Blog Post 8

When addressing a faculty member asking for a changed grade, a person needs to be respectful, direct, and detailed.  The beginning of the email should be sure to properly address the professor in the most formal way possible.  A poor beginning to an email can shape whether or not the receiver even considers what the sender is proposing.  If a student wants a professor to change their grade, then they should use all the proper grammar and titles in the first part of the email.

Secondly, the student should not avoid what they want to say.  Getting right to the point is important because professors don’t have an unlimited amount of time to read student’s emails, and there’s no reason to not address what needs to be discussed.  Reading through a lot of unnecessary content will not help a student’s case with their professor, and could even potentially harm it.

Third, the student must not only ask for the changed grade, but explain why they deserve the changed grade.  Professors don’t just give away free points (if they did I’d have a 4.0), the student needs to deserve them.  The student needs to give the professor multiple detailed arguments for why they are deserving of receiving a higher grade.  Then, if the professor agrees with the student, he/she will change the student’s grade.

Sample email:

Dear Professor X,

I received a C on the last assignment for your class (insert name of the class).  When looking at your comments and the rubric, I think my work was worth more than the C.  Specifically, because of (fill in with specific reason) and because of (fill in with other specific reason).

Sincerely,

Evan Crystal

Sample recommendation letter request:

Dear Professor Razzaqui,

Hi, It’s your former student Evan Crystal.  I took your comparative government class in the Spring semester of 2016.  It was one of my favorite classes that semester, and I thought we had a really good professor-student connection when I came to your office hours, so I was wondering if you would be willing to write a recommendation letter for my graduate school applications.

I know it’s been a while since you had me in your class, so I was thinking you could use my essays for the public policy assignment, and the comparative economics assignment as the basis for the recommendation letter.  If you need copies of those essays, I can send them to you.

This letter is for graduate school, so please focus on my qualities as a student when writing this letter.  Highlighting my strengths and what I can bring to a classroom would be very helpful.

If you have any questions you can email me back, or we can meet in person.

Thank you so much,

Evan Crystal

Student Organization

Earlier on in the semester, I attended one of the International Relations Council weekly meetings. The club/class regularly meets on Wednesdays in Shillman Hall. Initially, I assumed it was the school’s Model United Nations Club, but was mistaken as they also run Model NATO and Model Arab League. The IRC is a student organization for those who have running interests in foreign relations, international affairs, or just learning skills in effective debate and diplomacy – right up the ally for most if not all International Relations students.

While I was in high school in Singapore, I joined our Model United Nations club for fun. At the time, my passion for international relations was only budding. I went to a very small school, so I became very active in the club. In my MUN career, I attended 4 conferences, one of which was in St.Petersburg. Because of this, I was extremely interested in continuing this in Boston.

My first impression of the meeting is that it was very big. There were about 7 times more people in the IRC here than there was in my MUN club back in Singapore. It is a little intimidating for many, myself included. It was interesting seeing how the club runs. Despite hosting both club and class, the organizers do a great job in administering positions and helping sessions run smoothly – unlike my own disorganized club back in Singapore, so I knew this was all about business.  The club begins with people filtering in and a briefing. The leaders of the council go through any upcoming conferences, and such. This short briefing is followed by the ‘class’ portion of the session. As there are students at this time also taking Model United Nations as a class, there is a professor at the helm giving a miniature lecture on various topics. When I attended the meeting, the class was about position papers.

About half way through the meeting, people were split into two different rooms and given their country assignments. The interesting thing about the IRC is that they hold in-house simulations of conferences. Because my school was so small, we didn’t have the student capacity to do this. This is definitely beneficial to help each individual improve their debate skills in an environment less tenuous than an actual conference. That being said, I found out that this has allowed Northeastern’s Model UN/NATO/Arab League teams to become very competitive. Northeastern has not only competed in Montreal and Washington D.C., they have also competed in Harvard. Last year, my school applied to this same conference but was deferred due to our small size. I am hoping that I can commit more time to the club, and perhaps reach my goal of participating in Harvard’s National Model United Nations Conference.

