What About Approaching Your Professor for Some Higher Grades?

Student at the Professor’s Door

Indeed, a modern student has nowhere to escape from the system of grades, which is applied at most types of schools almost all around the world. Although nowadays prominent experts of the world’s most powerful and influential educational centers are rumored to have started implementing the idea about substituting grades, as the indicators of students’ progress, for something less definite, still nothing is ready enough to break down the present principles for effective evaluation of a student’s achievements.

At the same time, the system of grades still can be reproached with a few shortcomings. The thing is that they usually turn into the reasons for students’ disagreement about the way their teachers or professors assess their work. Let’s have a closer look at them.

  • Firstly, the grade your professor gives you may happen to be influenced by his or her personal considerations that don’t have any objective basis or background.
  • Secondly, the grades you receive let’s say for a test or exam sometimes can’t evaluate the real knowledge and practical skills that you possess.
  • Thirdly, such system of grading students for what they have done and achieved can motivate them to move further as strongly as demotivate, depending on what they get for their work.

Consequently, it is absolutely obvious that as a student you would like your grades to be reconsidered if you are sure you deserve more than you have been given.

What do you need to raise your grades then? Right, you just need to ask the professor who checked your essay or test paper to do it. And that’s where all the troubles come from.

Easier Said Than Done: What Keeps You away from Discussing Your Grades?

When the grades you’ve got for an assignment appear to be lower than you expected, and especially when you can’t make out the particular reason why some points were taken from you, it’s quite natural that you wish to talk about the issue with your teacher or professor. By default, for you the aim of this talk is to make an attempt or find a way to increase your grade. However, you can’t know for sure whether your professor will like this idea or not.

Challenge #1: At Best I’ll Be Just Told Off

This will definitely be the mildest and most inoffensive form of your professor’s indignation. However, this situation will anyway get you down and spoil the professor’s mood as well. You’ll be absolutely right and reasonable if you say that you aren’t very fond of causing such turn of events.

Challenge #2: My Actions May Influence My Future Grades for this Course

Yes, it’s also true, unfortunately. Although ideally there shouldn’t be any place for personally biased attitudes in terms of the study process, still your request to raise the grades that you’ve got for completing a particular task or test may turn out to be the reason for your professor to be much stricter to your grades for your future work. This means that he or she won’t turn a blind eye to some of your mistakes or misunderstandings. So, of course, you can’t find it smart at least to try to start talking about such an issue.

Student and Teacher Arguing

Challenge #3: I May Look Like an Upstart

Below we’ll provide some more tips on what you should say and how you should behave when approaching your professor for the grades issue. You should remember that it’s actually the way you treat people that can make them see you as an upstart, and not the subject of the issue you want to discuss with them.

Challenge #4: At Worst My Relations with My Teacher Will Be Spoilt Forever

No matter whether you like a discipline or not, still you certainly don’t want to be on bad terms with your teacher or professor. What is more, you know that it may be quite difficult to be back in his or her good books. Since you’re not, literally everything about your study can change, and not for the better. Such a prospect hardly can make you happy. So again you wouldn’t like to raise an argument about your grades, though you’re not satisfied with them, and get into quite a long lasting troubles.

Why Can This Be Still Worth Trying?

Your unwillingness or, maybe, even some kind of fear to approach your professor for the unfair grades you were given can be understood easily and sympathized sincerely. Nevertheless, if you know that your time and efforts could be evaluated much higher and you feel you can prove it, then you should have a try. Here are a few persuasive reasons why this is worth a try.

Reason #1: Your Professor Is Also a Human, Really

This means that he or she can also make mistakes, forget things, have family problems and simply be tired. Due to all these factors, which are common for all of us, your professor can really be wrong sometimes. So there will be nothing bad for you if you point at this wrongness in a friendly, respectful and understanding way.

Probably, your instructor made a mistake when summing up the total grade for your test paper. He or she might not make out a few lines in your essay, which you found highlighted with a wavy line. Your point of view regarding some controversial historical issues might not coincide with the one that your teacher has and that you had to learn for this time despite the fact that you read a few nice smart books to refer to and support your opinion with.

These are trifles that can be resolved quickly and painlessly if you approach the resolution in a right way. Just accept the fact that human weaknesses and mistakes aren’t alien to teachers and professors.

One Student and Teacher at Class

Reason #2: You Can Gain a Personal Chance to Improve Your Grades

If your instructor, professor or teacher is a professional educator, you can count on really handy and effective tips on learning the discipline and getting good marks without pain. Even when you manage to be equally good (or, probably, even excellent) at all subjects, not all of them come easily to you. So in order to keep the desirable balance between very different disciplines, you should prove that you’re really interested in those grades which you receive for what you do.

