that you need to do to make up for the missed class. Use this as an opportunity to build a relationship with your professor and establish your interest in the course subject.

Reflect on Your Actions

If you’re skipping class on a regular basis, it’s time to self-reflect. Is college right for you? Do you need a break? Are you feeling a disconnect from your major? Make an appointment with your academic advisor or a counselor to talk through the roadblocks that you’re facing. If you make the decision to take a break, it doesn’t mean that you can’t come back. After all, college is an expensive endeavor and you don’t want to waste your time and money, if it’s not working for you.

Re-Commit to Attending Class

If you want to reinvest in your education, consider what it will take to become motivated. Sometimes, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of laziness. Use a planner to put your priorities into action. Surround yourself with students that are diligent and hard working. Meet with your professors to let them know that you are committed and would appreciate their support. Once you get back on a regular schedule, you can still make the most out of your semester.

Long-Term Absence

You may experience an unusual situation in college that requires an extended absence. In the event of an illness or family situation, don’t just drop out or stop out without seeking assistance. The Dean of Students is often the person to contact, if you’re faced with an emergency that necessitates withdrawal from the institution. The Accessibility Services office can help you if you’ve a personal medical crisis that qualifies for special accommodations.

About the Author

Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.