Negotiating a Grade Change College Life

Hello everyone:

A former student of mine needed to pass her math course in order to graduate from college. She had a job all lined up, the family was preparing to move across the country so that she could start the job, but ….she was apparently failing her math class….or so it seemed. No degree would equal no job……

She wrote a very impassioned letter to me (I teach public speaking at that college), asking me for help. Rather than  correct the letter itself, I suggested that she submit it to the professor as-is because it wasn’t a bad letter and her situation really shone through in the letter exactly it was. I also suggested she contact the department chair and the head of academic affairs, if she could not get satisfaction from the instructor. The good news was that he responded to her plea, realized he had not counted her extra credit that she had done throughout the term, and adjusted her grade to a C.

Keep in mind that most professors do not get joy from flunking a student and teachers sometimes forget to add in extra points. We are human, so write that impassioned letter and you might just get the results that you are seeking. (Or not, if you messed up all term and waited until the last minute to ask for extra credit……..I had a graduate student recently who lazed around the whole term and then asked for an extra assignment on the last day of class. That did not happen, folks!)


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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