How to Tell Your Professor You Will Be Absent

Missing class in college is one of the most understated plights students face. It’s one of the first tests of personal responsibility faced in adulthood, a daily debate we can have with ourselves. All in all, missing class is a major part of the college experience most of us would rather avoid. So, how do you manage missing class? What makes an absence excused? Here’s everything you need to know about missing class in college.

Types of Absences

Planned Absences

Planned absences are pre-determined and scheduled before you’re going to be absent. Professors should be informed of any planned absences as soon as possible and arrangements need to be made by the student for any missing work. Planned absences include appointments, trips, and religious holidays. Planned absences tend to be excused, but only if the student obtains and submits a note of excuse or the instructor excuses the absence. It’s best to check your university-wide rules on absences to determine if an absence will be excused.

Unexpected Absences

Some absences are not planned. You might find yourself sick or in some other unforeseen situation that causes you to miss class. Unexpected absences include illness or sick leave, death of family or household members, and other unexpected circumstances. Unexpected absences may be excused or unexcused depending on the reason for your absence and whether or not your professor will excuse the absence. If you have a doctor’s note or other justification, your absence will be considered excused. In addition to university-wide rules, it’s a good rule of thumb to review any existing course handbooks for absence policies.

Excused and Unexcused Absences

Absences are typically only excused if you have a note or another valid form of verification AND turn it into your professor within a week of your absence. If you do not have an excuse or the excuse is not submitted by the required date, your absence will not be excused. Going to the doctor, meeting with advisors, or going on school-related trips without a note or verification will result in an unexcused absence.

Know that you have a limited number of allowed unexcused absences. This number can be set by your instructor or your school, and is usually 4-7. Use all of your allowed unexcused absences and any unexcused absence afterwards will count against you. After a student is considered truant they may be penalized with a grade deduction, academic probation, or an automatic fail.

What should you know about missing class?

To make the best choices for your education you should be aware of several different factors that affect your options and decision making.

Your School’s Rules

Every school has a list of rules and procedures for student absences. While attending college you should know your school’s policy for absences, excused and unexcused. These rules will be your guide for excusing absences, determining what excuses are “valid,” and knowing how unexcused absences will affect you. Instructors may provide these rules in their syllabi, but they are also available in the student handbook and on your school’s website.

Valid Excuses for Being Absent

All colleges have a list of “valid” reasons for absences created by the Senate in the University Senate Rules (USR). As of the most recent revision, the USR 2019-20, the list is as follows:

  • Significant illness of the student, household member, or immediate family member, including hospitalization
  • Death of immediate family member or household member
  • Religious Holidays
  • Interviews for full-time job opportunities after graduation and for graduate or professional school
  • Any other circumstances the Instructor finds reasonable cause for absence.

There are other reasons a student might be excused to miss class, but they are tentative and left up to the instructor to agree to. Tentative excuses include:

  • School Events
  • School Trips (Including trips for student organizations, class trips, and trips for athletic events)
  • Educational opportunities agreed upon by your professor

If you have a disability, health issue, or another reason you might miss class often, contact the Disability Resource Center, Student Support Services, or your academic advisor. One of them should be able to help you with aid and accommodations to ensure your success. When registered with the Disability Resource Center, absences may not be counted against you.

Personal Stats

You should be aware of your grades and the number of absences you have at all times. Both are important factors in determining whether or not you should miss class. Grades are heavily dependent on attendance, so consider your grade when deciding whether or not to miss class. If you are approaching or have achieved 4-7 unexcused absences, it is unwise to miss another day of class.

What should you do if you miss class?

If you are absent from class, whether the absence is excused or unexcused, there are still steps you as a student are responsible for. While not required, it is wise to do what you can to ensure you do not fall behind in your classes. So, what should you do to make up for an absence?

Email Your Professors

Notify your professors of any upcoming absences. While it is best to email your professors early, unforeseen circumstances can arise. If you find yourself unable to attend class, let your professor know you will be absent as soon as possible, even if it’s an hour before class. Teachers are more receptive to students who give notice and are able to better help you when they are informed.

