When It Comes To Class Times, The Early Bird Gets The ‘A’


“So you’re saying that if I enroll in an evening class, I’m going to get lower grades than someone enrolled in a morning class?” asked Joseph Pope, a student-athlete at Mercy College.

Some experts would tell him yes, that taking classes earlier in the morning is a better idea than taking it at night.

Two psychology professors from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York surveyed a sample of 250 college students about sleep, class schedules, substance use, and mood. In the result of their studies, they found that students enrolled in earlier classes earned higher GPAs.

The students in evening classes are predicted to obtain lower grade point averages and are more likely to abuse alcohol and lose more sleep than their peers taking morning classes.

Not all students agree.

Darin Brown, a Mercy College student, claims he would still party regardless. “I mingle regardless of whether I had a morning class or not.”

Taking evening classes is not always about a student wanting to sleep in. Sometimes, the classes are not even offered in the morning. Or for some students who play sports or have a part time job their schedule might not allow it.

Mercy students Tyshawn Teachey, Jacklynn Barton, and Brown were all asked if they would rather enroll in a morning class or an evening class. Teachey and Brown both agreed and said morning class while Barton disagreed and said evening.

“I just function better at night time, and it has nothing to do with wanting to party more,” explained Barton.

Based on St. Lawrence University’s study, students with an early class were more often discouraged from going out, and as a result they would be better rested and prepared to engage in the material during class. They found a slight drop in students’ grade point averages for each hour later a class starts.

“I would just rather take a morning class because I like having the rest of the day to myself,” said Brown.

Some students can sense the difference in the teacher.

“All my teachers in the morning are energetic and ready to teach,” said Brown.

Teachey disagreed and said, “My morning classes are boring and the teachers are not enthusiastic.”

Prof. Maryanne Smith teaches a Wednesday night class and doesn’t notice a difference in her students’ participation compared to when she is teaching a morning class. “I keep an eye out for students who start to fall asleep, and I just change the subject,” explained Smith. “It can happen in the morning or evening.”

She said she doesn’t always see a difference in work ethic, regardless of the house.

“I only know how I grade – you have to try to fail my class because that means you are choosing not to be active,” said Smith.

Participation in Smith’s class is the vital key in passing her class. Smith explained that, “If you do the work, you pass.”

The study implied that it became a matter of maturity when it comes to handling a college career. Yet each student is unique and all have different techniques when it comes to managing their academic career and social life.

So for next semester, should students keep in mind that the “dreaded 8 a.m. class” might be worth waking up for? According to the study, students may want to turn off the snooze button and head to class as early as possible.