Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

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edwardt1988
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Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby edwardt1988 » Sun May 14, 2017 10:44 am

Hey guys,

Long story short, I am a 3L and got back a B- from one of my classes. It's entirely possible I did really terrible on this exam, but I also want to make sure there was no mistake from the registrar when they entered the grade. The only reason why I think there's any chance that there might have been a mistake is that B-s are discretionary and they're very rarely given, especially to 2Ls and 3Ls. I never got anything close to that on an exam throughout law school, and I think I'm not terrible at anticipating how well or poorly I do on an exam. For this particular exam, there was 1 issue spotter and 1 policy question and while I don't think I wrote the best exam, I did answer the two questions pretty thoroughly, engaged the facts etc. etc. It's entirely possible I misread a question or completely missed on a bunch of issues, and if's that's the case I get a B- and that's that.

I was thinking of sending a short e-mail to my professor to tell him I noticed I got a B- and check if that was the grade he gave me or if there was a mistake entering the grade by the Registrar. I'm not asking him to change my grade because if he thought my exam was worth a B-, then it was worth a B-, but I just want to confirm there was no error. I'm a little hesitant to send the e-mail, just because I don't want to offend him or make him think I'm questioning his judgement. Would this type of e-mail, to confirm that the grade I see is indeed the one he awarded me, be considered rude no matter what? Is it ok that I check? Obviously the wording will matter, but I just want to see if I should not sending this type of e-mail under any circumstances.

TheBest123
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby TheBest123 » Sun May 14, 2017 11:05 am

Ask to talk about the grade/exam in a general manner. "Tell him you want to understand where you made mistakes so you can learn from them."

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Vincent Adultman
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby Vincent Adultman » Sun May 14, 2017 11:08 am

Take the L and move on. You're a 3L; who cares.

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MurdockLLP
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby MurdockLLP » Sun May 14, 2017 11:51 am

What do you have to lose? Either it was the grade you deserved or they fix it. Best case, you better grade; worst case, you graduate.

aresdude
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby aresdude » Sun May 14, 2017 11:52 am

Martin Brody wrote:Take the L and move on. You're a 3L; who cares.


I disagree with this. At least for me, it would gnaw at me and I would wonder "what if?"

I know a guy who got a B- in a class, checked in with the professor, turns out he was supposed to get an A- and it was entered in wrong. The grade was corrected.

It DOES happen. I see little downside to checking, just do it intelligently and respectfully.

NoDayButToday
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby NoDayButToday » Sun May 14, 2017 12:32 pm

aresdude wrote:
Martin Brody wrote:Take the L and move on. You're a 3L; who cares.


I disagree with this. At least for me, it would gnaw at me and I would wonder "what if?"

I know a guy who got a B- in a class, checked in with the professor, turns out he was supposed to get an A- and it was entered in wrong. The grade was corrected.

It DOES happen. I see little downside to checking, just do it intelligently and respectfully.


Yeah, I agree with this, too. My 1L year (at the school I transferred from), the other section's legal writing prof accidentally entered ALL the wrong grades for the whole class. People who'd done really well all along obviously knew they weren't supposed to have like a B, B-, etc. so enough people brought it to her attention that it was corrected. It definitely happens.

If OP is like, in contention for Latin honors or something, or hoping to clerk at some point (if not next year), this could matter.

OP, I agree that you should ask to meet and discuss generally--you could express that you were disappointed in yourself to earn a B- because you thought you were better prepared and typically perform much better than that.

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Vincent Adultman
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby Vincent Adultman » Sun May 14, 2017 2:04 pm

This is why people hate law students.

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rpupkin
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby rpupkin » Sun May 14, 2017 2:16 pm

NoDayButToday wrote:OP, I agree that you should ask to meet and discuss generally--you could express that you were disappointed in yourself to earn a B- because you thought you were better prepared and typically perform much better than that.

It's fine to talk to the prof about your exam, but don't frame it as "I typically perform much better than that." Profs hate that kind of attitude.

