Should I Go to Class Today? Here Are 17 Reasons It's a Good Idea

What you don't think about now might hurt you later

Male professor addressing group of college students in classroom
Andersen Ross/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Some days it can be flat-out impossible to find the motivation to go to class. It's a lot easier to come up with reasons not to: You haven't had enough sleep, you just need a break, you have other things to do, there's something more exciting going on, the professor is bad, the professor won't notice, you won't miss anything — or you just don't want to go. Even if all of these excuses are true, it's important to take a step back and gain some perspective about why going to class in college really does matter.

1. Skipping Class Is a Big Waste of Money

Let's say your tuition costs $5,600 this semester. If you're taking four courses, that's $1,400 per course. And if you're in class 14 weeks each semester, that's $100 a week per class. Lastly, if your course meets twice a week, you're paying a whopping $50 for each class. You're paying that $50 whether or not you go, so you might as well get something out of it. (And if you're going to an out-of-state public school or a private school, you're probably paying way more than $50 per class.)

2. You'll Regret It If You Don't

Going to class is like going to the gym: You'll feel guilty if you don't go but awesome if you do. You know how, on some days, it's nearly impossible to make yourself hit the gym? But on the days when you do go, you're always glad you did? Going to class often works the same way. You might lack the motivation at first, but it nearly always pays off later. Make yourself feel proud all day for going instead of guilty all day for not.

3. Today Could Be the Day You Learn Something Life-Changing

Your professor might mention an organization that sounds interesting. Later, you'll look it up, decide you want to volunteer for it, and ultimately land a job after graduation. Does that seem far-fetched? Maybe. Maybe not. You never know when inspiration will strike in college. Set yourself up for it by going to class and keeping an open mind about what kinds of things you can learn about and fall in love with.

4. Remember That You're Here Because You Want to Be

Is college easy and lovely and enjoyable all the time? Of course not. But you went to college because you wanted to, and there are a lot of students out there who don't have the opportunity to do what you're doing. Remember it's a privilege to be working toward a college degree, and not going to class is a waste of your good fortune.

5. You'll Learn What You Need to Know

You never know when your professor is going to drop that critical sentence in the middle of the lecture: "This will be on the exam." And if you're home in bed instead of in a seat in class, you'll never know how important today's lesson really was.

6. You'll Find Out What You Don't Need to Know

Conversely, your professor may say something along the lines of "This is important for you to read and understand, but it won't be part of the upcoming midterm." That'll come in handy later when you're deciding where to focus your efforts when studying.

7. You Might Learn Something Interesting

Maybe you're only taking the course to meet a graduation requirement, but you just might — gasp! — learn something interesting in class today. 

8. You Can Socialize Before and After Class

Even if you're still wearing your pajama pants and barely make it to class on time, you'll likely still have a minute or two to catch up with some friends. And even if you just commiserate about how you're still recovering from the weekend, the camaraderie can be nice.

9. It'll Actually Save You Time When You're Studying Later

Even if your professor just goes over the reading, that kind of review will help solidify things in your mind. Which means the hour you spent in class reviewing material is one less hour you have to spend studying later.

10. You Can Ask Questions

 College is different than high school in a lot of ways, including the fact that the material is more difficult. Consequently, asking questions is an important part of your education. And it's much easier to ask questions of your professor or TA when you're in class than when you're home trying to catch up on what you missed.

11. You Can Get Face Time With Your Professor

While it may not seem important now, it's incredibly helpful for your professor to know you — and vice versa. Even if he or she doesn't interact with you much, you never know how your class attendance might benefit you later. If, for example, you need help with a paper or are close to failing the class, having the professor know your face when you go talk to him or her down the road can definitely help you make your case.

12. You Can Get Face Time With Your TA

It's important for you to make yourself familiar to your TA, too. TAs can be great resources — they're often more accessible than a professor, and if you have a good relationship with them, they could be your advocate with the professor. 

13. You'll Get Some Exercise Getting There

If you don't think your brain can get anything out of going to class, maybe your body can. If you're walking, biking or using some other kind of body-powered transportation to get around campus, you'll at least get some exercise from going to class today. And that's a good reason to go, right?

14. You Can Talk to That Certain Someone

Is class for your academic pursuits? Definitely, and those should always take priority. But it doesn't hurt if just so happen to be taking a class with a person you want to get to know better. Even if you both are commiserating about what else you'd rather be doing, neither of you would be talking with each other if you didn't show up for class today.

15. You'll Be More Prepared for Upcoming Work

It's hard to be prepared for upcoming assignments if you don't go to class on a regular basis. Can you wing it? Maybe. But the amount of time you spend trying to undo the damage you've done by skipping class is likely much more than the amount of time you would have spent just going to class in the first place.

16. You Might Actually Enjoy Yourself

You went to college to expand your mind, learn all kinds of new information, learn how to think critically and live an examined life. And once you're done with college, you may never again get to spend so much time doing those things. So even on the days when it's super hard to find a reason to go to class, persuade yourself to go by reminding yourself how much you enjoy learning.

17. You Want to Graduate

Don't you? Because that might be difficult if you get bad grades, which is more likely to happen if you're not going to class. Remember: Investing in a college education is only worthwhile if you actually get the degree. And if you have student loans, they're going to be a lot harder to pay back if you're not benefitting from the higher earning potential that comes with a college degree.