Blog Post #8

Good Afternoon Professor,

I hope this email is not reaching you at an inconvenient time. My name is Goh Dan Qing, and I am a student in your international affairs class [Code]. I am reaching out to you regarding an assignment that we have just gotten back, the essay on [title]. I received a grade that was lower than I had anticipated. Owing to that, it is my hope that you would agree to meet with me so we can discuss my grade, and hopefully, I can better understand the mistakes that I have made. While this grade may not reflect positively of me, I would like you to know that I am extremely passionate about your class. What you teach really resonates within me, because of its applicability in real life.

Please let me know when it is most convenient time is for us to sit down and discuss the essay. I aim to succeed in your class, and I believe that by coming together, your guidance would help me in achieving better understanding on the topic and essay. If I need to provide any more details or information, please feel free to tell me.

Thank you for your time.

Regards, Goh Dan Qing.


*adapted from an email I wrote to an old teacher for a university recommendation letter

Dear Professor,

How have you been? It’s Dan Qing, from your modern European history class. I heard that Utrecht is beautiful in the summer time, hopefully, your class there is as memorable as we are. After working for Malaysia’s foreign service in New York City, I have truly made up my mind. It is no secret that I have been very fickle, you definitely remember how difficult it was for me to choose a topic for that historical convention! I hope that you would be happy to hear that I took the advice that you gave me on attaining my master’s degree in Europe.

I hope that you know how thankful I am for your efforts when it came to us. Being in your class, and through all those conversations, I have really matured in mindfulness. That being so, and I hope I am not being too blunt, but I was hoping that you could write a letter of recommendation for me. We have, since the first day, shared a close working relationship and mutual respect. As someone who has truly inspired me to take the path I am on, I would be grateful if you could help me along in my journey.

After much consideration, I have decided to apply to several programs in Europe. My favorite one being in Sorbonne, it is on par with Oxbridge and the Ivy Leagues, but much more cost efficient. Besides that, the University of Copenhagen, and of course, the University of Amsterdam. While you may suggest Sciences Po, I can only dream of reaching those heights.

If you have any questions regarding the process, please feel free to reach out to me. Once again, professor, I thank you again. I hope to hear from you soon.

Regards, Dan.

Blog #8: Emailing professors

1) Good afternoon professor,

I’m reaching out to you today in regards to our latest research project assignment that you recently graded and handed back to us. Let me begin by saying that I take very seriously my responsibilities as your student, and the commitment to doing whatever it takes in order to perform well in your class. That being said, I wish to express my disappointment and discouragement with the grade that was given for my work. I personally feel that I put some of my best efforts into doing a good job and meeting the criteria that you were looking for. Perhaps something was lost in translation or there are more specifics that we could discuss to make more clear where we’re both coming from with this.

If you’d be willing to hear me out, I’d like the opportunity to have my work re-evaluated with that in mind, and if there is anything else that I must do to earn that chance, please consider any options that you’d deem to be fair in this situation. My grades are a very personal reflection of how much I value my education, and not only does it matter to me that I do well, but I want to get the most out of what I learn in my classes. Please consider working with me in whatever way that we can come to a mutual solution to my grade dispute. I appreciate your time professor.

Cordially,

Darius Melendez

 

2) Greetings professor,

This is your former student Darius from your International Relations course that you taught in Spring 2016. We spoke many a time about my experiences at the State Department, and my interest in getting involved in national politics and the Foreign Service. I hope all is well and the new semester has gotten off to a good start. The reason I’m reaching out is because I’m in the process of applying to graduate school, and as part of the application process I require a letter of recommendation. As someone whom I’ve greatly respected and valued as an educator, particularly in your respective field, I’d be genuinely grateful and pleased to have you write one that may speak to my talents and potential as a student in your best judgment.

