KSU costs several thousand dollars a semester in tuition for full- time students. Despite these expenses, I chose KSU so that I would be better equipped to handle life as I move forward with my chosen career path. The goal of this university is to help foster a growth in its students by providing them the best possibilities to learn the subjects they choose to study, but there is one thing standing in the way – the mandatory attendance policies some professors have for their classes.
A student can do the same work as everyone else in class, do just as well on exams or papers, but earn a lower grade if they choose not to attend class regularly. This policy is useless, and hinders students who may feel they can get more out of the class by doing things on their own.
What makes this policy worse is the fact that a lot of the classes we need for graduation are sometimes only offered once or twice each semester, and they include professors with mandatory attendance policies. We risk having to put off taking a class until another professor teaches it or having to take something entirely different. It’s not very helpful or conducive to learning when we are not taking the classes we want because of a pointless policy. Many professors have a set number of absences before any grade deductions are put into effect.
“I have a mandatory attendance policy for my media law class, but I allow two absences before I start docking their attendance grade,” Dr. Carolyn Carlson from the communication department said. “I figure those two absences should cover any ‘life’ emergencies, and they usually are sufficient.”
With so many of us working at least one job, if not more, professors need to be more willing to compromise with students when it comes to attendance. With the only “excused” absences usually requiring a note from a doctor or funeral director, students are left without a way to save their grade if something outside of an illness or death in the family happens and they go over the maximum absences allowed by the professor. This isn’t high school; we’re all adults here. We should be able to handle our own education the best way we see fit and not have to go to class if we get into a fender- bender or on our birthday.
“I think that if you can complete the coursework and do well on the exams, attendance shouldn’t be an issue,” said Ashley Fontenot, a senior communication major. “Especially since KSU has so many non-traditional students. When life happens, you have to make tough choices about what to do with your time.”
Professors will try to tell us they are preparing us for the real world, but I have never accepted that as a valid point. We’re in an entirely different
setting than the so-called real world. There are different social norms and behaviors here than there are in corporate America. This is college, not the boardroom. We should be free to learn the material the best way we can. I know we would be fired for not showing up to our jobs regularly, but we don’t pay our bosses lots of money to come in and work for them. We shell out thousands of dollars to be taught. Whether or not we utilize that time and money should be our problem, not the professor’s. “If it’s a group project, I think students should definitely be there so the rest of the team doesn’t suffer, but lecture classes should definitely be more lenient when it comes to students attending class,” Desiree Bamba, a junior majoring in Italian and Spanish said. “If that means you miss a lecture and instead stay up until midnight reading the textbook and reviewing notes from GeorgiaView, I don’t see why professors should care.”
As it stands this semester, five of my own six classes have strict attendance policies, which require me to be there a certain number of days. For a couple of them, I have a high grade, which could be brought down to a failing grade just because I wasn’t there to sign a sheet of paper to confirm I’m attending. Clearly I get the material, why punish me because I found a better way to learn it that fits into my schedule? KSU doesn’t want students to fail from lack of attendance, but that’s where personal responsibility comes into play. If you’re going to skip, be prepared to accept what might happen, but don’t fail us if we aren’t failing ourselves.