Is It OK to Walk-Into Random Classes and Attend Lectures?

Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by David Shaw

walking into collge classes

Have you ever wondered if you can walk into college and attend class or would like to try it? Some students think about walking into classes that are not related to their major to learn or get an introduction to the subject, while some do it for other purposes.

But is it okay to walk into classes and attend class?

As a general rule, it is often okay to walk into big classrooms and attend lectures without getting into trouble with school authorities. Many students tend to walk-in to certain classes to prepare themself ahead of taking the class in the future or simply need to request an add code from professors.

There are a couple of reasons or times where students would need to walk into classes in universities. Although you will often be free from troubles even if you’re not enrolled, there are things you should also avoid to not get yourself in trouble with school authorities.

What You Should Know Before Walking Into Classes

Professors typically won’t ask if you’re enrolled in their class if you walk in, they simply assume you are and won’t suspect unless you behave suspiciously or are disrupting the class. Although you can walk into classes or try to attend certain classes in your university without being enrolled, there are certain things you should keep in mind to avoid getting chased out of classes by the lecturer or authority.

– Show Up Consistently

You should always show up consistently starting with the first few session of class, especially in classes around 30 to 60 students to avoid suspicion! For smaller classes, professors usually pay detailed attention or keep good track of the number of students enrolled in their classes. In order to sit around the class to listen to the lecture, make sure you show up since the first week of class so the lecturer won’t assume you’re a walk-in student deciding to stick around for some time.

Tip: Unless it’s a classroom conducted in big lecture halls housing more than up to a few hundred students, then do as please since the professor wouldn’t likely notice your new presence in their class.

– Don’t take exams or quizzes!

If you’re benefitting from the convenience of complimentary lectures, one of the things you should NEVER do is take the exams or quizzes that are created by the instructor.

If you’re still hanging around a class that you’re enrolled in for certain reasons, getting caught taking the exam could land you in huge trouble with the school faculty. Many professors make their own exam questions, and choose to keep their exam materials confidential from anyone outside of their class. Some universities even impose policies that let lecturers keep final examination papers from students after they take them due to documentation and duplication prevention purposes.

So the next time you try to be smart thinking about taking home exams or quiz papers without permission, you’re likely breaking a serious offense and would definitely get in serious trouble with school authorities.

– Make Your Purpose Known If You’re Called Out

Some lecturers get right down into progress early in the semester and require assignments to be completed and accessed through the online student portal. If you’re walking-in into the class for add codes or to just learn about the introduction of the class materials, you should make your purpose known early so that you will be temporarily exempted from group participation and homework assignments.

Since certain popular classes get fully enrolled early, many students would stick around for add codes which professors usually give out if any of the enrolled students decide to drop the class.

Even if you’re caught in the act, you can often be just let off the hook with a warning if you tell the truth, provided the fact you aren’t there to cause trouble.

– Avoid Walking-in Into Classes That Are Full

It should be obvious enough that you shouldn’t walk into classes that are full especially if it’s a small class, If you attempt to walk-in into classes that are full, you are clearly disrupting the class as you prevent other students from attending lectures if there are lack physical space to fit any extra member. Besides not having a seat to house additional occupants, you are only making it obvious and giving it off to the instructor that you’re not officially enrolled in the class and will obviously be asked to leave! Like, come on?

Can I Attend Classes Without Being Enrolled?

obvious student among crowd

The bigger question beckons, can someone not enrolled in a university attend classes? To be exact, you can’t attend class without being enrolled in a university, but rather only participate in lectures. Since you are not fully granted access to lecture materials through the university student portal, you essentially cannot fully attend classes conducted in universities.

However, such a barrier wouldn’t stop you from experiencing a good portion of world-class education if you’re genuinely interested in learning. From 2008 to 2012, a Canadian by the name of Guillaume Dumas, lived like an identity of a college student, snuck into many lectures of elite universities in the US, and survived to tell the tale.

In his testimonials, he advised was to “start with big lecture courses” and assume as if you’re “enrolled as a liberal-arts student” he said.

If someone has already done it and even went forward to publicly boasts such a feat, there are surely more of these people secretly doing it in the shadows. Regardless, should you ever try doing such a thing, be smart and stay out of trouble at all cost, and do it at your own risk!

If you walk in to classes around for a long period of time without being enrolled, you should do it at your own risk

– Walk-in To Bigger Classrooms

If you’re unfamiliar with how classes and the structure of how university classrooms are conducted, attending big lecture halls is the best place to start with. It is usually in the bigger classroom where you tend to find students who are a bit confused about what they do, in which you won’t even look suspicious in the slightest. And if you observe, ask questions and participate enough, you can easily just fit right in the class if the teacher likes you.

– Be Confident, and Don’t Make things Obvious!

Some students or professors don’t appreciate your unauthorized presence in lectures simply because they’ve sacrificed a lot or paid a huge sum of tuition money to get into the university.

In no way do we encourage lying, but you should never tell someone in the class that you’re not enrolled if you want to stay around! So don’t go around boasting it to students in the class and make a fool out of yourself! It is best if you never reveal your identity because someone among them might tell on you. At least make an effort to let people feel like you’re a student with the appropriate attire or enthusiasm of a learner.

– Behave Like a Student

Although this might sound blatantly obvious, behaving like a student means that you should at least bring a note, pencil, or a laptop to look like you’re a student participating in lectures. Avoid asking silly questions or attracting unnecessary attention, some professors have sharp intuitions and can tell if any person attending classes is a legitimate student or not. If a university is well known for having many random guests walking into lectures, the authorities may sometimes ask you each student to show proof of identification or status as an enrolled student before entering the premises of their buildings.

Alternatives for World-Class, Free Education (Not a Scam)


If you’re interested in learning world-class education online from the most elite universities like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Peking, Stanford and so many more around the world, then edX is here to make that wish come true.

The only reason so less people know or use edX to learn is that it really sounds too good to be true, as they’re really giving free lectures on the internet for everyone to access completely free, without needing to enter your credit card info! You read that right, the best universities around the world are offering COMPLETELY FREE courses on edX, all thanks to the power of the internet! However, there’s a caveat, which is really not that big of a deal, and that is optionally choose to pay for the digital certificates upon completion of the online courses.

Final Take

From my personal experience of 4 years of attending different colleges and universities, I can definitely confirm it is easy to sneak or walk-in into classes without being caught, especially for bigger classes that can occupy up to 100 students and above.

And realistically, if you’re ever caught, school authorities will just kindly ask you to leave, although you might be under their radar if you get caught too many times. I am willing to share this because I think money or social privilege should not stop people from accessing quality education. If getting a college degree is your passion or dream, look into scholarship programs or student loans that are easy to apply for. If you’re even brave enough to not let things stop you, walk up to the admissions team of the college, talk to them and they probably can help or even give you some pointers on opportunities to attend their college or neighboring ones.

David Shaw

I enjoy blogging about the college experience, teaching people how to navigate and hack their way through college. I also enjoy promoting financial literacy among young individuals.

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