9 Ways to Tell if Your College Student Isn’t Going to Class

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By Lorena Roberts, Uloop

Being a parent of a new college student is tough. You’re probably worried about their decision-making now that they have exponentially more freedom than high school. You might be wondering if they’re making friends easily, or if your college student likes his or her major. You might worry about whether or not they’re doing their homework, if their professors are wonderful, and if they’re partying regularly.

If you’re a helicopter parent, you’re probably calling or texting them every day — and some of those texts might go unanswered. You might be sending care packages and cheesy cards to their new mailing address. But one of your biggest worries is probably whether or not they’re going to class. You have written that hefty tuition check and I’m sure you want your student to take advantage of the golden opportunity they have to learn. But how do you know they’re going to class without just asking them? Here are nine ways you can tell if your college student isn’t attending class:

1. Social Media.

If you’re one of those parents who have access to their college student’s social media (maybe you follow them or you’re friends with them on Facebook) and it looks like they’re posting pictures or updates at random times during the night or early in the morning, this might be a clue that they’re not going to class. Maybe they are! Don’t always assume the worst. But if it’s unusual for your student to be posting Facebook pictures with their friends at 2 in the morning on a Tuesday night, it’s okay to feel uneasy.

2. Calling home.

This can go two ways: either your student never calls home, or they call home every day. If you set up a communication plan with your college student before they left home and they aren’t following it — maybe it’s time to wonder if there’s a problem.

Some students don’t ever call home because they don’t want to face the reality that they’re doing poorly in school. Their worst fear is having to explain to their parents that they’re being irresponsible. Or maybe they’ve fallen into a valley of depression. It’s normal for college students to go through these phases. If you’re reaching out and hearing nothing back from your student, they might not be going to class.

If your college student is calling home every day, talking about how homesick they are, they’re having a tough time adjusting. It would be safe to assume that they also aren’t going to class. It’s okay to call home and check in with exciting news when it happens. But if you have a gut feeling that they aren’t attending their classes – you might be right!

3. Clubs/Organizations/Extracurriculars

If your student hasn’t joined any outside clubs or organizations, they might not be going to class. The first thing universities want to do is get new students involved. This is how your college student will likely create a social life. If they haven’t expressed interest in anything outside of school and they’re sticking to themselves in their dorm room, this is a good indicator that they’re unhappy and not going to class.

4. Money.

It’s normal for college students to ask for money. Being a poor college student is a tough life — I would know! I remember calling home sometimes and asking my mom to send me money for dorm room snacks, or money for dinner out with my friends. But if your college student is asking for an excessive amount of money, you should ask them where it’s actually going. It might be a sign that your college student isn’t attending classes and is involved in some other activities instead.

5. Procrastination.

If you’re talking with your student on a regular basis and it seems as though they’re always putting off the next big thing, it might be time to ask about their attendance in class. An easy way to start is by inquiring if their professors take attendance grades. If your student blows you off, then maybe that’s a good indicator that they’re messing around with video games or friends instead of being in class.

6. Negativity.

College students experience a lot of emotional waves while they’re in school. It’s normal for college students to feel down in the dumps on some days and happier on others. Don’t jump to any conclusions that aren’t necessary. However, if every time you talk with your college student, it seems as though they’re unhappy and extremely negative about building their new life, that’s a good indicator that going to class is last on their to-do list.

7. Excessive sleeping.

If there are times when you call your student to chat and they don’t answer because they’re sleeping, that’s pretty normal. It’s when every time you try to contact them that they’re sleeping that you may want to question whether or not they’re going to class. Before you jump to any conclusions, though, know that your college student might be using the excuse of “sleeping” to get out of chatting. Some college students are easier to reach than others. Sometimes your college student is going to want time to themselves while other times your college student might need a pep-talk that lasts two or three hours. It’s hard to be in college. It’s hard to feel disconnected from your family. So do not worry. They’ll come around.

Being a new “college student” parent is tough. You may feel like you’re losing some of your child. And you are. It’s time for them to begin a new life. You’ve had 18 years to get them ready for the world — and you probably did a wonderful job. They’ll be more than ready to succeed on their new journey. So stand by them as they grow, be ready to talk when they need you, and don’t worry yourself too much about whether or not they’re going to class.


Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, college roommates, tutors, study abroad opportunities, student travel, online courses, textbooks, jobs and internships for college students, and more.

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