Itâ€™s closing in on the end of the semester, and your grade is, well, it sucks. I could use more poetic language, but why waste it? There could be a multitude of reasons for the less than sterling grade, from legitimate family problem or sickness, to a complete apathetic attitude. Whatever the reason, if you have the drive to turn things around, it is possible. Implement some our tips below, and you just might salvage the semester.
Try For the Extension
You canâ€™t win if you donâ€™t play. Ok, maybe that is about the lottery, but it makes sense here too. Getting an extension on that important paper is never going to happen if you do not ask. Once you muster the courage to ask, there are a couple of things you can do to help your case. First, do not ambush the teacher, or insult them, pick a time during their office hours to talk to mano a mano. Never go to them before class or after, their time is valuable and you should acknowledge that.
Second, do not try to make up a pathetic sob story, they WILL see through it. They are not going to value an obvious excuse, but they might value honesty. Sometimes bad things do happen, and if you go into their office calm, polite, and quickly explain the situation, you might just get some leniency. Another quick note is to also have a solid date you will have the paper completed.
Complete the Incomplete
There are then those times when getting an extension on one paper is not going to cut it, because you really screwed the pooch. When you have fallen behind on more than one important assignment you are going to need to try for an Incomplete. What is an incomplete, you ask?
An Incomplete is when you have become the weak member of the proverbial herd, and you have fallen so far behind that you need a genuine pause button on the course. Basically, you are given an â€œIâ€ on your transcript, and are given a future date to have your work completed by to get your grade.
If you are thinking this sounds too good to be true, congrats, youâ€™re not as slow as your professor might think. This course of action might seem like the perfect solution, but aremember, you will not have any instructor to explain the material for the incomplete work. You will more or less teaching whatever you missed to yourself. So with many students, if they couldnâ€™t be bothered to turn in the work during the regular semester, it usually follows that they canâ€™t be bothered when given a second chance. Avoid this mistake, if you are given the opportunity, then give it all you got.
Â A Diamond in the Rough, the Do-Over Clause
They say in life there are no do-overs, and in most cases thatâ€™s true, but every now and again there is a beautiful clause that allows for grade-forgiveness. If your school happens to follow this policy, and if you meet the requirements, then you should be hearing angels sing hallelujah right about now.
The thing to understand about using this path is that you usually only get ONE more chance. Fail again, and youâ€™ll just have to take your lumps and pray youâ€™re smart enough to learn from your mistakes. For those that genuinely want to give it another go, check your schoolâ€™s policy. If you qualify to take advantage, you will have the chance to retake the course completely and replace your terrible grade with the redo. Essentially making it seem like the first go around never happened.
When S*** Hits the Fan, Go For a Withdrawal
If life has been throwing you curve balls left and right, and youâ€™re wondering if Murphyâ€™s Law might have been a prophecy for your life, then withdrawal might be the way to go. Obviously you only want to do this if you have missed a significant amount of the course, and have very good reason.
Understand two things before going into this process. First, that it is often not the teacherâ€™s call, it is the dean or registrarâ€™s office. Second, that some schools will not allow you to drop from only one class, but instead require you to drop out of everything. This is mostly to deter people who are not seriously in need of the service.
The Ballsy Approach, Disputing Your Grade
Look, most teachers are not asses. They generally want you to do well in their class, and try to give you the tools needed to succeed. However, there are always bad apples. If you feel that you there was a mistake made with your grade, you can dispute it.
Sure, itâ€™s a ballsy move to go to your professor and proclaim that he/she has treated you unfairly, but if you have a compelling case, it might work. By compelling case we mean that you have evidence to show a miscalculation, or an error by a TAâ€™s grading. Whatever you do, be polite, and NEVER try and go over the professorâ€™s head.
Go the Extra Mile, Request Extra Credit
Every so often you might get a teacher with a bleeding heart for their students. If this is the case for your class, then for godâ€™s sake before you take any of the other steps, do this one. Request the opportunity to make up the work through extra credit. An extra paper, or test, or if youâ€™re unbelievably lucky, you might be exempt from the piece altogether.
Suck it Up, Buttercup!
Last but certainly not least, there is always the option to bite the bullet, weigh your options, and just take the grade. If you have no legitimate reason, and no recourse in our other scenarios, then you are probably better served focusing on another course that you can do well in. Sometimes you have to know when you are wasting the time, money, and effort. Donâ€™t throw good money after bad.