How to Ask Your Professor for Extra Credit

So you had your first exam and it didn’t go as well as you had hoped. Are you stuck with this new dismal grade in your class? Not necessarily. You could pull some Secret Agent 007 moves and steal the exam, change your score, and return it before the professor enters the original score into his grade-book. Or you could take a more practical, and probably more successful, route and ask the professor for the opportunity to earn some extra credit.

There a few tried-and-true tactics that I employed during my four years of college that usually helped me get the extra credit that I needed. Here are my top tips that you can use when asking your professor for extra credit on an assignment or in the class in general.

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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.

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5 Ways to Get on Your Professor’s Good Side

Looking to make a good impression this year so you can score that “A”? Read these tips on how you can become the teacher’s pet.

Get there early: Arrive 5  minutes early. This is not only a sign of responsibility, but a sign of respect, too. At the very least, never be late to class. Not only is it embarrassing, but the most important material from your professor’s lesson is generally given at the beginning.

Never miss a class: A college student that shows up to every class is a rare gem. Teachers get paid whether you show up to class or not, but they like to see that you’re there to learn and not just to pass. If you do miss class, always let the professor know why, and ask how you can make up for time missed. Your teacher will appreciate that you’re taking initiative  to stay on top of the course material.

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Professor Teaches About Life and Death Through his Fight with Cancer

A terminal case of pulmonary lymphoma did little to stop Monte Bute, a professor at Metropolitan State University. He was handed a 14-month expiration date but Bute didn’t throw in the towel. Throughout his treatment, he has taken the opportunity to teach his students as much as he can. He captivates each class and takes them deep into the world of philosophy, history, literature, life and death.

Bute has been many things in his life, none of  which are considered conventional. Bute has experienced all 65 years of his life quite fully- from juvenile delinquency, to a peace activist hippy and now, a revered professor. Much to the joy of his inspired students, Bute’s cancer is currently in remission. Unfortunately, this particular type of cancer has a way of returning more aggressively than the first time. Bute is ready for it, happy to have extended his time on Earth by even the littlest amount. He told Minnesota Public Radio, “Death showed up at my door on my birthday last year and I’ve been playing him a game of chess. I may win or lose, but I’m willing to keep taking it on. If I win, I live. If I lose, he takes me.”

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“Clickers” on the Rise in Lecture Halls

class participation technologyMore professors are handing out hand-held devices at the start of lectures, in a effort to foster class participation. The small, wireless “clickers” are reminiscent of a remote control, but only feature a few buttons. Professors can get immediate feedback, and see who’s paying attention, by asking students to respond to a question with the device.

More than half a million are using clickers this fall, reports The New York Times. Some professors ask students to use the clickers to see if they understand a concept. The clickers also make it harder for students to snooze or get distracted, when they know that a failure to participate will be registered.

Many students resent the devices, it makes them feel overly monitored. “I actually kind of like it,” said Jasmine Morris, a senior at Northwestern. “It does make you read. It makes you pay attention. It reinforces what you’re supposed to be doing as a student.” Harvard, Vanderbilt, and the University of Arizona are among the many other colleges capitalizing on this technology.

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Kansas State Nutrition Professor Loses 27 Pounds on Twinkie Diet

College campuses can often be a place where new research is conducted on various relevant topics. In some cases, students are researching for an assignment, or in others, professors are researching for a lesson plan.

One research experiment that is getting a considerable amount of buzz was conducted by Professor Mark Haub of Kansas State University. Professor Haub wanted to prove that losing weight is a matter of burning more calories than you consume, so he went on a special diet that included various sweet treats like Twinkies, nutty bars and powdered donuts. He wanted to prove that all you need to be successful at weight loss is to count your calories and the nutritional content of the food you eat is overshadowed when you properly restrict your calories. Read the rest of this entry »

5 Ways to Improve Your Study Habits

StudyingDo you spend hours studying for a test only to get a C or lower? Most of the time, it’s not how long you study for a test, it’s how you study for a test that earns you an A.

Students often cram three to five hours the night before an exam, and they still don’t feel like they’re prepared. Though cramming may work for some students, it didn’t work for me, and if you’re getting C’s on your test, it’s not working for you either.

Here’s five ways to improve your study habits:

Take notes: This is an obvious solution, but some students think they don’t need to take notes to do well in a class. In my experience, however, good note-taking has gotten me several A’s. Writing something down helps with memorization. You don’t have to fill a whole spiral notebook with notes, just write down keywords. Here’s a hint: if your professor writes something down on the board, that probably means it will be on the test, so write that down too. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Ask for an Extension on a College Project

school workSometimes it seems like college professors forget we students have other classes besides theirs. Last semester, I had three tests, two papers, and a project all due the same week. It was incredibly stressful and I knew that I would not be able to finish all of my assignments on time and study for my tests. So what is the stressed-out, time-crunched, and sleep-deprived student to do? Ask for an extension.

Contrary to popular belief, professors actually are human beings, and if you present your request for an extension on a project in the correct way, they might grant it. Here are some of my tips for successfully asking for an extension.

Have a meeting set up. You shouldn’t just approach your professor after class to ask for an extension. Your professor is a very busy individual, and interrupting them while they are preoccupied with something else isn’t the best time to ask for a favor. Instead, ask to meet during his/her office hours. This will guarantee your professor’s full attention, which will make it easier to plead your case. Read the rest of this entry »

20 Easy Ways to Annoy Your Professor

Want to impress your professor? Then here’s a list of things for you not to do. Trust me—I used to be a professor, and if you’re looking for a way to get under your professor’s skin, here’s your guidebook!

  1. Whine about everything, especially your grades.
  2. Hand in papers with crinkled up corners instead of a staple.
  3. Text message your friends during class.
  4. Play Sudoku during class.
  5. Have your cell phone ring in class. Choose a loud, obnoxious, and preferably somewhat obscene ring tone.cell phone
  6. Send emails full of misspellings and text speak. For bonus points, address your professor as “dude.”
  7. If asked to participate, ignore the request. Or better yet, make tangential remarks that don’t make any sense, or semi-obscene remarks. With a little creativity, it’s easy to derail a class discussion.
  8. Miss deadlines, and always have a sob story for why you can’t get things in on time.
  9. Never proofread. Ignore spell check.
  10. Tell your professor that the assignment is unfair because that other professor who teaches this class doesn’t give that assignment.
  11. Whine about how your friends got better grades than you.
  12. Bargain for points on assignments and tests. Spend at least half an hour arguing about 2 points.
  13. Always come in late.
  14. Miss class frequently–and then ask questions that were answered in detail on days you weren’t there.
  15. Make it clear that you are doing as little work as possible to earn a C.
  16. Whine about your professor on a public message board.
  17. Email a question about tomorrow morning’s exam to your professor at 2:00 a.m.and then act annoyed that your professor isn’t accessible enough to students.
  18. Look chronically bored. Pretend like you are twelve and your parents have dragged you along to a family dinner or church or something. Roll your eyes and sigh.
  19. Complain about your professor to other faculty members. (Yes, this will get back to your professor.)
  20. Never say hi or make eye contact—unless you need something, of course.


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