We all have been in a situation where we feel nervous right before speaking to a crowd. The feeling is not pleasant, especially in college where you are forced to do so, but most colleges make speech class a requirement to getting a degree. However, not everyone can stand before a crowd to speak, which is why many seek to avoid it.
Here’s how to avoid taking a speech class in college:
- Communicate your fear to your instructors on time.
- Apply for college disability accommodations.
- Get a degree that doesn’t require public speaking.
- Consider an online college.
- Consult with your school psychologist.
By reading the whole article, you’ll learn some incredible tips on how to skip taking a public presentation class. For the record, the steps presented would work differently for each person depending on your college and reasons for wanting to avoid speech class.
1. Communicate Your Fear to Your Instructors on Time
Public speaking is a compulsory course in almost all colleges and for all majors. Teachers often feel that this would help students get over their anxiety, but this is not always the case.
Some students just can’t stand public discussions.
So, if you are one of those, you’ll need to communicate your fear to your instructors on time and explain why you should not take the class. You might get a favorable response if you are clear, honest, and lucky enough.
Teachers who understand the devastation of anxiety will usually provide an alternative to public presentation. One of such could be to make you write a lengthy written piece, which might be an easy way out if your teacher is kind enough.
For this to work, you need to have informed your instructor at the beginning of classes the moment you notice speech class on the syllabus. A last-minute email to your professor explaining why you won’t present with others may not cut it.
That makes it seem like an evasive plan or that you made it up.
Let your instructor know on time and make sure that you are convincing enough. You would have to be honest about how crippling and intense public presentations are for you when trying this.
If that doesn’t work and you are still forced to take the class, you might as well suggest having your presentation with the professor alone, in the absence of other students. This option is by far better than having to stand in front of a whole crowd and have various eyes peering at you.
As we said, some instructors understand when it comes to students, public speaking, and anxiety. Your professor may just ask you to present in front of a camera alone if you are convincing enough.
2. Apply for College Disability Accommodations
There are two categories of students that may want to skip a speech class because it scares them.
The first group is diagnosed with selective mutism or social anxiety.
People feel they need to avoid speech class for various reasons. The top excuse, which you would often hear from students, is mostly anxiety disorder or social anxiety. For instance, people diagnosed with social anxiety would feel genuine terror with visible symptoms just by the prospects of presenting.
The other category includes those who experience normal public speaking fear.
Although the degree of nervousness for this group may vary, it is usually nothing serious. It might be that this group tries to avoid speech class due to lack of preparation or other excuses.
Those eligible for college accommodations are people in the first group. These are the ones that may feel terrified to death when they have to stand before people to present. Some feel extreme anxiety that they cannot move or speak when they feel very anxious.
People with this disability are covered under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA).
If you are diagnosed with anxiety, you should seek accommodation with the school’s disability service office. Your instructor and your advisor should be aware of this, too, before the start of your classes. This makes you eligible to avoid speech class. As a result, the school’s disability service comes up with an accommodation plan other than speaking in class.
However, you need to have the appropriate documents to get your desired result of skipping speech class.
Prepare the Appropriate Documentations
There’s no IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) or 504 plan once you have crossed over to college because these programs are for children under 18. But, college students are eligible for accommodations under section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
To qualify for accommodations, you must submit appropriate documentation to the Disability Services office of your college.
Whether or not you receive the accommodation depends on the discretion of the Disability Services director of the college. How many details you provide goes a great length to determine whether you would eventually skip presenting (source).
You’ll need to provide as much information about your anxiety as possible. Paint a vivid picture of the most intricate detail of your phobic experience in their minds. The more information you provide, the better.
Since anxiety disorder is considered a disability, this law could be your protection from taking a speech class. As mentioned earlier, the accommodation could be that you would be asked to present your speech to your teacher alone (source).
3. Get a Degree That Doesn’t Require Public Speaking
If you intend never to take a speech class, and you don’t care much about a degree, then go for a degree that doesn’t require a public presentation.
Note that it is almost impossible to go through college without being required at one point or another to make a public presentation. However, not all colleges make speech classes mandatory for a degree.
