The Impact of Absences on Students


John Hopkins University

A picture of children with white illustrations representing students missing from a classroom.

Lucy Lu, Photojournalist

“It’s just one day” and before you know it there’s a stack of absences and work to make up. Regular attendance is essential for a student’s academic success, lack of attendance may affect a student’s academics. More than 20% of students in an American high school are considered chronically absent according to the Department of Education. With absences becoming seemingly more common, there are a wide variety of reasons for absences, though they affect students all the same. 

Being in the classroom allows students to learn materials directly from a teacher while being in an educational environment surrounded by peers. This creates a better learning environment for most. While absent students have to learn and do the material at home which may be full of distractions, many times this will result in little to no work being done. In addition, frequent absences show a decline in academic performance and a drop in grades. Furthermore, it might feel hard to comprehend lessons once the student returns to the classroom due to missed instruction time.

Sometimes missing school is good for keeping a healthy body and to heal from injury.

— Taylor Sharp

Many factors may cause a student to be absent. The most common reasons in an American high school include physical and mental health, bullying, and family obligations/problems. Obviously, a student can’t control when and where they’re sick and whether or not to develop a chronic illness. Student-athletes are also more likely to get injured, and “Sometimes missing school is good for keeping a healthy body and to heal from injury”, said Taylor Sharp (9).  Likewise, mental health is critical; once in a while, a day off may make a difference. Sadly, bullying is a big cause of absenteeism. When students don’t feel comfortable and safe in an environment they may avoid being in it altogether. Last but not least, family issues, some students are made responsible by parents to watch over younger siblings or even a job that may cause them to miss school. And as life isn’t all smooth sailing, sometimes stuff happens at home, like divorce and deaths that make it hard to go to school. 

Even though it may feel impossible to catch up on what seems like a never-ending pile of work when being absent it is. Here are a few tips that may help. Organize and plan, make a checklist of all the work that needs to be done, and plan out a reasonable amount of time that will help you to catch up. Once you’re ready to start tackling the pile of work make sure you have all the materials needed right in front of you because all it takes is grabbing a ruler to go off task. Last but not least, put the phone away! This is so hard for many of us but, not having the option just to click open social media or text a friend makes all the difference.

Though it may be tempting to miss a day or two, habits can quickly develop. Attendance is crucial to maintain progressing educational progress.