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Leprechaun
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby Leprechaun » Sun May 14, 2017 3:03 pm

Why would you be hesitant to email your prof? Is he/she an ass?

I might have a different perspective as I'm in my mid 40's, but I would think that after a whole semester of being in the prof's class that you've earned the right to be treated like a human being rather than just a mindless number.

Building relationships with the professors, other students, and admins can go a long way towards being both successful and happy in law school and in making networking connections. I don't write that for your benefit as a 3L, but in case 1L's or 0L's read this, perhaps they can begin working on that day 1 as it always helps to grease the wheel.

acr
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby acr » Sun May 14, 2017 3:50 pm

Martin Brody wrote:This is why people hate law students.


Why? Students at all levels contest/argue grades. If anything I think law students argue grades less than the average college student.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun May 14, 2017 5:06 pm

acr wrote:
Martin Brody wrote:This is why people hate law students.


Why? Students at all levels contest/argue grades. If anything I think law students argue grades less than the average college student.

And profs hate it at all levels.

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Dcc617
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby Dcc617 » Sun May 14, 2017 8:00 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
acr wrote:
Martin Brody wrote:This is why people hate law students.


Why? Students at all levels contest/argue grades. If anything I think law students argue grades less than the average college student.

And profs hate it at all levels.


Meh, they get paid enough to deal with a handful of disgruntled students. Law professors especially. Fuck those guys.

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Yugihoe
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby Yugihoe » Sun May 14, 2017 8:20 pm

I did it once and I regret it. I still see professor around sometimes, and I cringe a little. Professor is not going to really change it, so it's a waste of breath and you look like an annoying gunner.

ETA: If it's a professor you don't have a relationship with, who cares. They won't remember you. The above only applies if you have a closer relationship with them.

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Tortious Conduct
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby Tortious Conduct » Wed May 17, 2017 3:39 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
acr wrote:
Martin Brody wrote:This is why people hate law students.


Why? Students at all levels contest/argue grades. If anything I think law students argue grades less than the average college student.

And profs hate it at all levels.


The professors that do are unreasonable.

cavalier1138
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed May 17, 2017 3:44 pm

Tortious Conduct wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
acr wrote:
Martin Brody wrote:This is why people hate law students.


Why? Students at all levels contest/argue grades. If anything I think law students argue grades less than the average college student.

And profs hate it at all levels.


The professors that do are unreasonable.


No. The students that want to argue that they couldn't possibly have gotten a B because they're way too smart for that are unreasonable. The professors who don't like having to play therapist to every single student having a meltdown over grades are being eminently reasonable.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed May 17, 2017 3:49 pm

Tortious Conduct wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
acr wrote:
Martin Brody wrote:This is why people hate law students.


Why? Students at all levels contest/argue grades. If anything I think law students argue grades less than the average college student.

And profs hate it at all levels.


The professors that do are unreasonable.

Yeah, no. Like if you genuinely want to understand your grade that's one thing. A student arguing that they should have got a better one is fucking miserable under all circumstances.

lolwat
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby lolwat » Wed May 17, 2017 4:34 pm

Arguing grades is bad. You got what you got, and it's often based on a curve so even if you think did really well (or even if you DID do really well) the reason you got whatever grade might be because other people just did better.

Understanding grades is often good. Nothing wrong with being a "gunner" in office hours as long as you aren't trying to argue for a better grade. (Again depending on the prof; make sure he/she cares about teaching and isn't just there to publish law review articles). The only people gunners annoy are other law students who don't give a shit about classes but somehow give a shit that others actually might.

Checking in to see whether some mistake got made... sure, I guess, but be careful how you word your emails.

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Wild Card
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby Wild Card » Wed May 17, 2017 4:50 pm

Do you go to NYU?

I've gotten enough Bs to make my head spin, but I've gotten only one B-, on an exam for which I totally shat the bed. I mean, missing a ton of issues because I simply ran out of time.

It's worth it. B- means that you failed the course, for fuck's sake. If you don't think you failed, ask!

