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what should I do? Need major help with a terrible situation that I am in with my prof


I am in a class with a very strict professor. I put my hear and soul into a paper, and ended up getting a D on it. She told all of us that we need to utilize the writing center at out university, explaning that she is going to grade papers harshly that have grammar, punctuation or APA errors. She said she shouldn't have to grade off on those things, because the writing center is a place that catches on to those mistakes before the student turns in the assignment. I put long hours into this paper, and I had 2 appointments with the writing center. One was on a Sunday night, the other for that Tuesday. And then I was going to turn it in on Tuesday. I showed up for my Sunday night appointment, and they said they didn't have me on schedule. I showed them my schedule card, and as it turns out, the person who entered my dates in the computer, enterd them for December, not November. And yes, the appt card was correct, with my November dates. So I couldn't get my paper checked on Sunday or on Tuesday. They guy looked at the schedule for Tuesday, I wasn't on there, and he couldn't squeeze me in because they were already booked.

They did end up writing my professor about it, and they expalined that the mix up was completely their fault. I saw the email they sent her, because it was CC'd to me.

Well, I got my paper back and got a D. She said I had grammar/apa errors, and it was opinionated. She took 5 points off for the grammar/apa. She also wrote at the bottm "Use writing center".

I feel like I should have been graded less harshly. I tried using the writing center twice, they messed my appt up, and she was notified of this. I would like to ask her to reconsider my grade, but how can I ask someone that, especially a professor who acts like Judge Judy. Uggh. I think I deserve extra points, because had the writing center proofread my paper, I would have been able to make the corrections, and then I would have gotten a better grade. I tried, dammit, I tried. I would like to email her about this, but what should I say? I don't want to walk up and confront her, because I think she will feel a little violated. I have to be very careful with how I word things with her. What should I say, and do you support me in doing this? My friends know her, and are telling me to let it go, that she won't care.

Writing center or no writing center, it is your responsibility to turn in work that does not have grammar, spelling, or format errors. That is the way the professor looks at it. You need to start your projects early enough so you have plenty of time to deal with all contingencies.


Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management. Has 20 years experience.

Sadly, I have to agree. It is ultimately your responsibility whether or not you were able to utilize the writing center. Let it go, learn from your mistake, take responsibility, and move on.

SolaireSolstice, BSN, RN

Specializes in Adult Oncology.

Well, I got my paper back and got a D. She said I had grammar/apa errors, and it was opinionated. She took 5 points off for the grammar/apa.

Only 5 points were taken off for that portion. So 95 points were yours to have. I also agree with caliotter3. I don't have a "writing center" to utilize for my papers, and yet I am still responsible for grammer and APA errors.

That you blame the Writing Center for screwing up your grade is a bad sign. It is a student's responsibility to write and submit papers that meet the criteria established by the professors who assigns them. Your professor was very clear about what was expected and using the Writing Center was only part of the expectation. You're in college now. It's incumbent upon you to know how to write papers that are clear and unbiased (unless the assignment is to champion a single point of view) and to utilize the many other resources available to you to get a handle on grammar, spelling and attribution. You cannot absolve yourself of responsibility for the grade you received.

Do acknowledge error. Do ask if you might set up an apt with her to go over. Do not mention the writing center anymore. At meeting ask if you might submit a revision, who knows? ASAP schedule with the writing center for next week. Bring up their mix up to jockey for priority slot (kindly). If your teacher wants no more discussion then cancel the writing center apt.


Specializes in A lil bit of this and a lil bit of that. Has 18 years experience.

I agree with everyone before me. I will also had this...don't commit educational suicide by emailing this instructor. This will only show her that you are the "entitled" kind of student. Let this be a lesson, because when it comes time to take your NCLEX , you won't be able to argue the results with the computer.

I think you need to take this punch and roll with it. Regardless if you met with the writing center or not, it's still your responsibility for your paper. What if you did meet with the writing center and the grade was still the same? Who would you blame then?

Take responsibility for this paper and try to do better in the future. Good luck!


Has 5 years experience.

Your fellow students are familiar with her personality and not in the situation and they are telling you to let it go...I would listen to them. IF you just really want to talk to her, make an appointment to see if she is willing to point out what she was looking for so you can do better NEXT time. Don't go in trying to get her to change her mind about this specific paper! It will make you a target and you will come across as a whiner which will not help you next time you have to turn something in to her. She will respect you more if you just take responsibility.