For instance, deaf education may not require you to go through an oral presentation. You just have to research which one wouldn’t require public speaking, which might be very hard to find now that almost all schools mandate public speaking.
For a better understanding of this, see Why Is Public Speaking Required in College?
4. Consider an Online College
Finding a college without a requisite public speaking course these days can be almost impossible. Many online colleges now require you to make presentations, even if only on a few occasions.
Some might ask you to speak at a public place with someone recording you while on stage. However, there are some online colleges where you don’t have to bother about speaking publicly.
All you do is hide behind your computer, attend classes online, and make contributions on your classroom forums. This behavior is now even reinforced by the pandemic, with schools now operating online.
As we said, that doesn’t stop some schools from making a speech class compulsory.
If you can go through with at least one presentation, your chances of getting into an online college become even higher. Many online colleges require you to take at least one public speaking course compared to their physical counterparts (source).
You may also be surprised to know that certain jobs require no communication skills, such as mail sorters and machine operators within the postal service. Therefore, you might be lucky to find an online school with zero public speaking courses.
If you are eventually called for a presentation and are unsure if you can take it, you could move to another city and notify the school of your relocation. That isn’t advisable, though.
5. Consult With Your School Psychologist
Consulting with your psychologist could also be a viable option if you convince your school psychologist to believe you. Getting a note from the psychologist could grant you some leeway when it comes to making public speeches.
One attached benefit is that you could also use the note recurrently to avoid taking a speech class.
However, you’ll want to talk with your guidance counselor before visiting the psychologist to avoid wasting your time. By doing that, you’d be able to tell if getting a note from the psychologist could help you bypass speech class.
As discussed earlier, anxiety is a condition that is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It qualifies you for accommodations to help you with the impacts of anxiety. We would advise that you visit your school’s Disability Service Office (DSO) and provide the necessary paperwork.
The information they get from you determines the kind of accommodations you will get. Whether you are speaking to your school psychologist or teacher, you have to be specific to the last detail about your anxiety disorder (source).
Why Are Speech Classes Made Compulsory in Colleges?
Public speaking is daunting and terrifying. Several distressing thoughts run through the mind thinking about presenting. The truth is, public speaking is a much-needed skill in our world today. However, whether or not colleges should make it compulsory is a contentious topic.
Speech classes are made compulsory to help students overcome their speech fright and become more sociable. Teachers are aware that we, as humans, naturally feel scared when asked to talk in public.
Students who take advantage of public speaking find it useful later. It has more to do with passing a message to an audience than standing before a crowd.
It might be difficult to find a degree that does not require public speaking. Weirdly enough, even after avoiding speech class while in college, you may later find yourself in a work environment that requires regular presentations.
We would advise that you consider not skipping a speech class unless you are critically affected by social anxiety, as it might be easier to get it over with than it is to try to avoid it.
Is Taking a Speech Class Worth It?
Taking a speech class is worth it if you strive to get better at it. Since we are social beings and at one point in our lives we’d have to speak before a group of people, public speaking could be inevitable in one’s lifetime.
While you may seek to avoid taking speech classes in college, it might help you confront your anxiety about public speaking.
At first, you may feel extremely anxious when you have to stand and present before a group of people. However, acquiring public speaking skills builds your confidence and relevance to a great length.
To some, avoiding public speaking is justifiable and reasonable because they can’t cope with it.
However, avoiding a speech class might not be the best option for your fears. Rushing head-on into a public presentation isn’t also the best option for someone with anxiety, either. It could leave a daunting fear in the heart of someone that has never done it.
A subtler approach to getting over your anxiety is to try out online public speaking courses. But, not wanting to take a speech class doesn’t imply that you’re a failure.
Taking speech class in college is not as big of a deal as you might imagine. You may want to consider combining a few of the tips in this article to get the best outcome.
It’s worth noting that people with social anxiety can lead a fulfilled life.
On the other hand, if what you feel is the expected level of fear anyone can have due to an upcoming presentation and nothing out of the ordinary, you should consider presenting. This will not only make you crush your anxiety but will gradually build your confidence.