When emailing your instructor, use your student email. Professors are less likely to respond to emails sent from personal addresses and might not get back to you or even see your message. Keep your email brief and professional. Make them aware of the situation without rambling and oversharing, and ask them how they would like you to make up for missing class.

TIP: Need to email your professor but don’t know where to start? Check out HelpProfessor’s article, “ How to Email a Professor about not Attending Class (13 Tips + Sample)

Obtain An Excuse

If you can, get a note or other valid excuse to give to your instructor. Any doctor’s office should be able to provide you with a note after an appointment, which will be accepted and filed by your professor. Any school-related trip can be excused by receiving permission from your professor to miss class, and other reasons you missed class can be discussed for possible approval.

Remember to turn in your excuse within one week of the absence to be excused. After a week, excuses are no longer accepted.

Don’t Make A Habit of It

There isn’t a lot of room to negotiate. Being absent isn’t something you want to make a habit of. Truancy can result in serious academic consequences, like marks against your grade or gaining you an automatic “E” (the college equivalent of a failing grade). If you must be absent, try to get an excuse following your school’s absence policy.

Make Up Your Work

Collect the work you have or will miss. Your professors will be able to provide you with the work and can even give you an extension on assignments. While it seems scary to ask professors for missing assignments, extensions, and general help,  most of the time they are willing to help you. Most importantly, be proactive to stay ahead and avoid the pitfalls that can come from missing synchronous learning. 

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

Thanks, College.

Common real-world skills we learned at college, in or out of the classroom.

  1. Parallel parking: If you’re from the city this might not apply to you, or if you don’t have a car. For those of us from the suburbs or country with a car on campus, we learned to parallel park soon after arriving to college.  This skill comes in handy often when travelling home, to the city, or on vacation.  It also widens your parking possibilities in any situation.
  2. Tolerance for extreme temperatures: As the weather gets colder, we adapt to walking across campus in the cold, with the wind blowing through our layers of jackets and long-johns. We learn in our first semesters to bundle up and forget about being cute.
  3. Independence: Whether you were looking forward to this or not, you become more independent in college. You have to if you go to college more than about an hour away from home.  You (hopefully) learn how to do your laundry, budget your money, clean your room without being prompted, and study and do homework on your own free will.
  4. Time management: Sometimes, it takes people their whole college careers to get this down, but everyone learns throughout their college life how important time management is. Some people know the importance of it and still choose to manage their time badly.  You have to balance classes, studying, work, friends, sleep, eating, and mental health.  Usually this “balance” involves giving up one or more of these things, which one depends on your priorities.
  5. Multi-tasking: You may have been good at this before college, but you’ll be a master by the time you graduate. Multitasking can look like many things: eating while you work, study, or walk to class, taking homework to work, or considering meeting with a study group to be hanging out with friends.


We learn a lot in college that may have nothing to do with our degrees, but these skills or pieces of knowledge are just as important as the information we learn in class.  What are some skills you’ve learned in college that have become useful in real life?  What are you most thankful for?

Five Tips for Efficient Class Registration

The semester feels like it just started yesterday, but it’s already time to start planning next semester’s classes. Most colleges start enrolling for classes several months in advanced and competition for the best teachers and time slots is fierce. Registration can be the difference between a great semester and a nightmare. Here are five tips to help make your class registration quick and efficient.

Create a Graduation Guide

One of the best ways to plan your registration is to create a graduation guide. A graduation guide is a semester-by-semester plan of the classes you need to take in order to graduate. This can be a very daunting task, especially early in your college career. However, this is one of the most beneficial things to have when planning to register for classes. Begin by setting aside an evening to sit down and make your graduation plan. Be sure to include classes for all your majors and minors and arrange them so all pre-requisites are met. College graduation may seem a lifetime away, but with a plan in hand you can know the exact semester of your graduation – and that is a great feeling!

Meet With Your Adviser

Its not always fun, but it is always necessary. Your adviser is the guide that will take you from confused freshman to confident graduate. Schedule an appointment with your adviser several weeks before registration so that you have your plan in place when it comes time to enroll. You can take your graduation guide to your adviser for feedback as well. They can double check that your plan is correct and will complete all the requirements for you to graduate.