In this way you can show that you respect your teacher’s or professor’s work as well as value your own time and efforts, which you want to direct at enriching your knowledge, improving your skills and therefore increasing your grades.

If you let the teacher know that, together you can find, probably, the only best way out of this situation about grading and any other negative consequence that it may lead you both to. Besides, you can get valuable advice and learn some effective strategies which will help you to achieve much better results later on.

Reason #3: It’s an Opportunity to Maintain Friendlier Relationships with Your Professor

While working out the most reasonable solution for the issue about raising your grades together with your instructor or professor, you can learn much more nice things about him or her as a person. You may appear to be really surprised by how different these people can be when they aren’t holding a lecture or watching their students during another test.

If your approach is polite and respectful, if it’s supported by reasonable valid arguments and sincere wish to cooperate and learn, you can really please your professor motivating him or her to help you. At the same time, the way you treat the professor and the things you do to achieve what you want, can also put you in a good light, making you look different from who you are at his or her classes.

As you get to know each other better, out of this study routine and all its formalities, your attitudes towards each other will change as well. Just make sure that you do realize and want it.

A Few General Recommendations for All Cases

Of course, the situations when there will be a necessity to discuss grades are different. Sometimes you can control them. Sometimes the circumstances seem to be against you. However, there are some universal guidelines you should follow, regardless of the reason why you’re going to approach the professor for higher grades. Let’s see what we have here.

Student Sitting Inside an Empty Classroom

Analyze Your Mistakes

Check what exactly is wrong about your assignment or test paper. This is the first thing you should do before giving vent to your indignation. Look carefully through the mistakes marked by the teacher and make sure that you understand them clearly. If you feel that there are some statements, approaches, solutions or opinions as well as some spelling issues which your teacher treated as wrong, but you are 99.9% sure they’re right, then you should write them all down and approach your teacher with the neat list of questions.

Arm Yourself with Arguments

Smart and strong arguments are your most harmless and effective weapon to use for the sake of higher grades. After you’ve checked whether there are the mistakes which you actually don’t consider as “mistakes”, decide how you can prove your point of view. If you want to refer to the particular literature or materials you’ve studied, you must be sure that these are reliable and respected sources, which your teacher will at least acknowledge if not agree with. In terms of a different method you used to solve, for example, a problem in physics, considering that your answer is correct, you should explain it to your professor. Who knows, maybe you’ve found a brand-new approach to some physics phenomenon.

Be Positive

Psychologists have proved that our mood can have quite a significant influence on the people we communicate with. So you should call for maximum optimism that you’re capable of generating in this stressful situation. Let’s look how it will work.

  1. You know that you’re right and you know how to prove it. Then why worry?
  2. Even if your professor can show you that you are not right, still you’ll find out the correct answer or solution, and won’t make the same mistake again. Then why worry?

Try to Understand and Sympathize

This may seem slightly moralizing but anyway you should take into account the fact that we are all human beings who deserve sympathy and understanding. Of course, personal concerns and emotions of a professional can’t influence his or her objective views on other people and things that he or she faces in reality. Nevertheless, when you’re able to assume that professors might not sleep well the other night or their children might hurt them somehow, it’ll help you to treat yours with more respect and sympathy. You can never know that these are actually the things which he or she needs so badly.

Discuss Your Issue in Private

If you need to speak to your professor about the grades, it’s better to make a personal appointment in advance. You don’t need an audience, do you? Both of you will feel more comfortable, and the atmosphere will be much calmer. Also, you’d better not tell your mates about such issue. Keep it personal. However, if you feel you need a piece of advice, it’s better to ask your parents or the teacher you’re in very good terms with. In case you have a friend who’s had such experience, you can also address to him or her.

Remember That Grades Can Be Only Earned

Try to avoid the claim that you deserve higher grade. Most educators will tell you that such position is absolutely wrong and you’ll never succeed if you keep sticking to it. Besides, it isn’t you who is assessed, it’s just your assignment, test or exam. The grades you receive evaluate the quality of your work. In its turn, the quality of your work would imply its correctness, literacy, reasonability and many other criteria, which may seem quite abstract at first sight. However, in practice the lack of them can easily catch your professor’s eye.

Student in a Lecture Hall

What If I Will Finally Fail?

Whatever, you should take such possibility into account. But if you manage to find proper words and do proper actions, your efforts won’t be in vain. You’ll get good advice on how to improve your future results. You’ll be able to understand what you’ve done wrong, to examine your mistakes and to learn how not to avoid them next time.

Stay optimistic and ambitious.

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