Perspective on your request for a course override

It is that time of year again! Students are registering for classes, complaining about the server crashing, and sending emails to professors for overrides. Since I am teaching a highly sought after elective next spring, I now get the pleasure of reading the same request from a number of students asking “Can I get into your class?”. I know I am not alone in reading these requests. Although all the students asking will not receive an override into this course, due to physical space in the classroom and pedagogical issues, there are some things students should consider when asking for an override from any professor. [Note: With the exception of one or two requests received so far this semester, the requests have been professional and well written.]

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Image courtesy of istockphoto.

1. Use a full salutation.–As ironic as this sounds you will be amazed the number of students that send an email request that begins with “Hi”. I know you thought there would be more to that, me too, but no, the beginning of the e-mail is literally “Hi”. This is only acceptable if we are continuing a conversation, and even then this form of greeting is questionable.

2. Provide context.–Yes, you have made it clear in the subject line you are seeking an override, but you never indicate in your email the course for which you are seeking an override. Most professors teach more than one course, thus you need to indicate in the body of the email the course under discussion. If you placed this information in the subject line, write it again in the body of the email.

3. Consider the language and tone of your email–Using phrases in your email, such as “I need…,” “I have been screwed…,” “My degree depends on…,” “If you don’t let me in the course I won’t be able to graduate,” etc., is often read with much skepticism. Keep in mind that you are making a request, not a ransom demand. Thus the appropriate language and tone for such a request should be utilized.

4. Set reasonable expectations to receive a reply.– It is rather unlikely that the email you sent at 6 a.m. will receive a reply by 8 a.m., or noontime, or 5 p.m. It is also unlikely that you will immediately receive an override into the course. Overrides are often granted to hardship cases first.

5. Realize you are not alone.–Sure, you know other people are still seeking entrance into a course, but you must also realize you are not the only person emailing the professor. For example, yesterday I received approximately 15 emails from 15 students within a two hour window for one course. I am sure that does not sound like a lot, but take into consideration that some of these emails were literally minutes apart and all the students request were the same. This does not take into account the emails I will continue to receive until the first day of classes next spring.

Granted this post does not provide you advice for obtaining an override into a course. However, this post does provide you with an inside perspective of how some professors view your override request. Next time you request an override consider the receiver of the message and how they will respond. Professors understand your degree curriculum, so act accordingly.

What has been your experience with requesting overrides or receiving override requests? Comment below.

Urkovia

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49 Comments

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49 responses to “Perspective on your request for a course override

  1. Pingback: Blogs that I have commented on. « egsurd2012

  2. This semester I requested an override to enter a must need course. I knew the best way to go about this was in a professional manner. Through discussing the issue with my adviser as well as emailing the professor who would be teaching the class I was able to receive the answers I was looking for. Although I was able to register for the class before an override was needed I understand the importance of going through all the necessary channels to achieve an override into a class.

  3. I think it’s really important to be professional when contacting a teacher, regardless of the purpose. I remember this from day one as a Freshman, because that was what most teachers told me. You seem to get more out of an email conversation if you are professional and courteous and know what you are talking about.

  4. This is my fourth year in college, and this is the first semester I have made an override request for a class. I had finally decided my minor during the summer, after I had already signed up for classes. A week before school started, I emailed the professor of the intro class I wanted to get into. I introduced myself and let him know that I was not on the roster but that I was going to show up to the first class meeting regardless. After class, I talked with the professor and he added me to the roster. I think, fortunately for me, some students dropped the class so it was not a full class anymore by the end of the week. I suspect the professor was anticipating this. Regardless, this is the closest I have been to an override and it went very well. I really appreciate that the professor allowed me to do that. I was able to go ahead and begin my minor this semester, while also adding three more credits. I definitely agree with the tips for the override email. My mom always tells me how important it is to be professional over email, especially with employers and professors. My mom, an employer herself, has told me that she disregards emails from potential employees who begin the email with “Hey.” She says it is because of the lack of professionalism and respect that their communication presents. I agree with her completely. I think email etiquette is important and our language reflects how we feel and think about others.

  5. I have asked to get into a course last semester and I was granted the override just like that. This semester I asked to professors to get in some courses that I found out I needed to graduate with. One of the professor responded by telling me they will put me on the waiting list. The other professor just never responded. I felt that it was very rude and unprofessional to to not respond back to me. I sent the same message to both of the professor just changing up the course and only one of the professors respond. It is truely hard that there is only one course offered for just 20 students when GSU is so huge.