Check and Clear Registration Holds

Some colleges will place a hold on your account that prevents you from registering for classes if you owe money. Check your hold status in advanced so that when you are able to enroll, you don’t find any surprises. The best way to prevent getting a hold on your account is to pay off fees as soon as they incur. Parking tickets, health center visits, and dorm room damages can all be a factor in your ability to register.

Select Classes and Backups in Advanced

Any college student can tell you that not all professors are equal when it comes to teaching and testing. To make sure you get the professors and class times you want, look through the course offerings in advanced and create the schedule that will work best for you in the upcoming semester. This does not guarantee you will get the classes you want, but having your preferences in advance will save you precious time when you are finally eligible to register. Speaking of time . . .

Register Immediately!

Most colleges use an elevated system of registration. Seniors are able to register earlier than juniors and so forth. This is a great system because it allows upperclassman to get the last classes they need before graduation. However, it can create a bit of a war when it comes time to register for underclassman. Classes have a limited number of seats and the best ones fill up fast. For the greatest chance of getting your preferred course schedule, you should register as soon as possible. If this means setting an alarm to wake up a 6 a.m. when you become eligible to register, then so be it! Get registered and get excited for another great semester!

Class registration is an exciting time every semester, and with a little planning it can be simple. Have any more tips to help register for classes? Leave them in the comments section below!

Best Ways to Reach Out to Your Professor

It can often be intimidating to try and talk to your professor. Maybe you’re nervous, maybe you aren’t quite sure what to say, or how to approach the situation, but don’t worry, I’m here to help!

Here are the best ways to reach out to your professors:

Get to Class Early or Stay Late: It’s nice to give your prof the heads up that you have a concern, or something you want to speak to them about. This doesn’t mean you have to spill your guts to them right there in front of your whole class, but it does set the stage for you to gather your thoughts, let them know you want to discuss a few things, and set up a time to meet.

Email or Call Them: On every syllabus I’ve received, my professors have listed both their email and phone numbers—the really brave ones even put their cell phone numbers with the bold statement to “shoot them a text”. Now, you don’t have to send them any emoticons or give the 411 via text, but if you aren’t comfortable speaking to them in front of others, send them an email asking about office hours, or when they would be available for a meeting. This is low risk, and doesn’t put your prof on the spot to tell you when they are free—in fact it gives you the chance to check your schedule too!

Stop by Their Office: So you don’t want to talk to them in class, and you don’t have a computer handy, instead why not try stopping by their office. You can be casual and see if they are free, or make an appointment to come back. Going in person lets them put a face with a name and a little time to prepare information for your meeting.

Here are some important tips to remember regardless of how you decided to approach them, in any situation it’s best to remember these rules—even if you “shoot them a text”!

  • Don’t blame your teacher or accuse them of anything. No matter how unfair you think that last test was, or how much you struggle with their teaching style try and remember to make “I” statements, not “You” statements. You can feel a certain way and express those opinions constructively. If you blame your professors for your frustrations you put them on the defensive and they are less likely to want to be accommodating.
  • Be calm. The reason why it’s so effective to set up a meeting and come back to the situation is that it gives you time to cool off and collect what you want to say. Especially if there’s a problem, you want to come to the table prepared and not overly emotional. By putting some space between the event and your meeting you can put your best foot forward, and also give your prof some time to do the same—and think over any questions you may have posed when you set up the time to talk.
  • Finally, don’t underestimate your teachers. However scary or “mean” they seem in class, you may not be getting an accurate depiction of who they really are. The “meanest” teachers I’ve ever had actually turned out to be completely reasonable and ended up having the biggest effect on me. I learned more from professors who were tougher in class than I ever did from professors who tried too hard to be your friend. Be open to going to talk to your professors and don’t be nervous that they won’t understand. They want to help, they want to make sure you understand—that’s why they are there in the first place. Be open, be confident and be willing to see the bigger picture. Professors can help or hurt your attitude about a class. It’s your job to help connect the dots and find out how the two of you and your classmates can start to gel and really understand each other.


