Paying Attention In Class Essay Prompts

The most definite way to make sure you succeed in college is to attend your classes. Showing up for class is a great way to stay on top of course material so you don’t feel like you have fallen behind and need to cram before a final test or project. In order to get all you can out of attending class, it is important for you to be fully present and engaged while you are there. These seven tips can help you pay attention and stay alert during class.

Go to class with enough sleep.

If you can, getting enough sleep is the most effective way to stay alert during class. Sleep deprivation can slow even the most basic cognitive functions, including memory retention. If you are well rested for class, your brain will automatically be able to focus more effectively and process concepts more actively.

Take thorough notes the whole time.

Writing notes is another great way to keep your brain “on” during class. You will stay on track with what is being taught as your translate it into your own words on paper. Or you may prefer a laptop — there are pros and cons to both. Either way, as you follow along and take notes, you will notice that you are able to recall the information because you have been exposed to it twice — once as it is being taught and again as you took your notes.

Print out presentations with room for notes.

It may be hard to take notes when a professor uses a slideshow or presentation as part of their teaching tools. Many times, you may be so busy writing down what is on the slide that you are not listening to the professor. Ask your professor if it would be an option to have copies of the presentation sent to you to print out before class. Then you can print the presentation with room in the margins for notes where you can record the verbal explanations your professor is saying out loud in class.

Sit in the front.

On the first day of class, the front row center seat is usually avoided like the plague. However, if you are serious about class, forget what people think and make this your permanent seat. It is much harder to become distracted during class if you are sitting just a few feet from the professor. You will also not be able to see as many of the other students that could distract you.

Don’t dress too comfortably.

If you dress like you do for bed, then you are more likely to go to sleep. Go to class dressed for success, and you will be more likely to succeed. See how that works? It’s all about your mindset. Be sure that you sit up straight and have an alert posture, because this will increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain and trick your body into having more energy.

Ask questions when you have them.

Actively listening, processing information and asking questions as you go will keep your brain on topic and engaged in a critical thinking process. This will also help you if a certain topic is particularly difficult for you to understand. It will be to your benefit if you ask the questions as you go rather than getting lost as you build on the concept.

Do the assigned reading beforehand.

This may not seem necessary, but it really will help you to pay attention and engage with class discussions. Participating in class is linked to higher success. If you are clueless about the material being taught because you didn’t do the readings, it will be much easier for you to completely checkout during the lecture. It is hard to pay attention to something that you don’t understand or have any background knowledge about.

These tips can help you be a successful student at South College! We are happy to come alongside our students to give them the tools they need to improve their careers with a degree. Are you ready to get started? Be sure to get in touch today! 

Attending Class

It is absolutely vital that you attend class regularly. Missing a class should be a rare occurrence; something that happens at most once or twice a semester. If you miss class more than this, it will interfere with your learning and have a negative affect your performance and your grade.

A prerequisite to success in any in any endeavor is "showing up", and classes are no exception. If you're not showing up to class, you're forfeiting every opportunity provided to you in the classroom.


Going to class does far more than simply giving you credit for attendance. Class attendance facilitates learning in a variety of ways, and here are just a few:
  • Lectures and classes supplement reading assignments. Class gives you another perspective on the material besides just the textbook. Even if you think you already understand the material well, classes always adds something new. The instructor may go over examples or applications you haven't seen, concepts in class may be presented in a different way than in the text, and student questions and discussion may elaborate on the material or provide new insights.

  • Professors often use questions or class discussion to enhance critical thinking skills. Attending class can be an opportunity for you to engage the material with the guidance of the professor and the help of your classmates. A professor may pose a question or lead a discussion in class that directs you to make connections between concepts and helps you to think about the material in new ways.

  • If you pay attention in class, you may be surprised by how much you can cut your study time later on. No textbook can explain something to you like another person can. Even if professors seem as though they are just going through the material in the book, there will always be added clarification and insights that you can discover in class. Time in class is one to two hours during which you are actively thinking about the material and practicing it.

  • Your professor will emphasize the important concepts, giving you a better idea of what is important and what you should focus on. The professor is an expert on the material, and they design their lectures to organize the main ideas and extract the important concepts. Attending class and taking good notes can help you to put the ideas together and focus on what is important.

  • Some professors are not very textbook oriented. Their lectures may be very different from the way the textbook presents the material, and class may be used to convey the professor's own viewpoints and perspectives. In a class like this, test questions will more than likely be based on lecture notes rather than the text, so attending class and taking good notes will be one of your best preparations for exams.

  • Classes give you more interaction with the professor and other students in the class. Attending and participating in class shows the professor that you are a serious student who is taking responsibility for your education and making an effort to learn. This increases your interaction with faculty members, and raises the likelihood of finding mentors and roll models who can help guide you in your academic, career, and personal development. In addition, class time is a chance to meet and interact with other students in your class. This can help you to form study groups or meet other students in your major.

  • Taking your own notes during a class is more useful than getting a copy of someone else's notes (even the instructor's). In a recent sstudy, only 8% of students reported that getting class notes from a missed class is as useful as attending class. Additionally, this 8% who thought borrowed notes were as good as going to class had significantly lower reported grade point averages than those who valued class attendance more. The act of attending class and writing down your own notes will help you to learn the material and solidify your understanding in a way that is much more effective than when you miss class and read someone else's notes.

Your Responsibilities

Occasionally, you may have to miss a class due to illness or an important obligation. However, this should be a very rare occurrence. You should not miss class just because you don't want to go or there is something else you would rather do. Realize that going to class is the default expectation --- it is not a decision that needs to be made. In addition:

You should never miss one class in order to do homework or study for another class.

Some students mistakenly think this is prioritizing; in reality it is nothing more than poor time management. Doing work for one class should not be done at the expense of another course. This will only hurt your overall academic career and not benefit you in any way.

If you do miss class, get the notes from a classmate rather than ask your professor for a copy of theirs. Professors are busy, and often don't have time to do extra work each time a student misses a class. It is your responsibility to attend class, and your responsibility to get get caught up on the rare occasions you are absent.

There is a strong correlation between the number of absences a student has and their final course grade. Skipping class can be a fast track to poor performance, increased stress and anxiety, a lower GPA, and even dropping out of school. It is something you should avoid at all costs.

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