There are a lot of things you may want to talk to your college student about at about mid-semester. Of course, you may have been hearing lots of news and updates from your student all along. Students and their parents are more connected today than ever before. But as mid-semester time comes and goes, there are some touchpoints that you and your student might benefit from covering.
If your student is feeling stressed about midterm exams, you might give some reassurance. Once exams are over, you might help your student make sense of his midterm grades. There are some general questions you can be asking your student to help him think about whether some changes are needed to make the second half of the semester more successful.
But there is one very important question you should ask your student at this midpoint in the semester: Are you going to class?
Yes, it seems simple. Yes, it makes good common sense. But some college students still don’t see the connection between class attendance and better grades. Some new college students use class attendance as their opportunity to express the freedom they now have in college.
If you’re concerned about your student’s success, ask her if she’s going to class. It matters.
Beyond common sense, some recent studies have determined that there is a direct relationship between class attendance and both better grades and higher GPA. Class attendance proves to be a better predictor of grades than any other — including SAT scores, high school GPA, study habits or study skills. Regular attendance can minimize the chances of getting a D or F in a class. Showing up matters.
Some research has also shown that there is more absenteeism in basic or principles courses than in upper level classes. So if your student is a new college student, most likely enrolled in introductory classes, there is reason for concern. There are some other factors that may also influence class attendance. Students from higher income families tend to miss more classes. Students who study more or who have higher GPAs miss fewer classes. Students who consume more alcohol miss more classes. And finally, female students tend to have higher absentee rates.
It is, of course, impossible to generalize. But talk to your student about the importance of showing up. Ask if she’s going to class. Encourage her to get back on track if she’s been missing some classes. Mid-semester is only the half-way mark. There is still time to make a difference.