What do you do when you have trouble writing an essay? Surf the Internet, ask your friends for assistance, hire a writing service? Yet has it ever occurred to you to ask the one who has given you this task in the first place?
You may feel embarrassed or intimidated (like most students), but it is easier than it may sound; besides, you may get much more than just essay help out of it. Here is how you can do it.
1. Ask for Examples of Bad Writing
While asking your professor for an example of good writing may sound like a dead giveaway and can make him suspect you of copying someone else’s style, specifically asking how you are not supposed to write may provide the opposite effect.
2. Ask a Very Specific Question
Sometimes a good question is better than an answer. If you ask about something very specific it shows that you’ve been thinking about the subject and done some research of your own. Believe me, after dealing with hundreds upon hundreds of dull-eyed students writing generic essays year after year your professor will cry tears of joy at somebody finally showing any interest in the subject.
3. Write a Polite Email
Students often feel that addressing their professors via email is intrusive. However, if your professor announced his email to his class, it means that this address exists for this sole purpose – to provide students with additional guidance. Which means that if you write a polite and carefully organized letter your professor is not only unlikely to be annoyed, but will probably be flattered.
Also, using emojis and writing “heeeeelp!!!!!” in the subject line probably isn’t a very bright idea.
4. Start with a Compliment
Flattery will get you anywhere! At least if it is subtle enough.
When you ask your professor for help, it is always worth mentioning how much you like his course and believe you’ve never been interested in the subject so much before taking it. You will be amazed how many professors are ready to go out of their way to help students who seem to actually value their work.
5. Plan ahead and Be Reasonable
Teaching and helping students is your professor’s job, not a hobby. Which means that calling him on weekends or late in the evening is likely to make you very unpopular very soon.
Check the syllabus for your professor’s office hours and, if possible, policies concerning dealing with students. Chances are, conditions on which you can get help or ask for a meeting are described there; if not, ask politely for a time when it is convenient for him to meet you. Remember – it is you who needs it, not your professor, so don’t expect him to inconvenience himself on your account.
Getting assistance from your professor is not only useful in short term – building rapport will help you out later, so don’t be shy!