How to Talk to Your Professor About Raising Your Grade

Want to talk to your professor about your grade but not sure how? Your instructor won’t ask you if you’re unhappy with your grade. If you’re not pleased with your performance in class, it’s up to you to set up a time to talk with your professor.

Here are 4 tips on how to conquer that grueling conversation:

Calculate your grade and compare it to the professor’s calculation before you speak to him or her. You can look at your syllabus to see how tests and homework are weighted. If you find a discrepancy in your grade, don’t get angry with your instructor. Politely let your teacher know that you figured a different grade, and ask if there might be something missing from the grade book.

Be honest about why you’ve gotten behind. Sickness, death in the family and being involved in too many activities are more legitimate excuses. However, the less legitimate ones are worth being noted. If you procrastinate, tell your instructor that you’re struggling with time management. If you haven’t been paying attention in class, tell him or her that you easily get distracted. Professors will appreciate your integrity and will be more likely to extend deadlines or offer extra credit.

Offer solutions on how you can raise your grade. Ask them if you can re-take a quiz or see about turning in missed assignments. Before you approach your teacher, put together a game plan. Know what’s missing from the professor’s grade book and figure out what test and quiz scores are hurting your grade the most.

Be grateful if he or she does give you a second chance. Unless your grade was mis-calculated by the instructor, it’s not their fault that you’re not happy with your current grade. Don’t be pushy and insist for more than what he or she offers. Instead, be thankful, and get your re-dos done in a timely manner.

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2 Responses to “How to Talk to Your Professor About Raising Your Grade”

  1. Jessie says:

    Thank you for your comment. Your points are sound and I tend to agree with the majority of the points you’ve shared; however, I think you are missing the objective of this article. A professor giving any student special treatment or adjusting anyone’s grade outside of his/her typical grading system is without question unfair to the other students and, arguably, to the student requesting the that treatment.

    I noticed you discussed the consequences that fall upon the professor for offering these unfair advantages to these “undeserving” students. This article is written for and from the student’s perspective. The responsibility of providing a fair grading system rests with the professor, not the student. This article is not written to coach professors on student psychology.This article is written to demonstrate ways to take advantage of these opportunities, fair or unfair.

    I wrote this blog, as I typically do, based on my personal experiences and those of my fellow classmates. Having had several professors offer me extra credit or allow me to make up assignments, as well as hearing many similar stories from other students, I can attest that it may not be as rare as you think. However, that is from my own personal experience, and I’m guessing that your comment was derived from your experience. Neither of our experiences make the other’s false, but to use the “needle in a haystack” phrase to describe the rarity of what I experienced seems inaccurate.

    Additionally, in my experience, professors want you to succeed, because at my university, tenure was based on the class performance of their students. Every time I have discussed my grade with my professor, my comments, suggestions and concerns were always welcomed and never discouraged.

    I must also tell you that my blog was written with reactive measures towards raising grades and not proactive ones. Of coarse, proactive trumps reactive in most contexts, but I’m trying to present reactive measures that students can take towards correcting past mistakes.

    Don’t get me wrong, I find every point that you made in your comment to be valid and true. However, I’ve never heard of a professor docking a grade even further because a student simply asked to make up missed work. At that point, there is simply nothing to lose in taking the measures I’ve demonstrated in this article, so how it can be dangerous advice perplexes me.

    Once again, I’m much appreciative of your time and interest in my blog. I welcome further comments, and I enjoyed reading what had to say. You must understand that when you start your comment with “some dangerous advice here,” I can’t help but think that you misunderstood my article.

    Thanks again,

    Jessie

  2. Patrick says:

    Some dangerous advice here. Unless the issue is a grade calculation error or a legitimate family/health emergency, I don’t think you’re going to find many professors willing to help you out. Telling a professor, “I don’t manage my time well or pay attention in your class” is not going to endear you to them, honest or not. There’s a well-known phrase: “Failure to prepare on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

    You might have that needle in a haystack professor willing to cut you a break, but it’s unlikely. Most will view that as unfair to the other students who *do* pay attention, and have just as many things to manage time-wise as you. Additionally, professors know if students start seeing them as someone who will relent if a student says, “I just didn’t get it done,” they’re going to see one of two things:

    1. A whole lot of students saying “I just couldn’t get it done” and expecting them to back down, which can severely undermine their authority.

    or, if they *don’t* relax the rules for everyone

    2. Accusations of being unfair and exhibiting favortism, which is the absolute last thing a professor wants, especially when it can be backed up by a “They let so and so re-take the exam, and not me, and we both had this going on.”

    If you do have a legitimate health or family emergency, let your professor know BEFORE the missed work starts rolling in. Simply dashing off a quick e-mail, phone call, or even asking a roommate to go talk to your professors is significantly better than saying “I had an emergency” after turning in a paper two weeks late. Given the technology we have, this really shouldn’t be that difficult.

    Being involved in too many activities is not likely to earn you a lot of points. Most professors are understanding–when told in advance–about needing to miss a class because of a legitimate, school-sponsored activity. But overcrowding your plate and expecting your professor to give you an extension is akin to saying, “All these other things are more important to me than doing the work for your class, but you understand and will make an exception for me, right?”

    Again, the question of fairness will come up. The professor’s likely to say, “The other students in this class have other activities they’re a part of, and other responsibilities, and they got their work in. I fail to see why you couldn’t.”

    You might think, “Yeah, but what’s the harm in asking?” But if start coming to professors with flimsy excuses to why you couldn’t get your work done, it’s going to make it that much harder for you when you have a *legitimate* excuse.


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