  6. I definitely have had this same exact experience here at Georgia Southern. I transferred here from Georgia Perimeter College last Spring semester and can NEVER seem to get into any of the classes that I need without having an override from my advisor… this time I said, “I am going to get up at 6 a.m. to actually choose my courses that I need and grab them quickly!” Well that day came around when it was time for me to sign up, and I get on at 6 a.m. and nothing… of course this would happen to me when I’m finally into all of my major classes and need specific ones to be able to go on to others. I feel like every student has this problem, why can’t it just be fixed? So currently I am going through it again, e-mailing the teachers and I definitely agree that they should be written in a very professional manner! I’m shocked at how many student start off their e-mail with hi to a professor, whom they are asking something of… Wish me luck!

  7. I feel that when a course is required by so many people in order to move forward with core courses for their major, that should tip off the university that more of these courses need to be offered every semester. It is almost intimidating at the number of students who need courses such as PR Writing every semester when, this semester, this course was offered only twice! Sure, you can try to get an override, if a professor is even listed for you to email. Was there a professor listed this semester? Heck no, otherwise I would have been shooting emails left and right. What if I was completely done with my core courses and was unable to get an override? I would have no option but to either take up a minor, or enroll in courses I do not need. Taking a semester off isn’t always an option, especially when you have to stay enrolled to hang on to your scholarship (which you don’t want to waste on courses you don’t need, do you?). I think that courses such as PR Writing need to be offered in multitudes. Every semester. Just to make sure things like this don’t happen anymore. Maybe the university should take a poll every semester to see how many people are actually going to try to register for a heavily sought after course like this.

  8. I have been fortunate enough to have never needed an override, but I have seen a lot of people panicking about not getting into that one special class. Personally I see a great deal of flexibility in our department that allows for contingency plans when picking classes. During the registration window people are generally so angry at WINGS, professors and even students who got into the class that you wanted. The way I see it is spend some time really looking at your degree requirements and make back up plans. At the end of the day professors want you to graduate and are not “out to get you” by not overriding you into their class. So, calm down and move on.

  9. When emailing someone, especially a professor, and asking for a favor its best to use a formal tone and leave a professional appearance.

  10. I believe that watching the tone and way a e-mail is written plays a significant role in how a professor perceives us. Professors want to be shown respect even when it comes to e-mails. Particularly as a public relations major it is important to use wording and appropriate style to show that there is a level of respect. Thanking and asking nicely always helps to show the professor that their time is appreciated. Being a PR major I have sometimes found it hard to get into certain classes with demand for them being so high so it is important to make a good impression on the professor for them to consider an override.

  11. I feel so bad after reading your post just now. I realize that I have been one of those inconsiderate students before. Registration always seems to take a turn for the worse whenever it comes time for me to take it on. Spring semester 2012 was the most stressful by far. I was completely defeated by my entire experience and sent a very informal email without including a single “please” or “thank you”. We get overwhelmed and frustrated, but we don’t take into consideration how overwhelmed and frustrated the professors probably are too.

  12. Lauren Herring

    I have personally never emailed a teacher and asked for an override request. I understand that I am not going to be the only student trying to get into a certain class, and I would rather not be on the opposite end of a frustrated email from a professor that has received many emails asking for overrides other than mine. I have always tried to register for classes on time so that I would be able to avoid this from ever happening. If I ever email a teacher for an override it will be in complete desperation, and I hope I never have to.

  13. It is always nerve-racking knowing that I have to email a teacher and request an override in order to stay on track for graduation. I feel that I have always done a pretty decent job of being formal and respectful in the process, and am surprised to hear that many students are not. Like I stated, at least for me, I’m always intimidated in contacting a professor, knowing that only they have the power to assist me in a way that is so desperately needed and that, in reality, they have no real obligation to be sensitive to my needs. In the past, I’ve always been successful and obtained the override without much issue, perhaps due to the nature of my request. However, I would also like to touch on the sad fact that so, and I repeat, so many students are forced to request overrides because GSU is at an overflow of students in comparison to faculty; especially in crowded majors and colleges, such as CLASS. I dream of the day when GSU can hire enough professors so that all students can get into the classes they need to graduate on time, and not so many override slips will have to be filled out to begin with.

