Posts by ebremen

“My prof encouraged me to stay. I thought I should go. I failed. Now what?”

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in General | 47 comments

(Last week, I wrote about an “Incomplete” grade versus failure, based on a student question. Here is a slightly different situation, also along the lines of an incomplete. What do you think?) Dear Ellen, I thought I did everything right in communicating with my professor this term. I did not do well on my first exam and my professor took me aside and said he/she was concerned. We agreed I needed more study time. I faced a terrible injury three weeks after the exam and went to the prof again to explain what was going on. We discussed whether or not I should stay with the class. I was told that I should. I took my next exam and was told I was barely passing due...

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“I am failing. Is it too late to get an Incomplete? Should I retake the course?”

Posted by on May 17, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, Interpersonal Communication | 42 comments

(Aaaaaaand… student write-in questions are back! With many terms winding down, I am receiving letters that include various levels of frustration and failure. You’ll see themes of them over the next several posts. Hopefully, the discussions will be helpful to anyone facing a similar issue.) Hello Ellen, Thank you so much for doing what you do. I wish I had known all these lessons as a student before I put myself in this situation. I think I’m failing a class. I e-mailed my instructor about possibly taking an Incomplete, but I haven’t received a response. I really have no excuse about my situation. I stopped going to class due to anxiety, which...

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Why Saying ‘Thank You’ Now Can Lead to Career Success

Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, Interpersonal Communication | 145 comments

(It is the end of teacher appreciation week! Next week, I’m returning with student write-in’s, but sticking with the theme of career success this week. Do you feel like the art of ‘thank you’ is leaving us, along with face to face conversation? I hope not. I’m interested in your thoughts!) “Ellen, I would like to speak with you. This is not class-related. Can we please schedule a call when you have some time? Student” I recently received this note just after one of my classes met for the last time. The student had a difficult term (personally, not academically), but ended up coming through magnificently. Reading the urgency, I...

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How to Talk About Specific Soft Skills from Your Classes

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in General, General College Success/Responses to Other College Entities | 3 comments

(Following up on a piece I wrote for YouTern a couple months ago called Close the Skills Gap: View College as Soft Skills Experience. In that piece, I discussed all the ways soft skills happen in college, but many students don’t realize it. I’ve got the actual words to message those skills…) “But I have no experience!” How many times do college students say this when they realize: “Wow, I have to speak to skills beyond my degree to get a job!”? A LOT! It’s an awful feeling, too. You’ve spent money. You’ve feel like your butt’s been in a classroom since practically birth. Your college degree is supposed to...

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How to Get a Recommendation Letter if You Are Not an ‘A’ Student

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Communicating with Professors, General, General College Success/Responses to Other College Entities | 10 comments

Dear Student Who Isn’t Acing Classes, I’m dedicating this post to you. You are nearing the end of an academic term/year. I know you’ve heard about the critical importance of networking with your profs, getting recommendation letters, etc. You may be letting this suggestion pass you by, but I am going to beg you not to. You deserve a recommendation letter, even if you didn’t do as well as you would have liked. Grades are a measurement of a body of work and performance over a limited period of time. Are they important and often reflective of performance? Absolutely. But they do not always tell the entire story. Get your profs to tell more of your...

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