I say “grade-grubbing,” you say “it doesn’t hurt to ask:” on asking teachers to “bump” your final grade

The semester is over, and you’re in that limbo where all of your assignments have been turned in but the teacher hasn’t assigned final grades yet. It doesn’t look like you earned the grade you’d hoped for. Do you:

Email the teacher, asking them to raise your final grade to the next level?


Accept that you earned what you earned and you need to try better next time?

Over 100 college professors weighed in to help you answer that question. Read on!

Continue reading I say “grade-grubbing,” you say “it doesn’t hurt to ask:” on asking teachers to “bump” your final grade

Guest Spot: My Interview with Undergrad Made Easier

I’m so excited! My friends Adam and Dinur asked me to be the first guest interview for their podcast, Learning Made Easier. We’re all college professors that care about how well our students learn, and there’s something in the podcast for students and teachers alike. I had great fun, and I hope that you will enjoy it, too! Click the image, below, to go to the podcast and transcript.
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How is College Writing Different?

In one of my earliest blog posts, Learning to Write Well: Why Bother?, I wrote that you will likely need to be able to write effectively throughout your life, whether that’s for professional or personal reasons. Writing for college classes, however, is a very specific type of writing that requires a specific skill set. A lot of students come into college missing at least some of these skills. In a later post, I will talk about imposter syndrome and why students enter college with varying levels of preparation, but for now, just know that a lot of students enter college these days without the skills they need to write a successful college paper. That’s literally the reason this blog exists.

Not knowing what’s expected of your academic writing in college is not a measure of intelligence; it is a measure of preparedness and understanding.

So let’s get started.

Continue reading How is College Writing Different?

Email Etiquette – How Do I Communicate with my Professor?

Most students are used to using social media, like email, text, instagram, and so on, to communicate quickly with friends and family. Social media breaks down barriers, which is a wonderful thing . . . but it also sometimes leads students to use some very unprofessional behavior when they email their teachers and – I assume – their bosses. This is not a wonderful thing. In fact, how you present yourself in email may affect how other people interact with you, and it definitely affects how they judge you.

Continue reading Email Etiquette – How Do I Communicate with my Professor?

Yes, your teacher DOES owe you a grade. BUT.

I get it. College is expensive. College students graduated with an average of $37,000 in student loan debt in 2016. In response, college students are working more: nationally, about one-fourth of all college students work full-time while going to school full-time. Almost 40% of undergraduate college students work 30 hours a week (get more detail here). When I ask my students if they work at least part-time, nearly every hand in class goes up.

Continue reading Yes, your teacher DOES owe you a grade. BUT.

Learning to Write Well: Why Bother?

Why should I bother to learn to write well? I’ll never use it after I graduate, anyway.

Learning to write effectively is not just about writing college papers. Learning to make a convincing argument, to marshal sources to back up what you are saying, and make an appeal to your audience – these are all things that can follow you into not just your professional life, but into your personal life as well.

Continue reading Learning to Write Well: Why Bother?