  14. This is my fourth year here at Georgia Southern and I have never had to request an override. These past four year I have been able to get into all the classes I have needed, and when there are ones that I want to sign up for and are closed I always have another option. Since my freshman year I was taught how to write a proper e-mail to a professor and I have written them properly since then. I believe that all freshman should be required to learn how to write e-mails to their professors.

  15. As a Comm major, and INTS minor, I have had to request an override into more than my fair share of classes, the majority of the time Mrs. Rocker is more than happy to help. Poor email etiquette is probably in the top 5 biggest “online” pet peeves I have, especially when dealing with someone with a position of power, or when requesting something from someone. Taking the time to compile a well thought out e-mail, and properly addressed, including a greeting and closing, makes it feel like a more personal and professional request rather than just a half way trying attempt to get something from someone such as an over ride into a class.

    Every override I have ever requested has been promptly replied to and fulfilled, even when requesting through the department chair to reconsider things such as academic exclusion and probation’s. I have always had very pleasant override requests.

  16. I think the tip about proper email etiquette is extremely important. I didn’t learn about this until my internship. Now that I look back on emails I have sent to professors I’m pretty embarrassed. I also think that, as students, we forget professors can’t work magic. It is a good thing to remind us that you can’t wave a magic wand and add seats to a class.

  17. Having to wake up at 6 in the morning only to find that the site is so full that it crashes and deletes all of the classes that you registered for is frustrating. Trying for 45 minutes to log back into the site only to see that somehow the classes you registered for, that were dropped, are now completely full. I do not hear a lot of my friends complain about over rides because they are business, sports management, or biology majors. Apparently these majors have enough classes to accomadate their students. Comm arts majors do not. I have never NOT had a problem with trying to get into classes since I declared my major in PR. The professors in my major either do not answer emails, or are very vague with answering my emails. There has been countless times when me and my classmates have emailed certain professors and they completely ignore students. But, when you ask these particular professors a general question they respond quickly. I find it rude when professors do not respond because I am very polite in my emails. I believe a simple, “I am sorry, I can not help you with this problem.” would be nice. Essentially, I have only asked for an override twice. Usually my emails are to professors asking if the class capacity will open up. I hope that in the near future the Comm arts department either gets more professors or opens up their class capacity to accommodate students.

  18. I have only requested an override one time and that was because I was in the class and then somehow the computer dropped me from the role. In this case since I was previously on the role I was added back to the class with few problems. However I still had to send an email to my professor to get back in the class and I made sure it was professional and respectful. I know some students try to get overrides for a lot of classes, but to me that seems pointless because like you said, a million students email you to try and get into your class so it seems pointless to even ask.

  19. Mimi Wertz

    Most of time when I need a class that is full I follow the example above. Most teachers usually will say wait and watch which can be a little frustrating because there are so many people waiting and watching. Every once in a while though I will have a teacher add me to their class. Most of the time I wait till add drop week and that can be really stressful.
    One class that has been really hard to get into is environmental geology lab. Not because there are not a lot of choice for the class, but because they now require you to take the lab and the class in the same semester. You can not just add a lab to your schedule. I have been back and forth with the department because they say just add a class and then drop it during add drop week but all the class times are when the classes i actually need are. No one in my department can help me because they can not override me into it nor do they know who to tell me to talk to. Most of time overrides can be frustrating but in the end your advisers and teachers help you as much as they can.

  20. This might come as a shock to some people, and to most, it probably won’t, but in my experience dealing with professors and overrides, only two have ever even taken the time to respond. The rest of the professors that I had e-mailed did not even bother to e-mail me back! Of the two that responded, one told me that he was unable to override me and that I would need to discuss the issue with the head of the department, and one told me that he refused to override anyone unless they needed that course to graduate at the end of that semester.
    This begs me to question: Why do we even bother? Why are we advised to e-mail professors requesting an override?
    The first time I had ever received an override, it was not the professor who put me in the class, but my advisor. To my dismay, on the first day of class, with FULL attendance, the class room was only half-full. Let me repeat. Half of the seats in the room were empty. I’m not exactly buying the excuse that a room doesn’t have the capacity to hold more students than the number of seats they have available during registration.
    I know that my rant is a little off the topic of the post, so let me respond to it by saying that I have never e-mailed a professor begining with “hi”, have always been very formal and specific about the course I’m requesting entrance to, and always overly-appreciative in the event that they would allow me an override. Did this get me anywhere? Not really. Hopefully everyone else has had a better experience than I have.

