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Why attendance is important to academic success

Research Team
January 9, 2023

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Attendance is one of the most important factors in higher education. It is the first step in becoming a successful student. Without good attendance, you will not be able to achieve the academic goals that you set for yourself. Attendance is also important in order to avoid penalties and suspension from school. Failing to attend classes regularly can lead to a decrease in academic achievement, which can impact your future opportunities. Here are four reasons why good attendance is so important in higher education.

What is attendance?

Attendance means being physically present in a classroom or other instructional setting, including in-person attendance and participation in online coursework. In higher education, attendance is a significant factor in determining a student’s success.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students who failed to earn a degree or certificate due to absences averaged $8,000 less in lifetime earnings than those who earned degrees or certificates despite occasional absences. Additionally, students who miss more than one-fourth of their classes are more likely to drop out of school.

To ensure success in higher education, students must be present in the classroom to take full advantage of educational opportunities. If you’re currently struggling to keep up with your coursework, several strategies can help improve your attendance.

Why is attendance important in higher education?

Attendance in higher education demonstrates a commitment to your future. Missing classes can have significant consequences, such as lower grades, failing grades, and even suspension from school. Consistent attendance shows interest in your schoolwork and helps you avoid falling behind.

Regular attendance also helps secure your future. Missing too many classes can hinder your ability to get a good job, get into a reputable college, or pursue graduate studies. Therefore, it’s crucial to be present in your classes and give your best effort.

How is attendance tracked in higher education?

Attendance in higher education is tracked in various ways. Some schools use paper or electronic attendance records, while others may use a student’s webcam or phone camera. In some cases, attendance is tracked through an app on a student’s smartphone.

Regardless of the method, attendance records are essential for ensuring that students are making progress and not wasting classroom time. If a student misses more than 10 percent of the classes in a semester, they may face academic sanctions such as a failing grade or expulsion.

Why is attendance important for students?

Attendance is vital for students for several reasons. It shows that they are taking their classes seriously and are dedicated to their education. Frequent absences may indicate a lack of seriousness or inadequate time management.

Moreover, regular attendance is linked to better academic performance. Students who consistently attend classes are more likely to keep up with the coursework and develop the necessary skills to succeed.

What are the benefits of attendance?

  • Increased Chance for Success: Attending college boosts the chances of success due to the correlation between a college diploma and higher income.

  • Increased Vocational Opportunities: College graduates are more likely to find employment in high-demand fields, as a college education prepares students for diverse career paths.

  • Increased Knowledge: College courses provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in both college and their careers.

  • Increased Lifelong Learning: College teaches students critical thinking and problem-solving skills, essential for success in any field.

How can students improve their attendance?

Improving attendance is crucial for success in higher education. Here are a few strategies:

  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep: Being well-rested helps you stay alert and learn more.
  • Arrive Early: Getting settled early can give you an advantage in class.
  • Study with a Partner or Group: Collaborative study can enhance learning.
  • Turn in Work Early: Completing assignments early can free up time for other class-related activities.

What should students do if they cannot attend classes?

If a student cannot attend classes, they should contact their academic advisor to explain the situation. Arriving at least 10 minutes early ensures they have a seat if they are late. If missing class is unavoidable, finding an alternate way to complete the course, such as an online course or tutoring, is crucial.

What should students do if they are absent frequently?

Frequent absences can impact academic performance. If you’re often absent, contact your professor to discuss making up the work online or during office hours. Finding a tutor can also help you catch up on missed work. Frequent absences may affect your transcript and future opportunities, so it’s important to make the most of your time in class.

What should students do if they are absent for a specific reason?

Students should plan ahead if they know they will be absent. Notify the school of any medical or religious appointments. If absent for class, inform the teacher of the situation. Keeping the school informed helps manage absences effectively.

Effects of Poor School Attendance

Poor attendance in school has significant consequences. Children who miss school frequently fall behind in essential skills, especially in early grades. This lag can affect their overall academic performance and social development. High school dropouts with poor attendance records face higher unemployment rates and lower earnings, increasing their risk of poverty.

School Attendance Facts

National attendance statistics highlight the prevalence of absenteeism:

  1. Over 7 million students in the US missed 15 or more days of class.
  2. More than 30% of students in over 800 school districts missed at least three weeks of class.
  3. High schools have the highest rates of chronic absenteeism, with nearly one in five students affected.
  4. Six states and the District of Columbia reported that over 20% of students missed school frequently.

Consistent school attendance is crucial for academic success. Students who regularly attend school are less likely to fall behind and more likely to succeed academically.

How can schools increase their attendance rate?

Schools can increase attendance rates by fostering a welcoming environment for parents and students, collaborating with local police and businesses, and creating incentive-based programs to reward good attendance. Engaging students and ensuring consistent attendance from the start are key to a successful school environment.


Attendance in higher education is extremely important. It not only helps you get a good education but also provides opportunities to meet new people, make friends, and learn from top educators. Regular attendance fosters a strong work ethic and prepares you for future success. While online education is an option, attending a traditional university offers valuable experiences and networking opportunities.