Do Professors Take Attendance In College

Do Professors Take Attendance In College

College students are considered adults capable of making decisions that serve their best interests. They’re expected to take care of themselves and actively pursue excellence in their chosen field of study.

After all, who pays ridiculous sums of money just to watch it go to waste? And unlike the lower education level, where teachers may contact parents to alert them of poor attendance, college students are expected to take responsibility for their academics. But do colleges mandate class attendance?

While individual college professors have attendance policies specific to their classes, most do not mandate class attendance, except for classes that contain laboratory and other practical activities.

Depending on the nature of the class or the professor, class attendance and participation could make up a portion of the overall student grades.

That said, most professors wouldn’t care less about class attendance as they believe students at that level of education do not require adult supervision. Let’s take a look at the reasons why some professors mandate attendance and why others do not.

Why Some Professors Mandate Attendance

While there’re various reasons some professors mandate attendance, we’ll be taking a look at the most common.


Professors have an important role in helping prepare the youth for their chosen careers. This means ensuring that each student leaves the course fully equipped with the necessary training to be successful in their chosen careers.

From experience, these professors have realized that students who attend classes often do better than those that do not.

After all, students who attend classes can ask questions whenever they misunderstand any concepts presented by the professor. Even when they do not have a complete understanding of the entire lesson, they’re able to learn something.

The course may also be difficult to learn without the necessary guidance. Knowing this, mandating attendance ensures students can benefit from a thorough explanation by the professor.

Cumulative Material

Some lessons are built on the accumulated knowledge from previous lessons. Students who miss these lessons find it difficult to keep up with subsequent lessons.

These students would need to catch up before the next class. To ensure that students remain on the same page during lessons, some professors resort to mandating lessons and sometimes participation.

Lab And Practical Courses

Some courses require students to have practical experiences. Students who miss a single class could be affected as they may not have the necessary equipment to adequately experience such lessons on their own.

Understandably, attendance is usually mandatory in such courses. And students who miss such classes, whatever the reasons, would need to ask permission from the professor.

Financial Aid

Students receiving federal financial aid are required to attend classes regularly. Repeatedly missing classes could lead to students losing their financial aid.

Some professors would mandate attendance to appropriately keep these records. Keep in mind that students reported for non-attendance in any or all of their courses could have their financial aid withdrawn.

Boring Classes

Let’s face it, some classes are just plain boring. Despite the professor’s efforts to make the class as exciting as possible, the class can still be boring. If given the chance, these classes would always be empty as most students would avoid attending such classes.

To prevent this, professors can mandate attendance for such courses. This is especially true when the class is essential for various reasons.

Workforce Training

College campuses are places of training to prepare students for the workforce. This includes training students to be responsible for their own actions as well as arriving promptly for meetings.

Some professors may even prevent students who arrive minutes late from entering the lecture hall. While this may appear mean, these strategies aim to teach students time management skills.


Making classes mandatory holds students accountable for their grades. After all, the professor did their job and taught the class.

The professor cannot be blamed for the failure of any student in class especially since they’re given the opportunity to ask questions in class.

Students who miss classes would be unable to blame the professor or other third parties for their poor grades.


Professors care about their students and want to help them succeed. As a result, they put a lot of effort into preparing lessons that would be easy to understand.

Unfortunately, it can be very annoying when students decide to miss these classes. The worst part is having students emailing you about not understanding an assignment you gave them.

Something you’re sure they could understand if they had been in class. This can feel disrespectful to the professor who put in the effort to prepare these lessons for the students.

Why Some Professors Don’t Mandate Attendance

Now that we have taken a look at the reasons why most professors don’t mind students missing classes.

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Students at college have identified their areas of interest and are actively pursuing them. They’ve paid ludicrous amounts of money for tuition and are expected to make the best use of it.

These students have control over their actions and are considered adults capable of making decisions that benefit them. Mandating classes would be treating them like kids who have no understanding of the relevance of these classes.

College isn’t high school where your teacher or school is expected to contact your parents when you miss class. You’re considered an adult who needs no supervision from any professor unless necessary.

College students should be able to make decisions and also learn to face the consequences of these decisions.

Professors Get Paid

This point may be controversial but still remains valid. Professors still get paid whether students attend or miss classes.

And while most professors get into the teaching profession because they love helping students, it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s their source of income.

Fortunately, students missing classes does not affect how much professors get paid. So, professors don’t mind if you don’t come to class.

Just as long as students deliver on their deliverables, they can choose to miss classes as much as they want.

Students may even choose to leave class early without any problems from the professor, so long as they do not disrupt any ongoing classes.

Limited Time

Professors are the highest level of educators and usually specialize in a specific academic subject or field. They’re in charge of creating the curriculum, assignments, exams, and projects for their students.

With limited time on their hands, taking attendance is additional work they would most likely want to avoid.

Student Responsibilities

College education is expensive and some students need to work to pay for their education. Sometimes classes collide with their work schedules, making it difficult for them to make it to classes.

Professors were once students and understand the challenges students go through. Making classes optional makes it easy for students to juggle various activities so long as they keep up with their grades.

Familiar Topic

Sometimes students already have some level of understanding or experience with the topic. Spending their time listening to a lesson they’re getting nothing from, becomes unnecessary.

In such cases, it may be advisable for the student to spend their time engaging in other productive activities or learning rather than attending a class from which they are not learning anything.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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