It’s getting toward the end of the semester, and you notice you’re missing an assignment, or your grades are not up to par. Your problem now is how to ask your professor for extra credit.
Many professors do not offer extra credit assignments and don’t have any extra credit options outlined in their syllabus. It usually depends on the system already in place, and if extra credit is given to one student, it has to be offered to all.
The best way to ask your professor is usually through email, as it is more formal, and it is appropriate for the setting. Professors are sometimes too busy to schedule face-to-face appointments for these types of situations.
Before we explore these templates on how to ask your professor for extra credit, there are some things that must be considered beforehand.
Things to pay attention to before asking the professor
The most important part of how to ask your professor for extra credit is the pre-existing conditions. These vary between universities/colleges and even between courses.
What will work with certain professors, may not fly with others. It ultimately depends on your situation.
Have a look at these prerequisites for how to ask your professor for extra credit before you send your email:
If there is an existing policy that forbids extra credit, it makes no sense to ask. Your professor is unlikely to give you an advantage over other students since that would be unfair.
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02The professor’s personality
Your professor will likely set the ground rules on the first day of class. If he/she says there will be no extra credit, then there will be none.
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If you’ve slacked off for most of the year and approach your profession at the end of the semester, your request is likely to be denied. However, if you’ve shown that you are a dedicated student, and there were some unforeseen circumstances, your professor is more likely to grant your request.
Be polite. If you approach your professor with an entitled attitude or a demanding tone, he/she is unlikely to oblige you.
Make sure you keep the language professional as well as respectful. Try to keep emotion out of the emails and just state the facts, and don’t make the professor feel guilty for any reason e.g. by not saying “I’m sure you don’t want any repeaters” or “I was disheartened”.
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05A good reason
Including a reason for your request will improve your chances. This reason should make sense, and would reasonably prevent any student from completing an assignment or performing well on a test/exam.
06It’s not guaranteed
Extra credit is not guaranteed, so don’t bank on it. Your best bet is to do the assigned work and put effort into it.
This should never be your backup plan, and should only be requested when your back is against the wall, or something out of your control puts you in a position to request extra credit.
How to ask your professor for extra credit for homework
Professors are more likely to give extra credit for homework assignments you don’t do well in or need extra time for, than homework assignments you skip completely. If you don’t attempt it, your professor may take it as a sign that you are lazy and unwilling to put in the needed work.
You’re more likely to hear yes for homework since it gives your professor enough time to assign something extra before the final exam. This is when many assignments come in and they are too busy to take on any extra work.
Here’s how to ask your professor for extra credit for homework:
2 Email templates for the request
01Subject: Extension on Assignment #7
Dear Professor Kelly,
I hope this email finds you in a good position. Unfortunately, I’ve had to deal with the sudden illness of my mother and have had to act as her primary caregiver. As a result, I haven’t had the chance to complete Assignment #7, and it is getting close to the deadline.
I would like to request an extension, or extra credit, if possible. I am currently searching for a live-in caregiver, and have already interviewed several candidates.
Once the ideal candidate is found, I will have more time on my hands to complete my assignments on time, as I’ve done in the past. Thank you in advance for considering my request.
Student, Biology 320
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02Subject: Extra-credit Assignment
Dear Professor Henry,
I am writing this letter to formally request an extra credit assignment. I am extremely disappointed in the grade on my latest paper, and I would appreciate a chance to improve my overall average.
I misunderstood the instructions of the assignment, and as a result, submitted the opposite of what was required. Should I be given a chance at extra credit, I will do my best to ensure it is completed properly.
Thank you for your time.
Student, Principles of Business 112
Thank you for considering my extra credit request. I will continue to do my best for the duration of the semester in hopes those grades can improve my score.
Once again, I appreciate your careful consideration and the advice given in your response. I understand that this is the university’s policy, and giving me an opportunity for extra credit would not be fair to the other students.
I look forward to doing better on future assignments.
Student, International Relations 430
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Thank you email template if the professor gave you extra credit
04Subject: Extra-credit approval
Dear Professor Francis,
Thank you for granting my extra credit request. As discussed in my last correspondence, I have been battling COVID-19 for the past month and have been unable to fulfil all the requirements of this course.
Your leniency, combined with that of my other professors, has given me the mental relief needed to keep myself grounded in this most stressful time. Now, I am able to focus on my recovery, while completing tasks I can manage.
Your kindness will never be forgotten.
Student, Communication Studies 100
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How to ask your professor for a better grade for the exam
Requesting extra credit for exams is more difficult than requesting extra credit for homework. Many professors teach different courses and don’t usually have the time around exams to facilitate extra credit.
For this reason, some professors do not give extra credit at all. If your professor offers extra credit, here’s how to ask your professor for extra credit for the exam:
2 Email templates for the request
05Subject: Revision of exam grade
Dear Professor Riley,
I am writing this request for a revision of my exam grade.
I have attended all the compulsory lecturers, submitted all assignments on time, and reviewed all the recommended reading material. When I checked my grade for the last exam, it was not what I expected.
I worked very hard on this course, as it is my weakest area, and have put so much extra time into understanding the concepts. This was not enough, but it will not dissuade me from studying and practicing hard for finals.
If possible, I am willing to complete any extra credit assignment or test that would allow me to improve my exam grade and overall average.
Looking forward to your response.
Student, German Studies 324
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06Subject: Exam extra credit request
Dear Professor Lawrence,
I am writing this letter to request exclusion of my last exam grades from my overall score, and to request extra credit.
I was terribly ill the day of exams and in an effort to leave and find relief, I hurried through the exam and did not double-check my answers. The grade reflected on the system was not in my favor, as I have studied hard and knew most of the answers to the questions given.
Would it be possible to strike out those grades, and have me complete some extra credit work as a substitution or for supplementation?
I have reviewed your response to my extra credit request and I understand your reasons for denying it. I can admit that I have not tried my hardest this semester, so I deserve the consequences of my actions.
It is up to me now to work harder on the next exam so that I can pass this course. You have done everything in your power to educate us as best as possible, and I wasted that opportunity.
I will learn from my mistakes and will try to do better on all future assignments and tests.
Student, Tourism Management 501
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Thank you email template if the professor gave you an extra credit
08Subject: Approval of Extra Credit
Dear Professor Deere,
I am extremely grateful that you have approved my request for extra credit.
I appreciate your understanding and willingness to help my struggling grades.
I promise that I will continue to work hard and not let this opportunity go to waste. Thank you again for approving my request.
Student, Chemistry II
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The most important part of how to ask your professor for extra credit is respect, even if your request is denied. You still have to remain in that class until the end of the semester, and you are better off being in the favor of your professor.
If your request is granted, do not use this as an opportunity to slack off. You have been given a second chance, so make the most of it!