How to Ask Your Professor for Extra Credit
So you had your first exam and it didn’t go as well as you had hoped. Are you stuck with this new dismal grade in your class? Not necessarily. You could pull some Secret Agent 007 moves and steal the exam, change your score, and return it before the professor enters the original score into his grade-book. Or you could take a more practical, and probably more successful, route and ask the professor for the opportunity to earn some extra credit.
There a few tried-and-true tactics that I employed during my four years of college that usually helped me get the extra credit that I needed. Here are my top tips that you can use when asking your professor for extra credit on an assignment or in the class in general.
1. Be honest. If you failed the last test because you didn’t study correctly or just didn’t study at all, tell the professor that. Don’t make up a lie that you think will sound more convincing or that you think will cause the professor to have more sympathy with you. Professors are people too and they don’t like being lied to anymore than you or I do. As a matter of fact, if they do catch you in a lie, they are probably NOT going to give you any extra credit opportunities, so save yourself a lot of trouble and possible embarrassment and just tell the professor the truth about why you need extra credit.
2. Have suggestions ready. Sometimes professors are unwilling to assign extra credit mainly because they can’t think of what the extra credit should be. However, if you have suggestions about what you could do in order to earn the extra credit, your professor might be more willing to let you do it.
For example, if you didn’t do well on a math assignment, you could ask the professor to let you solve extra problem sets and turn them in to be graded. If you are having trouble in a humanities class, you could volunteer at or attend a local event that would relate to your class.
3. Be willing to compromise. Although you might have great suggestions for what your extra credit assignment could be, you need to accept whatever extra credit your professor might offer. If you were planning on attending a political rally for your Intro to Government class but your professor wants you to write a paper instead, you need to do what your professor says.
4. Do not nag the professor. Most professors have hundreds of students, but they somehow manage to recognize and remember the best and the worst of each class. You don’t want to be remembered as the worst, so try not to nag your professor endlessly about multiple assignments. If you are consistently needing extra credit in a class in order to get the grade you want, you might want to consider forming a study group or hiring a tutor to help you do better in the subject. Your problems are not necessarily the professor’s problems, so try to keep that in mind before you make asking for extra credit a regular practice. Asking once or twice is okay, asking daily is not.
Have you ever had to ask for extra credit on an assignment? What did you do? How did it go? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
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