You asked us:

I have been skipping a few classes to get caught up on other assignments and reading. I feel bad skipping classes but I don’t think I have any other choice at this point. Is the professor going to get pissed off at me? Will I be penalized for missing classes?

There are many reasons for missing a class, such as sickness and poor transportation, as well as having other more pressing things to do. Many students report that towards the end of the semester when work starts to pile up, they skip a class to focus on getting other work done. 

Skipping class to focus on getting other work done is a strategic decision that may be the best decision you could make on any given day. But, in general, it is not a good plan.

Here’s why:

1. Skipping a class to focus on other work is a red flag that you are not managing your work effectively and will need to revise your approach to managing your workload.  We have a lot of time management skills, such as storyboarding and to-do lists, that can help you be me more productive and avoid falling behind. 

2. The research data (see below) also shows that although most students miss not more than one class a month, a number of students (23%) miss one class a week and a few (4%) entirely stop going to class at some point. Even more importantly, there is a direct relationship between grades and how many classes you miss. Students who miss classes once a week do far worse than students who miss classes once a month. And students, who are missing classes more than once a week, typically do much, much worse than that. 


What can you do about it?

There are a number of things you can do about missing class. 

1. What is it about?  Have an honest conversation with yourself about why you are missing class. Is it a skill deficit or a motivational deficit, or is it about worry, fear or dread about some aspect of your class?  

2. If it is a skill deficit (e.g., not knowing how to schedule), then it is time to start building up your skills. Check out our learning skills, in particular storyboarding and to-do lists

3. If it is a motivational deficit, then you will need to spend some time figuring out what will increase your motivation — this can range from not having enough energy due to a lack of sleep, or not studying the right thing. Check out our tips on goal setting. 

4. If it is about fear, dread and worry, then you will need to learn how to tackle those fears and negative thoughts. Check out our skills on fact-checking


Got a question? Have a concern? 
Ask us. 

We have answered hundreds of questions over the years.  We try to answer as many questions as we can. Please familiarize yourself with our disclaimer policy before submitting a question. 


It is important to keep in mind that our answers, strategies, tips and advice are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  The information that we provide in article, video, answers to Q&As is based on expert opinion and scientific evidence, which we cite at the bottom of every page when used. Please keep in mind that , even the most thoughtful advice or scientifically valid recommendations will not always work. Each persons’ situation is unique and may require a plan that explicitly addresses their own unique challenges, needs and abilities. Only your own mental health professional or other qualified health provider is in a position to fully understand the uniqueness of your situation and the full extent of your difficulties, needs and challenges. You should never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

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