How to Email a Professor About Your Grades

After you get your grades in college, you may have questions. Maybe your grade was not what you expected, and you’d like clarification about why. It may seem intimidating to email your professor about your grades, but professors get these types of emails all the time and most appreciate an open dialogue with their students.  Here are some tips about how to email your professor about your grade, so that you can get the information you need and make it a learning experience.

Always be professional

This is the most important place to start – if you are emailing your professor about your grade (or emailing them for any reason!), make sure to start off on the proper foot! 

Your subject heading should be clear and give the professor an indication of what you are writing about. An example of this would be “A question about my exam grade.”  In the body of the email, address your professor formally. For example, “Dear Professor Smith.”  Treat the email as a letter.  Do not treat it as a text to your friend!  Don’t start with “hey” or call the professor solely by their first or last name (even if that’s how you refer to them in class or among your friends).  Similarly, always end your email politely – for example, say “Thank you for your attention to this matter.” You will get a better response when emailing your professor about your grade if you keep it professional throughout. 

Take responsibility for your grade

It is perfectly normal to be confused or disappointed by a grade, and to even be upset or angry. But if you are emailing your professor about your grade, it is very important that you take responsibility for it. Do not shift the blame to the professor. Do not try to argue that your grade should have been higher. You received the grade you did for a reason.  You may not agree with the professor but arguing with them or blaming them for the grade you received will not get you anywhere.  Make it clear that you are emailing them to learn more about your grade and gain some clarity, not to complain. 

Make your intentions clear

What do you hope to accomplish by emailing your professor about your grade?  Are you trying to understand how they came up with that grade so that you can improve for the next assignment or exam? Are you inquiring as to whether there is any opportunity to raise the grade at this point? Maybe a little of both? Those are all perfectly legitimate reasons to reach out to your professor once you have received a grade. Just be clear and upfront with your professor as to why you are reaching out and what information or assistance you would like to get from them.

Suggest meeting in person

If you are emailing your professor about your grade for any reason, it’s also a good idea to suggest an in-person meeting. Meeting your professor in person and having a face-to-face discussion about your grade can give you greater insight into the reasons behind it than you can get from an email conversation.  Also, suggesting to your professor that you are available and willing to meet in person shows that you value their input and want to put in the time to improve. This is especially important if you are asking for a grade change! A professor will be more willing to work with a student who shows dedication, than a student who is looking for an “easy A.”

Sample Email to a Professor about Grades

Here is a sample email that you could send to a professor about grades.  You can use this as a template and change it to fit your situation. 

Subject: A question about my grade

Dear Professor Smith,

I hope your semester is going well.  I am writing to discuss my exam grade with you.  I was surprised by the grade I received, because I felt that I understood the material better than the grade reflects. I was wondering if you could meet with me to explain how I received this grade, to better help me understand it and improve for next time. I was also wondering if there is any opportunity to raise my grade at this point.  Is there extra credit I can do? Or anything else that you find appropriate? Thank you for your attention to this email. I look forward to hearing from you and working on improving my grade in your class. 

Sincerely,

Student 

 

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