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Unsatisfactory Academics

BudapestmountainBudapestmountain Posts: 4Registered User New Member
edited February 2012 in Harvard University
Hello parents and students

Do bear with us- first time parents. Can anyone direct us or help us seek guidance/ answers on how to deal with student getting unsatisfactory in a subject that was deemed pass/fail thus landing student in probation in a subject the student usually excels in and was getting great/positive feedback thru the 1st semester, but apparently failed with writting the last paper that was graded. We strongly feel the Professor graded the student differently secondary to some other issue- appeal by student to higher authority was to no avail- informed Professor's decision is final and always right, cannot do any make ups for this- surprised all of us especially when student offered to do make up work. The student has As in other subjects and a B+ in one
How should we handle this and help our student forward?
Thank you for all ideas and suggestions
Post edited by Budapestmountain on

Replies to: Unsatisfactory Academics

  • fauvefauve Posts: 3,249Registered User Senior Member
    Is this a Harvard College undergraduate you are describing, or an American high school student?

    If it is Harvard College--not much, if anything, you can do. If HS, speak with the guidance counselor so she can explain the circumstances on any reports she writes to colleges.
  • BudapestmountainBudapestmountain Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Thank you Fauve (senior member) for your input. It is Harvard College. What a shame that the student cannot/doesnot get a 2nd chance! Success usually comes when a person can learn from their mistake and try again. Leaders are usually not born that way but become leaders by working through life's challenges and overcoming them-sorry not trying to preach here but voicing our concern aloud. We have advised the student to work hard during the spring semester (5 classes!), have confidence and faith. One concern is that Annenberg cafeteria hours are not open long enough thus the student skips a lot of meals- we are adding crimson cash frequently to try and make up for this and sending care packages. We have also reminded the student about M.Z.(Harvard dropouts)- facebook originators- to keep everything( including college) in perspective.Thank you again fauve.
  • notakidnotakid Posts: 688Registered User Member
    Time to move on and, as you said, "work hard during the spring semester." That is the "2nd chance."
  • GordonTheGekkoGordonTheGekko Posts: 215Registered User Junior Member
    Wow you're advising him to drop out? :cool: :cool:

    I wish I could help... I have one friend from the law school who signed up for a course his senior year, thought he dropped out of it, never went to it and ended up failing a final and a class he never took. It was a huge pain, but he eventually went before an academic board and after much pain and frustration, they agreed to drop the class from his transcript.

    Is this an academic class? I didn't know pass/fail classes were that difficult... in the future, I would strongly, strongly suggest making friends with the professors before hand. Nothing works like a solid relationship. It can be done with all professors. Every school has their set of biased teachers (check out ratemyprofessors.com for Harvard!), but even better the more biased they are, the easier they are to become friends with because everyone avoids them. All may not be lost, and your son may go and see the prof still, even though the semester has ended. Clearly, even though this is subjective, a pass/fail is different from an A/B/C/D/F.

    Is he in 2015?
  • fauvefauve Posts: 3,249Registered User Senior Member
    Budapestmountain- I'm sorry to hear your student did not find any sympathy or second chance with the professor. Please encourage him/her, in the future, to visit professors during office hours to discuss important papers as they are writing. Often the prof or teaching fellow (TF) can steer them in the correct direction before the essay is way off-track from what the prof is expecting.

    Five classes can be one too many at Harvard, even with choosing a pass/fail status.

    Hopefully, your son or daughter is learning to adjust to the rhythms of the dining hall schedule. It is often quite an adjustment to the independent child who is used to having mother's kitchen/fridge/pantry open 24 hours a day. Despite the official rules, many students carry extra fruit or sandwiches to their dorm rooms for later. Crimson cash is also a great solution.

    Although this stumble may seem huge now, I suspect your student will really amp up the attention to academic detail needed for much success in his/her future classes. He/she has three and a half years to display their talent successfully. Good luck to her/him.
  • BudapestmountainBudapestmountain Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Thanks for all the responses and empathy. Our student actually failed the class that is usually the student's strongest one(pass/fail) with the final paper, and got A in the worst class with all requirements for the hard subject done for undergraduate by taking the highest course available- the irony of the whole experience, this may have cost her. As per the previous advice, our student needs to move ahead with determination and purpose to achieve the best during the spring semester with our encouragement- that is all we expect and hope for and leave the rest to a higher power-whatever happens. Thanks all.
  • HannaHanna Posts: 11,512Registered User Senior Member
    "apparently failed with writting the last paper that was graded."

    I wonder if you, or we, know the whole story. In my experience, it is extremely unusual to get an F on a paper that was turned in on time and completed in good faith. It is also unusual to fail the class based on one paper if there was positive feedback throughout the semester (which I take to mean A-range grades). If the paper is worth 50% of the grade, that should still come out to a C. This makes me think that the professor suspected foul play, or at least felt that the student did not act in good faith.
  • miakouklamiakoukla Posts: 32Registered User Junior Member
    Also, all freshman are in the same boat with the dining hall hours. Best thing to do is for the student to take responsibility. If allowed to make excuses or blame the professor exclusively, the same thing will happen again. Plan ahead, work ahead, go to office hours -professors and tfs are more than willing to help if you let them know you need it! But most of all admit responsibility!
  • DwightEisenhowerDwightEisenhower Posts: 1,704Registered User Senior Member
    I wonder if you, or we, know the whole story. In my experience, it is extremely unusual to get an F on a paper that was turned in on time and completed in good faith. It is also unusual to fail the class based on one paper if there was positive feedback throughout the semester (which I take to mean A-range grades). If the paper is worth 50% of the grade, that should still come out to a C. This makes me think that the professor suspected foul play, or at least felt that the student did not act in good faith.

    These were my thoughts as well.
  • BudapestmountainBudapestmountain Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    Thanks everyone for your input especially fauve- you really have hit the nail (target)- you seem to be wiser than your age!- student being very independant, not really understanding how to meet with professor and juggle the time for this and trying to tackle more classes with a full extra-curricular schedule. Thank you for all your advice- this may be the experience our student needed (sadly to say) to aim for the sky and get of the ground and display all potential talents with hard work and perseverence- we as parents have seen this in the past and trust this to take place again. Thanks again.
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