  21. This a subject that I can really relate to. I personally have never had to ask for an override but will be for the next semester because all of my classes were closed when I went to register this year. This is more serious for me now than it has been in the past because the classes I am trying to get into now are prerequisites for me to advance into my other major classes. This post really made me understand some new tips that i will have to apply in the future. On a different note I feel like this problem could be completely avoided if we had a better registration system. Every student has been at some point frustrated by our registration system. Not only is it annoying that we have to wake up at six in the morning when we can barley function, but to be put through such a frustrating process that we can not do anything about is a horrible feeling. If so many students need overrides then maybe we should get more teachers to match the amount of students our growing school has.

  22. Dana

    I personally have never requested an override into a class so far in college, but the way that these students are going about requesting to be accepted into a class sounds ridiculous. I love the tips you have posted concerning how to go about drafting an email to a professor. It is unbelievable how many people are in their 20’s and still do not know how to go about writing a professional email. My mom has been teaching me the importance of this since I was a kid, and makes me realize how important it is to sound intelligent and professional when writing these kinds of letters or emails. Also, most of the students need to realize that they are not the only ones trying to get into a certain class, and that there are plenty others requesting the same thing. (that also might be written better)

  23. I don’t feel as though I have anything to add that has not yet been stated, but I definitely agree with everyone thoughts and frustrations. As a student whose entire life rides on these few years we are in school one class, or lack there of, can change a great deal for us. I am a worrier and stress about little things, so registering for classes is always a very frantic time for me. I am always one who gets up ten minutes before registration time begins to get my laptop turned on, pull out my predetermined schedule, and get the site open. Then I sit and wait as the minutes slowly change until it reaches six a.m., at which time I then begin to frantically click, only to be locked out of the server for twenty eight minutes. Story of my life! This was the first semester I had to request an override and I am pleased to say that I met professor Andrews tips for a proper override request. I think of myself as a respectful and responsible young lady and I want my professors to see that as well. Therefore, I put a great deal of thought into the request I sent this professor. Luckily, it was a professor I have had before so I do felt as though since she knew it and I did well in her last class she felt more inclined to add me to her class next semester. If students do not take the time or effort to properly address a professor I feel like the professor has no obligations to make the effort or time to meet the students needs.

  24. Yes, I definitely agree that students do not act accordingly when trying to get overridden into a class. All that is going through their head is, “OMG!! I do not have what I need!! I’m gonna fail!! My dad is gonna be so mad at me!! LET ME IN!!!” We think that we are the only ones that matter and not the rest of the 20,000 something other students on this campus. Taking a step back and realizing it is not the end of the world would make things much more easier, on us and the professors.

    The friendly reminders that you posted are good to know for when that time comes to email a professor and politely ask for an override.

  25. In my experience, until recently registering for my fall courses, i had never needed an override for a course. However, I believe with the increase in student population, currently at 20,574 according to the my.gsu.edu webpage and not a similar increase in professors or space there need for overrides have increased. As a dual degree candidate I have had the joys of advising myself for the last four years for my Communication arts degree requirements, which was going swell until recently. My pure prayer and constant e-mails and office visits I was added to this Intro to PR course, I needed this course as a prerequisite or a class in the upcoming spring and between mildly freaking out about possibly having to yet again postpone graduation due to “prerequisites” I was very fortunate to have gained a seat in the course. I however am very determined so even after Professor Andrews relayed that there was no guarantee and there seemed to be no hope I continually checked in with the professor via e-mail and office visits as well as continually attending the course during drop/add week. These tactics I do feel help set me apart for others vying for the same seat. I do believe that you should always go about speaking with professors, whether familiar or not in a professional way because it is not only good practice but as college students in an age that is losing the ability to effectively communicate, it shows that you are able to distinguish for a lack of better words, business from play. Currently, my biggest hurdle has been finding my last practicum course for this program in which there are yet again, “prerequisites.” I could tell you what I really feel about these prerequisites but I will refrain from a rant. I am currently attempting to beat the system because I refuse to come back after graduation for a one…uno! credit class. Good Luck with your overrides.

    Respectfully
    A peer.

