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 | 23 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...

Read More

“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 | 35 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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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 | 0 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...

Read More

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 | 5 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...

Read More