Like the others said, you are in college and expected to know how to edit your own papers. There are also APA programs out there that act as a "wizard" that will help you set up your papers. I think Office 2007 has one built in. I use APA PERRLA 5 with my Office 2003 and it sets up EVERYTHING for me...margins, spacing, font, references, header, etc. I NEVER got dinged in nursing school for APA format due solely to fact I used a format program. I am sure there are others out there if you just do some online research. It is way faster and easier than trying to set up the whole thing yourself.


Specializes in LTC Family Practice.

I'll have to also agree that you are responsible for your paper to be correct. Also, if she only got you for 5 points what about the other 95 as someone already said?????? If your writing skills are that bad, I suggest you get a tutor. You will be writing for the rest of your life as a nurse. Even my old 2000 MS Word not only spell checks but will also do a grammar and punctuation checks and I can set up a template to meet all the formatting needed. If you had a guide for your required layout and had questions about it, why did you wait until the last moment? Sorry if I sound harsh, but get used to no "do overs", if you think this instructor is strict wait until you get to your nursing instructors, some of them can be real nurse Ratchet types and with good reason - they are training you to take care of lives.

I agree with the others. Is there another student who could have looked at it? My son needs a lot of help with his college papers and I help proof read them. Not everyone can write, but they have other skills. Just ask others for help and use your word or office program if you have it on your computer. Good luck with future papers. You can bring that grade up!!!


Specializes in ER. Has 3 years experience.

Buy the APA Publication Manuel...it will be your friend.

I'm curious though, how bad is your grammar?

I don't use the APA manual because there are APA resources online, including sample papers. I don't have to go anywhere!

Sadly, I agree with every posting before this. I have recently graduated from nursing school and remember many times disagreeing with my instructor or many things like grades or papers. Having many conversations with my husband about my feelings of a situation - I can still hear his reply. She's the instructor. So my advice is let it go. It could only haunt you later. Another piece of advice that was always given to our class from the instructor. Don't wait until the last minute to complete the paper. You never know what could happen and there are not excuses. You have plenty of time to get it done. If you cant get to the writing center, then have a friend proof read it - better yet maybe two.

Best of luck with your instructor.

I have a story to alleviate your anxiety but generally I agree with others.

1- I just completed my MSN- That was after completing another masters & #2 bachelors degrees

2- Nursing instructors are notorious for being opinionated & challenging paper graders. They were much worse than the public health team & an official research Institutional Review Board.

3- Utilize two editors & follow the grading rubric closely. Originality was rarely prized in the group.

4-Do not assume your professor wants your input. You will know it if the teacher gives the nonverbal. Otherwise chalk it up to tough editorial commenting.

5- When you can, see if there is a private editor- Consider free lancers at American Medical Writers Association

6- The colleges of nursing believe, as do many academics, that our writing may have suffered with the internet age. While perhaps that it true, other things have changed. First we write shorter exchanges now. Second it is extremely difficult to prove capricious intent for nursing teachers in this type of class.

7- 6/6 nurses who took colleges up for that legal challenge of capricious assessment failed. That is because of a law supporting academic freedom protections.

8- The overall GPA consists of writing classes & multiple choice testing. So try to do well on both but if you are stronger on multiple choice, really emphasize that.

9- If you do go for further grad training, keep reading & writing daily. Also consider Toast Masters for public speaking. You will get better with time. Moreover technical writing is really what many practicing clinicians are best at. Not all nursing professors are good at that. Just as we know some are not even good clinicians. So we all have our strengths.

PS I've been there & survived. So I wish you all the best,

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 20 years experience.

It is just inexplicable that students miss points for spelling, grammar, punctuation or formatting. You have inestimable resources online with which to get these things right. They are your 'free' points when you have a writing assignment - especially if you know the instructor is tough on them.

Having recently had the chance to work grading undergraduate papers, I was APPALLED how bad most of them were. Many were barely readable.

elprup, BSN, RN

Has 2 years experience.

Yep, my first Greek Thought class, I failed my first and second writing assignment. "Go to the writing center!" As a single mother of 2 small kids, putting myself through nursing school I made time to have the writing center help me, as well as finding everything I could online about APA that made sense. I barely passed that class but when I had to write a paper in my Roman Midevil whatever it was class... I got an A-. You can do it!