For posters who've failed to read the OP: B- is a discretionary grade at OP's law school. This means B-s are given only when strictly necessary, to punish.

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jchiles
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby jchiles » Wed May 17, 2017 5:01 pm

Whether or not your prof things you are a whiner it's worth following up if you got a discretionary bad grade. And really who cares what they think especially at this point in law school.

lolwat
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby lolwat » Wed May 17, 2017 5:58 pm

jchiles wrote:Whether or not your prof things you are a whiner it's worth following up if you got a discretionary bad grade. And really who cares what they think especially at this point in law school.


Sure to the point re following up, but be careful on the second as it's relatively short sighted. I guess if you got a B- in their class you probably don't care about them and they probably don't care either way about you either. But in general, professors are people in the legal community too and many of them have friends and connections. Way back when I was job hunting a few of my profs passed my resumes around, made calls to partners at firms they knew, got me some interviews and stuff. And if you happen to need LORs for clerkships either now or down the road you'll likely be going back to at least one of your profs even if you have some practitioners writing others.

k5220
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby k5220 » Wed May 17, 2017 6:20 pm

TheBest123 wrote:Ask to talk about the grade/exam in a general manner. "Tell him you want to understand where you made mistakes so you can learn from them."


Second this approach. Just ask if you can go over the exam because you'd like to understand what mistakes you made. I wouldn't frame it as double checking the grade (and would especially avoid anything that would seem like challenging the grade).

B90
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby B90 » Wed May 17, 2017 9:59 pm

lolwat wrote:
jchiles wrote:Whether or not your prof things you are a whiner it's worth following up if you got a discretionary bad grade. And really who cares what they think especially at this point in law school.


Sure to the point re following up, but be careful on the second as it's relatively short sighted. I guess if you got a B- in their class you probably don't care about them and they probably don't care either way about you either. But in general, professors are people in the legal community too and many of them have friends and connections. Way back when I was job hunting a few of my profs passed my resumes around, made calls to partners at firms they knew, got me some interviews and stuff. And if you happen to need LORs for clerkships either now or down the road you'll likely be going back to at least one of your profs even if you have some practitioners writing others.


This is a valid point. On the other hand, there are ways to mitigate damages. I received a C on a final for a very important (e.g. bar tested) subject as a 2L. Although there were extenuating circumstances, one of which was made known to the professor, s/he still stood by the grade. However, I still keep in contact with this prof. I am in the same city and frequently run into him/her. S/he always says hello and "nice to see you."
We had a conversation where s/he admitted that I do know the subject well enough to practice law; I was just not able to show that convincingly on my exam. I would actually consider asking this prof for a rec if I needed it.

RaceJudicata
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby RaceJudicata » Wed May 17, 2017 10:38 pm

B90 wrote:
lolwat wrote:
jchiles wrote:Whether or not your prof things you are a whiner it's worth following up if you got a discretionary bad grade. And really who cares what they think especially at this point in law school.


Sure to the point re following up, but be careful on the second as it's relatively short sighted. I guess if you got a B- in their class you probably don't care about them and they probably don't care either way about you either. But in general, professors are people in the legal community too and many of them have friends and connections. Way back when I was job hunting a few of my profs passed my resumes around, made calls to partners at firms they knew, got me some interviews and stuff. And if you happen to need LORs for clerkships either now or down the road you'll likely be going back to at least one of your profs even if you have some practitioners writing others.


This is a valid point. On the other hand, there are ways to mitigate damages. I received a C on a final for a very important (e.g. bar tested) subject as a 2L. Although there were extenuating circumstances, one of which was made known to the professor, s/he still stood by the grade. However, I still keep in contact with this prof. I am in the same city and frequently run into him/her. S/he always says hello and "nice to see you."
We had a conversation where s/he admitted that I do know the subject well enough to practice law; I was just not able to show that convincingly on my exam. I would actually consider asking this prof for a rec if I needed it.


Please don't ask them for a rec.

