This article was co-authored by Alexander Ruiz, M.Ed. and by wikiHow staff writer, Madeleine Flamiano. Alexander Ruiz is an Educational Consultant and the Educational Director of Link Educational Institute, a tutoring business based in Claremont, California that provides customizable educational plans, subject and test prep tutoring, and college application consulting. With over a decade and a half of experience in the education industry, Alexander coaches students to increase their self-awareness and emotional intelligence while achieving skills and the goal of achieving skills and higher education. He holds a BA in Psychology from Florida International University and an MA in Education from Georgia Southern University.
There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 9,842 times.
Reaching out to your professor about a grade can help you figure out why you received the score you did and if there's anything you can do to change it. Just communicate respectfully and present a plan—that way, your instructor will be able to help. To help and support you, we've created this handy guide about the right email etiquette. Review these helpful tips to make a strong case whenever you want a better grade.
Section 1 of 2:General Tips for Emailing Your Professor About a Grade
- 1Use your academic email address. Set the right tone with a ".edu" domain name. Send your message with the email account that your school assigned to you—your professor will recognize that you're one of their students. Avoid personal email addresses, especially if they have silly phrases. Not only are they inappropriate, but they might be sent to your professor's spam folder.XResearch source
- 2Include the name of your class and section number in the subject line. When you provide these details, you'll streamline the process of changing your grade. Your professor will be able to look up your scores and your class syllabus. That way, they can make suggestions about make-up assignments or extra credit:XResearch source
- "PSY 103-13401: Inquiry About My Grade"
- "HIST 176-2458: Concern About My Recent Exam"
- "ENG 101-1043: Question About My Essay"
- 3Start off with a formal greeting. Introduce yourself with proper email etiquette. Since you're sending a respectful message to your professor, use Chicago style for your capitalization and punctuation. Use uppercase for every word and end your "salutation," or greeting, with a comma:XResearch source
- "Dear Professor Stewart,"
- "Hello Professor Cruz,"
- "Good Afternoon Dr. Mohamed,"
- 4Explain the intent of your email. Talk about your current grade and your desire to change it. Share the letter grade or grade percentage that you have right now. Then, explain the score that you would prefer to have in class. Be direct about the purpose of your message so your professor can strategize about your academic goals:XResearch source
- "I am writing to discuss the possibility of changing my grade in PSY 103 from a ‘C+’ to a ‘B-’."
- "I am reaching out to talk about receiving a ‘60%’ on my recent exam and to check in about opportunities to improve my overall grade in class. I am hoping to receive an "B-" by the end of the semester."
- "I am sending this message because I submitted my essay after your deadline. Right now, my grade has dropped to a ‘B’. I would like to do all that I can to bring my grade percentage back up to a ‘93%’."
- 5Share any challenges you’ve faced. If applicable, disclose circumstances that impacted your performance. Focus only on your own personal situations rather than critiquing your professor or the content of the class. If you have a valid excuse for any absences or academic struggles, bring it up discreetly:
- "I have had ongoing health issues that have caused me to be absent for the past two weeks."
- "Recently, I experienced an emergency in the family that affected my ability to study for the exam."
- "An unexpected personal situation arose that prevented me from submitting the essay on time."
- 6Discuss your dedication to the class. Outline your past academic successes to show your work ethic. Talk about all the ways that you excelled earlier in the semester. Your instructor is likely to take this into account and respect your commitment to doing well.XResearch source
- "Before my recent absences, I had perfect attendance and earned high scores for all my group projects. I received positive evaluations from all my teammates as well as full points on all of my reflection papers."
- "Prior to this crisis, I had an average of ‘88%’ in your class. All of my scores on your exams were over ‘80%.’ In addition, I took advantage of every opportunity for extra credit. I even received 100/100 points for your optional assignment to perform a short skit."
- "Last week, I had an ‘A-’ and turned all of my essays in well before the deadlines outlined on the syllabus. I also regularly visited office hours to discuss all my prompts and visited the tutoring center to polish my assignments to the best of my abilities."
- 7Be transparent if you've struggled in class. There may be some cases where you find the material extremely challenging or you haven't received high scores on your assignments. If you acknowledge that you could use some extra help, your professor might be more sympathetic.XResearch source
- "This subject is new to me, and I don't have a lot of background information about it. I've found it difficult to answer all the questions on the exams, which has impacted my overall grade. Can you recommend any additional resources that may help?"
- 8Ask about ways to improve your grade. Express enthusiasm about possible strategies, like extra credit. Bring attention to your work ethic and suggest multiple ways you can increase your score. Since you're taking the initiative to find solutions, you'll make it easier for your professor to assign materials to boost your grade.XResearch source
- "I have always enjoyed your class, and I would be glad to complete any additional assignments that you suggest."
- "I am willing to take another version of the exam or write an essay related to the content on the most recent test."
- "I am happy to review any additional readings you assign and create a new thesis based on these. I’m also open to writing reflection papers based on a similar novel."
