College is generally an institution intended for the higher education of adults. To be an adult in our society, it is necessary to hold a sense of responsibility for oneself. This includes the responsibility of being present and on time for any scheduled commitment, such as class.
However, Grand Rapids Community College feels it is acceptable to allow individual professors to limit students’ adulthood by enforcing attendance policies. Attendance policies are necessary in high school because children are required to attend. But in an adult institution such as GRCC, it is rather insulting that adult students be required to attend the classes they pay to take.
If students cannot attend a class, or even if they just don’t feel like going, they should have the right to decide not to go.
Obviously, skipping classes is not a good idea if the desire is to get good grades. People who skip will likely not understand the material as well as other students, and that will reflect in their grades. But it should be up to students whether they choose to practice habits that will earn them a good grade.
One GRCC professor’s syllabus states that “Three points are deducted for each individual missed class, and one point is deducted for arriving late or leaving early.” And another professor’s syllabus states that for every absence, there will be “one point (taken) off” the attendance portion of the final grade.
The fact that students’ attendance can be monitored with a point system is utter ridiculousness. This is not elementary school; the professors should be responsible only for teaching students, not making sure they attend class.
One argument to having an attendance policy is that it gets students ready for the real world. I agree—college should prepare students for the next part of their lives, so it should allow them the responsibility they will need to have for themselves.
Students need to learn to be responsible and take care of their own academic and economic burdens. The college holding a student’s hand is just setting him up for a rude awakening once he gets into the “real world.”