6 Tactics To Increase Attendance & Keep Students From Skipping Class

Students decide to skip class for an endless amount of reasons. Sometimes they aren’t feeling 100% healthy and would rather stay home. Sometimes they don’t have an easy way to get to class and would rather not deal with the trek. Sometimes they feel that they understand the material well enough and would rather not sit in class and listen to content they already understand. While your school can’t control what outside factors impact your students, what you can do is create a school environment that makes students feel like coming to class is a higher value option than skipping. Below are six tactics schools can utilize to make students feel like skipping class is a hard choice.

1. Impactful Orientation

First impressions are lasting impressions. For many students, orientation is the first impression they have about school culture, and the way school policies are communicated impact how students respond to them. Providing students with clear expectations about attendance policies and how missing class impacts them is an important first step to making sure students show up to class. In addition, orientation is the perfect time for schools to make students aware of the different resources they can use if they’re having trouble or concerns about their program.

2. Recognizing Good Attendance 

It’s an understatement to say that attendance matters, especially in career education. Schools need to recognize and reinforce students with good attendance. One way to acknowledge good attendance records is by displaying bulletin boards in campus buildings identifying students with perfect or close-to-perfect attendance records. When students see their consistent attendance efforts being acknowledged and up for their peers to see, it boots individual morale and incentivizes other students to try to make the list. 

3. Daily Reminders

Obviously, students should know their own schedules, but having a daily reminder of which classes they need to attend that day can help combat accidental absences, like if a student forgets what time class starts or if they lose track of what day it is. By sending out daily nudges to students about where they need to be and when, schools can help students have a clear understanding about coming to class. 

4. Make Sure There’s Enough Parking

Students who drive to school need to have a place to leave their car while they’re in class. This may seem like an obvious one, but if students are late to class or opting not to come at all because they can’t find parking, that’s an issue that the school can fix fairly quickly. Schools can either restructure how the parking spots in their lot are allocated between faculty and students, or they can work with neighboring businesses to potentially free up spots for students.

5. Discounts On Public Transportation

Not all students own a personal vehicle, which opens a new slew of external factors that can cause absences. When a student shares a car with someone else or carpools with a classmate who lives nearby, they don’t have guaranteed access to transportation. When their typical transportation isn’t available, their choice becomes paying for public transit or a rideshare or skipping class entirely. That unexpected expense to go to class will cause some students to opt to stay home. Schools can either partner with local transportation to offer students lower prices or just offer to help pay a portion of the expense to make public transit a more realistic option for students.

6. Food Incentives

This analysis by the Government Accountability Office last year estimated that food insecurity rates were over 30% among college students. A potentially effective way to get students to come to school, even on the days they aren’t feeling up for it, is through food incentives. Schools can either offer discounted food/snacks each day or reward great attendance with discounted prices for food. 

Schools cannot combat each and every outside factor that causes students to skip class, but by utilizing some of these tactics, they can entice students to make the extra effort to get to class. 

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