Ask LH: Can I Skip University Classes For Work?

Ask LH: Can I Skip University Classes For Work?

Hi Lifehacker, I recently started a new job and there are three weeks of continuous Monday to Friday training. However, I have university three days a week and thus am caught between a rock and a hard place. I’d like to go to the training: am I allowed to skip university classes with the reason being I have an obligation to be at work? Thanks, Student Of Schedules

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Dear SOS,

It depends on the university you attend and the course that you’re enrolled in. While some schools have very strict attendance policies, others are surprisingly tolerant towards students who don’t show up.

My journalism degree at the University of Western Sydney was about as lax as you can get in this regard. Attendance records were practically non-existent and lectures were compulsory in name only. As long as you showed up to exams and turned in your essays on time, you could pretty much wag the entire semester and still get a pass.

With that said, missing out on multiple classes is obviously going to affect your ability to learn. There’s only so much you can get from a textbook — most of the real learning comes from lectures, practicums and class discussions.

Your best bet is to jump through a few hoops to make everything fit. Most university courses offer multiple classes per week to accommodate enrolments. With some clever scheduling, you might be able to cram everything into a single day. You can then do your training on the remaining days of the week. (If your employer is reasonable, this shouldn’t be too hard to negotiate.) As for lectures, these are often posted on the university’s website: simply log on and take notes at a time of your choosing.

If that doesn’t work out, the other option is to simply miss three weeks of university. While this is far from ideal, you should escape an automatic fail if it’s only for three weeks: even the strictest universities allow a few absences. (Just don’t get sick for the rest of the year!)

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Speak to your head of school and follow up with the tutors to ensure you get all the material you missed. Also if your course allows, keep up with the class by watching recorded lectures so you don’t fall behind.

    Many units have evening classes; or evening classes for the post grad students but they are essentially the same. You can ask if you can attend these.

    Get a letter from work to support your case. Main thing is to not miss assignments or assessments.

  • In the last 8 years of full time classes the only time I’ve had any I couldn’t skip were the ones that had assessments in them (a test, giving a presentation, etc.) These were few and far between (half a dozen total per semester max), and technically I could still miss them if I wanted, I’d just miss out on some marks.

  • I really don’t know why you would ask Lifehacker a question like this. Surely you’d just go straight to your course coordinator?

    Don’t count on the uni giving you special treatment just because of work though. Most people have jobs while they’re at uni. You either find a way to make them both work, or one or the other suffers. That’s life.

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