College is hard. Receiving poor grades that you don’t feel you deserve? That’s even harder. Luckily for you, we have some helpful tips from students that have been in the same situation as you. Keep reading for tips on how to politely ask your professor to change your grade, and good luck!
Welcome to How To Change Your Grade 101!
Welcome to SOCIETY19’s edition of “How To Change Your Grade 101″. First of all, this isn’t a tough class. It’s all about common courtesy and common sense. Professors put their name, email, office hours, telephone number, etc., on their syllabus for the very reason of making it more convenient for students to reach out to them.
Scheduling a face-to-face meeting with your professor is a smart idea, especially if questions cannot be answered through a simple email or in limited class time. You can email your professor initially, however, if you it is the only way to contact them.
Most of the questions a student asks can be answered through one of two ways: First, the syllabus. (Yes, READ IT.) Second, via email. This is more of an “Emailing your Professor 101” kind of story.
Let’s look at an example below!
Example of how to ask your professor to change your grade via email:
SUBJECT: College Writing II – Issue with Grading
Dear Prof. Smith,
Hello, I am a sophomore in your class, ENG 21011 – College Writing II. I am emailing you because I am having difficulty understanding the grade posted on Blackboard earlier today. The grade for assignment “Research Highlights” reads that I received a 15 out of 25. I do not feel this reflects my ability to perform in your class, as I am sure I met all of the assignment’s requirements. If I can do anything to change this grade, please let me know.
Include what class you’re in in your subject line.
Let’s review. It is recommended that the subject line contain not only a title summary of what the email is about, but also should include which class the student is in. This lets your professor know, “Hey, I’m not spamming you.”
Refer to your instructor as Professor, Doctor, etc., unless given permission otherwise.
Unless stated otherwise on the syllabus, stay safe with how you address your professor by using “Dear Professor…” or simply, “Dear Prof.”
Overall, the email should be short, sweet, and to the point.
Overall, the email should be pretty direct and to the point. Avoid fluffy language and extensive vocabulary. The professor is either just as or busier than the student. It may seem like a polite thing to say, “How are you?” or “I hope you are having a nice day.” And it is. Sometimes it just depends on the type of professor. This is an optional inclusion to show that you respect your professor for his time and his willingness to help.
Keep the introduction brief.
No need for your name, because you will sign your email at the bottom anyway. Include the first five-digit numerical code for the class, because this also helps the professor pinpoint which class he teaches. You may also want to include the days and time the class meets.
Then, jump right into why you are reaching out to the professor. This could be about anything: a misunderstood grade, you missed a class and need the notes (in this case, the professor likely will tell you to email a classmate), a need for an explanation of the essay rubric, or maybe you would like him to revise your thesis statement.
Tell them you have already tried to solve the issue yourself.
You have the option of mentioning how you have already tried to solve the problem. Perhaps you tell the professor you have already searched the syllabus, asked a classmate, sought tutoring help. This might make the professor more willing to help you directly if he knows you have been trying to solve the problem on your own. After all, we are adults here in college.
Be polite and never place blame on the professor.
Be polite, and never place blame on your professor or his class. Instead, use only “I” statements. Your grade is your responsibility, but your professor could cut you some slack depending on how dedicated you have proven yourself to be in his class.
The perfect signature to your email:
Finally, end with a “thank you,” and sign your full name.
What to do if your professor doesn’t respond:
Every professor responds differently, depending on how often they check their emails, how many emails they have, etc., so expect a delay in response time. If the question is super urgent, asking him in person is your best bet. Otherwise, a professor that is more on-top of their emails should reply within two days or by the next class.
If worse comes to worst – i.e. the professor is taking too long to reply, he hasn’t had time to answer your questions in class, his office hours have been mixed all week – send a follow-up email.
Sending a follow up email if they take too long to respond:
Begin by explaining, “This is a follow-up to my previous email about…….” and finish with something like, “Please respond as soon as you are able.” It doesn’t hurt to put a little urgency in the e-mail, as long as the request does not sound like a demand or as though you are putting yourself as your professor’s priority.
Emailing your professor can seem a lot less daunting than meeting the professor in person. Every situation calls for a different way of being handled. The student-professor relationship is an important one for both the future career of the student and the continuing career of the professor.
What kind of results have you received if you’ve asked a professor to change your grade? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image source: dailyurbanista.com, picjumbo.com
Kathryn Monsewicz is a journalism major at Kent State University. Her goal is to give readers stories they can see, feel, listen to and love. Her focus is in magazine journalism with the ultimate dream of becoming a traveling journalist.