I’m reading The Hodges Harbrace Handbook

Education Startups

When I was first thinking about education start ups, the first thing that popped into my head were websites like Phoenix University, sites to prep for graduate school entrance exams, etc. It turns out there are a lot more resources out there for students to utilize. There are now places where students can interact with professors, learn from tools tailored to their specific learning styles,  and study confidently. Eventually, I hope no one will have to worry about what kind of parking pass they need, cry on the inside from overpriced books they are required to buy, and be able work from home. Here are some great startups that have helped students relieve some stress while studying.


Grockit puts the fun into studying by using online social learning services.  This company has developed a series of effective prep games for the LSAT, GMAT, SAT and high school AP classes.  Recently it has started a service called Grockit Answers.  Grockit Answers is a site that creates a question and answer page for any video on YouTube, allowing students to develop a better understanding on virtually any topic.  The company name comes from the work grok, which means to understand something so well that it becomes a part of you.  Grockit believes that students learn better through peer-to-peer learning rather than teacher-to-student and they are building their company around this belief.  With almost $25 million in funding, Grockit is well on their way to helping a lot of students.


Founded in 2008, 2tor partners with colleges and universities to build, implement, and market their online degree programs.  They supply the colleges with tools, expertise, and capital needed to develop and implement state-of-the-art online learning platforms.  2tor is able to enhance offline learning curriculum by creating an innovative online environment for students to learn.  With $64.8 million dollars in funding so far, this company is going to continue to grow and we think become a great success.

To give you an idea of the impact 2tor can have on a school, USC’s Masters of Teaching program had about 80 students before partnering with 2tor, and all of them were on its California campus. Now it boasts almost 1,500 students enrolled in the program across 45 states and 28 countries. They all pay the same full tuition and get exactly the same degree. 2tor handles the website, supplying the students with webcams, creating online teaching materials in partnership with faculty, the logistics of finding local schools were the students themselves can practice teaching. The company shares in the tuition revenue. 2tor has most recently partnered with UNC’s Kenan Flagler business school to help them bring their MBA online.


When Facebook was originally started it was only for college students.  This meant that you had the ability to see who was taking the same courses as you.  Once Facebook expanded beyond the scope of just college students this feature was discontinued.  Inigral is picking up where Facebook left off.  By developing an app called Schools, Inigral is able to show students not only which courses others are taking on but also other campus affiliations.  This means that a student is able to see which student organizations others are joining as well as other’s athletic involvement, majors chosen, and which residence halls they are living in.  What is unique about this app is that Inigral is selling it and making the colleges and universities pay for it instead of the students.  With only $7 million dollars in funding, Inigiral is certainly still in their infancy and they have a lot of room to grow.


19Pencils is an education startup that is geared towards K-8 educators, but can also be helpful to college students.  This site helps teachers and students quickly and easily find specific web content based on a topic.  It also allows educators to keep track of how much time a student is spending on a given task letting them see which students may need extra attention understanding and exploring a topic.  In addition, 19Pencils has introduced Playground where students can chat online amongst themselves sharing ideas and thoughts on assigned content.  While this startup is still in the very early learning stages, we think they have a great potential to grow into the education market.

“We’re so excited to be bringing easy-to-use technology to classrooms around the world. The 19Pencils educational ecosystem is a conglomeration of social bookmarking, online assessments, internet monitoring, and social media engagement – all working together to simplify and improve the educational process for both teachers and students,” said Neill Kramer, Co-founder of 19Pencils.” – (


Brainscape is a simple and brilliant way to facilitate studying.  This site and mobile app let students use “smart studying”, where students study with interactive flash cards.  As the student completes each flash card they are asked to rank the difficulty of that question.  The more difficult the question is the more it shows up in the student’s deck of flashcards.  There are several sets of flash cards that are built into the program and students are also able to build their own set of flashcards allowing them to study anything at all.  They also offer online teachers and premium content, if you need that little extra help.  Out of all the startups written about in this post, this one is by far my favorite.  It is such a simple concept, but also such an important one.  Using flashcards is a way for students to study verbally and visually.  I think we are going to watch this company skyrocket in the coming years.



I’m reading Music: An Appreciation