As we settle into this semester and grow accustomed to the policies of our new professors, we’re overwhelmed by syllabi and rules regarding everything from homework to participation.

But one rule always rattled off in the long list is particularly irksome: attendance.

The campus attendance policy changes slightly from professor to professor, but typically works off of some variation of no more than six absences before resulting in some sort of failure or significant grade reduction.

During the first week of classes, I was reminded by four of five professors of that attendance requirement. But one professor reminded the class of something that I think many tend to forget: we’re paying to be here. We choose to attend school.

We’ve decided to come to KSC for a reason.  Some of us are on a pathway to some career we’ve always dreamed of, some desperately wanted to be out of their parents’ house, and others sought a college experience for the more recreational aspects.

But ultimately, we’re all here, paying for our education (or lack thereof).

It was this professor who reminded us of that fact, which brought up what I obviously had pushed to the depths of my mind in frustration.  Whether we want to sit in a classroom or not is entirely our choice.

After graduating high school and turning 18, we became adults, able to speak for ourselves and make our own decisions.  We’re capable of deciding whether to skip an 8 a.m. class or forgo a concert in Boston because we have to be up early the next morning.

Surely there are plenty of students who, without a very unforgiving attendance policy, would regularly skip class.  But on the flip side, students can choose to use their judgment to make good choices. The students who miss class without much consequence are punishing those who might make appropriate choices with a little more attendance freedom.

Students can decide to attend something career-oriented instead of a class because of the long-term benefits it can provide.  They can go to the State House to advocate for those causes they care about most.  They can take those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet influential people in the field they hope to work in post-grad.

Additionally, there are days where particularly motivated and ambitious students might be struggling with a lot of work and stress and might appreciate a day here and there to try and catch up on what they are behind.

But without the freedom to skip class without being penalized, we’re losing out on the chance to look at the bigger picture and prioritize.

Although the policy encourages us to be in the classroom to learn, we may be losing out on some bigger educational experiences, real life experiences.

Though the attendance policies are not ill-intentioned and certainly accommodate for sickness and family emergencies, they often overlook that students are both adults and able to make positive decisions on their own.

The attendance policy undermines the driven and intelligent students at school, who are often offered great opportunities unaffiliated with the college. At the same time, it also insults the right to make choices by those who’d prefer to spend significant money for four years of fun with their friends.

And at the end of the day, whether students show up or miss class regularly, their grades will reflect their attendance.


Allie Bedell can be contacted at


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