- 9Be kind and polite to build rapport. Give your professor compliments and praise the way they present material in class. Talk about how much you've learned from them and how important the coursework is. When you appear sincere about the class, your email won't seem like it's just a way to get a higher grade.XResearch source
- "I've learned so much about the way psychology impacts performance, and I hope to apply this information in the future. I believe this class is essential for helping me prepare to become a teacher."
- 10Suggest meeting to talk during office hours. Find an opportunity to speak face-to-face for a productive chat. Wrap up your message by suggesting an in-person conversation. If you meet up with your professor, you might have an easier time explaining your situation or needs.XResearch source
- "Do you have any availability this Thursday to discuss my grade?"
- "Would you be open to talking more about extra credit opportunities tomorrow?"
- "May I speak with you about this matter after class today?"
- 11End your email with a polite signature. Boost the chances of winning your professor over with this sign-off. Use formal language similar to a business email. Then, conclude the email with your full name. You'll provide an extra level of polish to your message.XResearch source
- "Warm regards,
- "Thank you,
- 12Use respectful language appropriate for authority figures. Avoid speaking to your professor as though they’re your friend and steer clear of casual phrases like "hey." Instead, write in a formal tone and communicate politely. As a rule of thumb, anything you write should be suitable for a business email.XResearch source
- Instead of starting with your concerns or anxieties about your class, begin with a thoughtful remark like, "I hope this week has treated you well."
- Avoid slang, acronyms, emojis, or lots of exclamation marks.
- Aim for a higher level of vocabulary. For instance, instead of saying, "I want to talk about my grade," try, "I am reaching out in order to discuss my recent progress in your class."
- 13Take the time to fully proofread your email. Read over your message a few times and check for any issues with grammar, spelling, or punctuation. If you find any sentences that sound too casual, revise them so they have a more formal tone. Your professor will likely appreciate all your effort and recognize you’re taking your academic success seriously.XResearch source
- While tools like spell check can help, you shouldn’t rely on them 100%. Use your own best judgment and proofread your message very carefully to pinpoint any errors.
- Aim to proofread your email at least 2-3 times.
- 14Wait 2-5 days to give your professor time to reply. Stay patient since college faculty can get incredibly busy. In most institutions, professors have over 100 students to teach. If they don't answer your email right away, don't take it personally. They probably haven't read it yet or had a chance to craft a reply.XResearch source
- If your professor has available office hours, attend them so you can bring up the matter.
- 15Follow up if you don’t receive a response. Reach out again and remain proactive so you can change your grade. After 2-5 days, reply to your previous email—that way, your last message will appear toward the top of your professor's inbox. Make one quick comment so you can open up the discussion again.XResearch source
- "Hello Professor Stewart,
I hope you are well. I am reaching out to discuss my last email about my grade. Would it be possible to talk about opportunities for extra credit?
- "Dear Professor Cruz,
Good afternoon. I am following up regarding the message I sent a few days ago. I was wondering if we could discuss my grade during office hours tomorrow.
Kate Lopez "
- "Hello Professor Stewart,
Section 2 of 2:Example Emails
- 1Subject: Personal Emergency
- Dear Professor Miller,
I hope this week has treated you well. I am reaching out in order to discuss my grade in your class and to see if it’s possible to receive a "B" average by the end of the semester. Currently, I have a score of ‘75%’ in your class, but I’m hoping to earn an ‘80%’. My grade declined after the most recent exam on the French Revolution.
A family emergency arose that impacted my study schedule last week. Before this event, I submitted every essay on time and received at least an ‘85%’ on every exam. In the past, I have been very diligent about reviewing all my materials.
I was wondering if it would be possible to retake the exam. Alternatively, I can write an essay on the French Revolution in order to show my understanding of the content.
I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from you. I am particularly inspired by how civil unrest can lead to significant progress in society. I would value the chance to demonstrate how seriously I take this class. Do you have any time available this week to talk about this matter in person?
- Dear Professor Miller,
- 2Subject: Academic Struggles
- Dear Dr. Lopez,
I hope you are having a wonderful week. I am sending this message to discuss my current grade in your class as well as my overall performance. As of today, I have a ‘65%’ in your class, and I am hoping to receive at least a ‘C+’ by the end of the semester. I want to be transparent and acknowledge that I’ve been struggling in this class.
Since this is my first philosophy class, I’m unfamiliar with many of the theories we’ve discussed in class. Due to my lack of background knowledge, I haven’t been able to receive many participation points in our Socratic seminars. Are there any resources you can recommend so I can learn more about the key themes in this course?
I am willing to write multiple reflection papers or submit an essay on a philosophical movement, like existentialism, in order to improve my grade. While this subject is new to me, I appreciate the opportunity to discover how important figures reflected on the world around them.
I plan to attend tomorrow’s office hours, and I hope we can discuss this matter in further detail.
- Dear Dr. Lopez,