There are two particular programs that I’m applying to. The first is the the MA program in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy through Tufts University, and the other is an MPA in Public Policy at George Washington University. As these are among the strongest and most competitive programs in the country, if you also have any helpful advice for me to consider while completing my application I’d be eager to hear your suggestions. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at all that may help you with writing your recommendation. In any case, I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,

Darius Melendez

Blog Post #8- two emails to a professor: Zak Kranc

Hello Professor,

My name is Zachary Kranc and I am a student in your international affairs class. I recently received a grade on my last assignment that was lower than I had expected. I was hoping that we could meet and discuss some of the errors that I made. I really enjoy this class, and I am very passionate about achieving success in the classroom. Please let me know when it is most convenient for you to meet with me and help me to review my mistakes.  I would really appreciate your help and guidance so that I can do better on upcoming assignments. Please let me know if there is any information or further details I can provide to you. Thank you for your help and understanding.

Respectfully,

Zachary Kranc

 

 

Hello Professor,

My name is Zachary Kranc and I was a student in your international affairs class. I really enjoyed the material of the lectures and discussion that occurred within the classroom. I fondly recall working on a presentation related to human rights and a commodity as well as a group project for global environmental sustainably. Recently I decided to pursue a law degree in international human rights. I would greatly appreciate a letter of recommendation from you as I continue my pursuit of knowledge in this interesting and pressing field of study.

I have always been passionate about human rights and social justice, which I believe is a characteristic we share in common. My ultimate goal is help millions of people around the world to ensure their liberties and freedoms are protected. Please let me know if you are able to provide me with this letter of recommendation. Also, please tell me if you need any further information from me at this point in time. Thank you for your support.

Respectfully,

Zachary Kranc

My student organization meeting with the NU College Democrats

chynah-tyler-2

On Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 I attended Northeastern University’s College Democrats’ weekly meeting for the first time. I had been wanting to check out Northeastern’s political events on campus since I first started the semester and have been curious to know what kind of activities or opportunities were available for someone interested in the field. I wasn’t really sure how to gauge my expectations, considering that I’ve had previous experiences associating with individuals from other political clubs or groups through college organizations or politics in general over the years. However, although it was just a short introduction for me to the political scene at Northeastern, I enjoyed my experience and would be interested in attending future events, time permitting.

The meeting was filled with more students than I had expected to be there, filling the entire classroom. A few of them were students I recognized from the International Affairs major. Ironically, one of them whom I randomly ended up in conversation with was actually in my International Relations class, and I embarrassingly had no idea who she was. The moderator of the meeting began with announcements of events that were coming up on their agenda, including a major debate between the College Democrats and College Republicans on Betsy Devos’ recent appointment. It appeared to be something that everyone was excited about, and the other lead moderators who each had their own announcements to make asked for anyone interested in joining that debate to come to them before the meeting’s end and sign up.

From my observation of looking around, just about everyone in the room seemed to be on their laptop researching or monitoring the different events being mentioned, some of the issues that were at the heart of them, and the latest news of what was going on in the world. Some of those mentioned and outlined on the board were the Black Lives Matter movement, Public Higher Education Advocacy Day, Social Justice, Project Boston Infrastructure, Planned Parenthood, and a Boston City Council Hearing on Sanctuary Schools, the latter of which had to do with President Trump’s recent crackdown on sanctuary sites around the nation that prevented undocumented immigrants from being deported. A number of internship opportunities were also announced, some in particular that involved working on a campaign  for certain local candidates running for office.

The moderator eventually introduced a special speaker for the evening, Representative Chynah Tyler, a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, who represents the Seventh Suffolk District, and an alumna of Northeastern University. She came with her campaign manager Frank Farrow, and discussed how she conducted her campaign in a grassroots fashion getting to know what her constituents actually wanted and and using their voices as her platform. Her background in studying criminal justice and political science, and working as a caseworker for federal inmates and a legislative aide for a state politician respectively also helped form her views and her position to run for office. Her interesting non-partisan stance on education as a “pro-education” advocate helped her appeal to constituents who supported either public or charter schools. She concluded with opening questions to the floor and answering everyone’s inquiries, and finally left us with on a note of hoping that she somehow helped to inspire and inform us, and hopefully it would push us to remain engaged and contribute toward our own efforts for political change.