A few days ago, you completed a class project that you genuinely put 12+ hours into.
Grades are supposed to be posted online today and you just happen to be eagerly awaiting the adjustment to your profile. Having refreshed the page a few times and seeing that no changes have been made, you go back to studying and messaging your buddy on Facebook. An hour or so later, you try once more to check if the grades for the big project are up. It just so happens that they are! When you look up the assignment, you see a grade you didn’t intend on receiving… It’s a D.
Totally NOT what you were expecting. You click on the class syllabus to see how much this grade will impact your overall class average to discover that it’s unfortunately worth 30%.
It’s moments like this that make you say, “oh $h1t…”
The situation is delicate for sure. In the heat of the moment you seesaw between anger and humiliation. With the varying thoughts running through your head, like ‘my professor sucks‘ to ‘I totally suck‘ and even ‘how did this even happen,‘ it’s hard to focus on a positive solution.
Stop, drop and roll my friend.
It’s not the end of the world or life as you know it. You got a bad grade, who cares…So, before you freak out and do something terrible – like write your professor a crappy email – take a moment and re-read your syllabus.
Does the syllabus have extra credit points listed?
Option a: Yes – fewwwww…Now, use this moment of positive energy to write an email to your professor about possibly reviewing the project with him/her after your next scheduled class date (or whenever they have the time).
Option b: No – well, not a total waste of time. That still doesn’t mean no entirely. Focus on drafting up an email to your professor about the possibility of discussing the current grade on your paper. Express your concerns about the grade and how it will affect your overall average for the class. Don’t rant, just keep it short and to the point.
The key thing to remember here is – BE POLITE! Just because it’s in text, doesn’t mean you won’t risk the chance of souring your relationship with the professor. You’re trying to win ’em over.
Pointers for your date with your professor:
#1: Arrive early to the appointment.
#2: Remain calm.
#3: Be polite, but express your concern about the grade.
#4: Ask him/her what your options are.
#5: Be sure to let him/her know that you’re serious about the class and want to do well in it.
Scenario a: Since extra credit was listed on the syllabus, you need to find out how much the extra credit will contribute to your grade increase. If it’s minimal, inquire with your professor as to whether they would take into consideration you re-doing the paper, but on another topic.
Also, this is the time to bring up point #5 above again just for added emphasis.
Scenario b: Since extra credit was not listed on the syllabus, you’ll need to review the paper with your professor. You should do this at length so that you can learn from the errors you made and understand your professors point of view and reasoning behind the grade that they gave to you. Once you’ve gone through the material, find out if they offer extra credit and/or if they’d give you a chance to re-do the paper. Mention point #5 above again just for added emphasis.
In either case – if they say no, then there is always the option of appealing your grade. If you feel they’re leaning towards a no, politely bring this up. Not as a rebuttal to the answer, but more of a ‘hey, I’m happy you took the time to explain this to me, but you’re not giving me any wiggle room to work with. I need to make an A/B in this class in order to pass or… blah, blah, blah… Since that’s not a possibility given the recent grade and the remaining projects due, I’m going to have to appeal this.‘
In most cases, your teacher or professor will want to avoid this. It brings unwanted attention to them by the department head and the dean. Like you, they get graded too. The important things to remember are to follow the class requirements, learn from your mistakes and use that as a back board for completing the next project. Don’t be shy to ask for help or to see examples of what an ‘A’ assignment looks like.
Now that you’ve openly expressed your concerns and gone out of your way to ‘make up’ for the grade, you can focus on the remainder of your semester in the class. The good news is, you’re now aware of what your professor is looking for and you can use that energy towards future assignments, participating in class and studying for mid-terms or the final exam. So, as long as you pass the remaining assignments and tests, you should pass the class with a decent grade. If you don’t, retake the class with another professor.
As a Dorm Room Movers author, feel free to leave any comments and/or suggestions on tips to fight for a good grade.
Good luck to you in your studies,
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