Skip class and get As!

I’m almost done my second year of undergrad.. that’s about half way you guys. Time flies, especially when it’s jam-packed with all that comes from college/university – i.e. the papers, middies, exams and – ahem – parties.

I’m sure you’ve seen some version of the following:

& sadly to some extent this is just too true. Luckily there are ways you can manage your time to pick from all three circles. One of them is strategically skipping class – emphasis on the strategically part.

First things first: you are paying for the classes I’m about to tell you to skip. Keep that in mind. For instance I pay about $600 for a 30 credit hour course – that’s $20 for an hour of class time.

However, you’re paying for your education – and sometimes, unfortunately, those few hours a week in class aren’t the most educational use of your time. You’re also probably striving toward a good GPA too, and that requires some time juggling.

Here’s my advice from four semesters of class skipping and 4.0 earning:

Go to the first couple weeks of classes:

  • Go on syllabus day. Lots don’t because they think that half hour class is a waste of the last hours of summer but the short first class of a semester is important. Syllabi hold most of what you need to know for the semester – reading assignments and important dates are essential to have early if you intend to not be in class all the time.
  • Find out which courses have an attendance policy or participation grade and how the professor grades this – some use random quizzes but throw away a few lowest scores (so you can afford a couple missed), some like to hear you talk – in that case you can skip some classes and be vocal when you are there.
  • Find out how the prof teaches – do they lecture and expect you to get every little detail or put all the notes online for your to access? There are profs that teach all along this spectrum and where they fit greatly determines how often you can skip their class.
  • Biggest questions: do you learn more in class from the professor than you could at home on your own time? Are you interested in the material enough that you’ll teach yourself what you missed when you skip? Answers to these determine what classes you can and can’t skip.
Have friends in as many classes as possible:
  • Chances are you know a few people in your program, do your best to find someone in each class that you know you can rely on for missed notes or important things, just make sure you pay them back. No one is going to give you great notes if you don’t repay the favour.
 Plan when to skip and use your time wisely
  • Once you know how often you can skip a given class you have to think of the most opportune times to do it. Try to only skip when it really is more beneficial to get another hour or so to sleep, or study, or shop (it happens!) than it is to be in that class
Moral of the story: You CAN skip class and still do well. My first semester I skipped nothing, I was too afraid of being a bad student or pissing my profs off. But if you use your common sense skipping class can even raise your GPA. I know some of my best library study sessions have been during a skipped class – the pressure of wanting to be more productive than I would be sitting in class keeps me motivated.