1. Resist making excuses.
It’s an early, important lesson for you in college: Professors care about you, but don’t care for excuses. Profs move to solve problems, so your excuses will just take time away necessary problem solving. Don’t say, “I didn’t register because…” The reasons don’t matter. Bottom line: You need/want the class, so focus on what to do to get in (and read on…).
2. Ask about the purge.
Get in touch with someone in the Registrar’s office and ask, “When do you purge students for nonpayment?” Different colleges manage this in different ways, but often, students on wait list are then moved into the class when existing students don’t pay. Here’s the thing: I can’t tell you how many students on wait list decide they no longer want to be there. This means on the date of the nonpayment purge, you may find openings where there were none previously.
3. E-mail the professor before going to his/her office.
Certainly, you can show up in the prof’s office and beg to be added, but there is likely nothing that the prof can do until the actual first day of class. It’s fine to e-mail the prof instead and say, “I am interested in getting into your CMST 101 class. Should I come to your office to discuss this? Do you have any advice on how students typically get into your class if it is full?”
3. Actually go to the class.
When students come to my office and ask me to sign an add/drop form, I often tell them come to the first class. I have no idea who is actually going to fill the seats and I’m far more likely to sign a student in, even on overload, if I can see the actual number of students seated in front of me. At my college, the wait list shuts down on the first day of class. Therefore, if a student shows up in person, their chances of getting in are far better. So, introduce yourself to the prof after the class ends and say, “I am not enrolled in this class right now but thought I’d come to see if there is room. Is it possible for me to stay in this class?”
4. Stay in touch with the prof.
For my online or hybrid classes (that start on a Wednesday night, usually), I will ask students asking to get in to e-mail me on the first, second, and third day of class so I can watch the roster numbers for changes. With distance education classes, I can’t physically see if a student is going to participate, so I have to wait until day three (or when the introductory post is due) to find out. For the want-to-be enrolled students e-mailing every day and checking in, they have first dibs on space if one comes available. Ask the prof, “Is it all right if I stay in touch with you for a few days to see if the numbers change?”
1. Make sure you have a case. Collect assignments and test scores to prove you did the work to a satisfactory level. Review the syllabus. It should have information about how you will be graded and how much of your grade each assignment is worth. Remember that you are not entitled to a good grade just for attending class and doing the assigned readings but that you actually have to do the work to a satisfactory level. If you still think you’re being treated unfairly, continue to the next step.
2. Start by Meeting with your Professor. It is best to address the issue right were it started. Set up a meeting with your professor or drop by his office during his scheduled office hours. You can usually find them on the syllabus. If you’re taking the college course online, call or email your professor. Ask what you could do to bring up your grade. If he tells you there is no way, question how you were graded on previous assignments. This is most effective in classes for the arts where there is room for interpretation, math and science doesn’t have much room to budge.
3. Go to the Department Head. If nothing can be done and you still feel as though you should have passed, speak with the department head. You may not be the only one having a problem with the professor and the department head will be able to sort out any personal issues that your professor may have had with your work. Be sure to bring examples of work to show your case as to why you should have passed.
4. As a final effort, meet with the Dean. You pay good money to go to school and you should be treated fairly. If you feel that this is a matter that goes beyond academics then it is time to meet with the big guy. Again, be sure to bring test scores and past assignments to argue your case.