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rpupkin
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby rpupkin » Thu May 18, 2017 12:23 am

RaceJudicata wrote:
B90 wrote:
lolwat wrote:
jchiles wrote:Whether or not your prof things you are a whiner it's worth following up if you got a discretionary bad grade. And really who cares what they think especially at this point in law school.


Sure to the point re following up, but be careful on the second as it's relatively short sighted. I guess if you got a B- in their class you probably don't care about them and they probably don't care either way about you either. But in general, professors are people in the legal community too and many of them have friends and connections. Way back when I was job hunting a few of my profs passed my resumes around, made calls to partners at firms they knew, got me some interviews and stuff. And if you happen to need LORs for clerkships either now or down the road you'll likely be going back to at least one of your profs even if you have some practitioners writing others.


This is a valid point. On the other hand, there are ways to mitigate damages. I received a C on a final for a very important (e.g. bar tested) subject as a 2L. Although there were extenuating circumstances, one of which was made known to the professor, s/he still stood by the grade. However, I still keep in contact with this prof. I am in the same city and frequently run into him/her. S/he always says hello and "nice to see you."
We had a conversation where s/he admitted that I do know the subject well enough to practice law; I was just not able to show that convincingly on my exam. I would actually consider asking this prof for a rec if I needed it.


Please don't ask them for a rec.

To Whom It May Concern:

B90 was a student in my Evidence course in Fall 2014. He received a grade of "C," one of the lowest in the class. B90 wrote a final exam which suggested that he was not capable of practicing law. His horrible exam notwithstanding, I must admit that—based on my occasional interactions with him—he appears to possess the minimum competency necessary to function as a lawyer. I therefore did not consider it a total travesty when the bar examiners of this state saw fit to grant him a law license.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Professor Pupkin

B90
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Re: Should I e-mail my professor about a grade?

Postby B90 » Thu May 18, 2017 12:50 am

rpupkin wrote:
RaceJudicata wrote:
B90 wrote:
lolwat wrote:
jchiles wrote:Whether or not your prof things you are a whiner it's worth following up if you got a discretionary bad grade. And really who cares what they think especially at this point in law school.


Sure to the point re following up, but be careful on the second as it's relatively short sighted. I guess if you got a B- in their class you probably don't care about them and they probably don't care either way about you either. But in general, professors are people in the legal community too and many of them have friends and connections. Way back when I was job hunting a few of my profs passed my resumes around, made calls to partners at firms they knew, got me some interviews and stuff. And if you happen to need LORs for clerkships either now or down the road you'll likely be going back to at least one of your profs even if you have some practitioners writing others.


This is a valid point. On the other hand, there are ways to mitigate damages. I received a C on a final for a very important (e.g. bar tested) subject as a 2L. Although there were extenuating circumstances, one of which was made known to the professor, s/he still stood by the grade. However, I still keep in contact with this prof. I am in the same city and frequently run into him/her. S/he always says hello and "nice to see you."
We had a conversation where s/he admitted that I do know the subject well enough to practice law; I was just not able to show that convincingly on my exam. I would actually consider asking this prof for a rec if I needed it.


Please don't ask them for a rec.

To Whom It May Concern:

B90 was a student in my Evidence course in Fall 2014. He received a grade of "C," one of the lowest in the class. B90 wrote a final exam which suggested that he was not capable of practicing law. His horrible exam notwithstanding, I must admit that—based on my occasional interactions with him—he appears to possess the minimum competency necessary to function as a lawyer. I therefore did not consider it a total travesty when the bar examiners of this state saw fit to grant him a law license.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Professor Pupkin


:oops: :D 8)

Of course I haven't - and won't - ask for a written recommendation. What I meant is that if I was applying for a job and the hiring partner knew my professor, I do not think s/he would throw me under the bus.

Also, do you know my professor?
Actually, s/he is a notoriously tough grader, but not evil. If I asked for a written rec, s/he would say no.

Edited because scooped by IP Prof. Also, why are the notifications not working?!
Last edited by B90 on Thu May 18, 2017 1:52 am, edited 3 times in total.




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