  26. Monica

    I have always tried to get my classes added the first day I am allowed to. Georgia Southern however makes it almost impossible to get the schedule you want. When you’re paying for classes and a degree you want to take what fits you best, not whats left. Throughout my history degree I have had to ask a professor for an override a couple of times. Every time I have to go through this procedure not only am I annoyed but I am also nervous. All i can usually think to myself is will I get into the class? Will the teacher be a jerk no matter how nice I am? so many questions go afloat when I have to do this. most recently my worst encounter are with public relations classes. My history teachers are nice to me when I politely either write them an email or visit them during their office hours. The public relations department being my minor is a whole different story. The history pre-law department professors are familiar with me, the public relations professors are not. Why would they be familiar with me i only just began taken their courses, which is another reason they might not work in my favor being that i just began and it is only my minor. The problem that haunts me is not only is my major demanding with our one book a week typical schedules or ten to twenty page papers but also the fact that a minor is required for graduation. Often times public relations teachers will favor the students they know or the students that need to graduate, but student like me are not taking a minor just because but are taking a minor in order rot graduate. The moral of my comment is its nerve wrecking enough to have to ask for an override not knowing the outcome of your schedule, but its even more nerve wrecking when you are put on the back burner because the subject is only your minor; your minor that you need to graduate. I still agree with the way you should ask for an override though.

  27. Reblogged this on Short, Southern, & Sassy and commented:
    I can see how teacher easily get tired of the same excuses and get so many emails a day it is hard to overlook them or take the student seriously. I would say most reasons students want to override is because we panic about not being able to graduate on time, that is honestly my main concern right now. Unfortunately, I was not put into the classes I requested for, but I did like that even though the professor could not override me, she did give me other options and other classes to possibly take. I don’t know if you have tried that before, but it was very helpful to me. I do know seats are also saved for transfer students and people that come last minute, which is another reason I am more ok with not getting into certain classes. I just wish there was more teachers and more classes in the PR major, and I know the students and teachers agree. As for now, I’d say our program can only just keep getting bigger and better.

  28. Being a junior at Georgia Southern I have finally got somewhat of a hang of registration, but there are always difficulties. Reading this post really puts into perspective how teachers feel when we come to them asking about an override into their class. In a student’s perspective, I did send two requests this past semester to get into a class using the excuse “I won’t graduate on time…” and realistically not wanting to be stuck down here for summer school a third summer in a row.
    I can see how teacher easily get tired of the same excuses and get so many emails a day it is hard to overlook them or take the student seriously. I would say most reasons students want to override is because we panic about not being able to graduate on time, that is honestly my main concern right now. Unfortunately, I was not put into the classes I requested for, but I did like that even though the professor could not override me, she did give me other options and other classes to possibly take. I don’t know if you have tried that before, but it was very helpful to me. I do know seats are also saved for transfer students and people that come last minute, which is another reason I am more ok with not getting into certain classes. I just wish there was more teachers and more classes in the PR major, and I know the students and teachers agree. As for now, I’d say our program can only just keep getting bigger and better.

  29. I have not encountered a time where I had to email a teacher about a course override. However, I do plan on this soon. With classes filling up so quickly and sometimes the classes you need aren’t held until a certain semester. A lot of the time course override is necessary. Granted the professor may not follow through with your request but you never know until you try. I believe the professors should also let the student(s) know if they can or cannot help them and why not. Unless the student is completely unprofessional or was just lazy and didn’t register for classes when they were suppose to do, we deserve some sort of answer or reply. Students should know by now how to talk to professors and how to write them in a email. It’s just common sense.

  30. jm09861

    I have had no luck at all getting an override at Georgia Southern. When I formerly attended Valdosta State, overrides were almost always given to those who came to the first day of class with the their sheet from the Registrar’s office for the professor to sign. However, at Georgia Southern it apparently does not matter to the professor the way that you attempt to get an override they simply do not want to grant it to you. I feel this is because they don’t want to grade 1-5 more papers than the university requires them to. For a university who advertises “Large Scale, Small Feel” they definitely need to live up to this reputation. I have had professors who did not even have the courtesy of responding to my emails asking for an override. I feel this is just plain rude. Just because a professor isn’t going to grant an override to someone doesn’t mean he or she should not at least respond letting the student know.

  31. brickwall2323

    I have asked three teachers for overrides into classes and all three have allowed me into their class. I was so thankful they let me into their classes other wise I would of been pretty much left without a schedule. In my emails I was extremely nice letting them know my situation that I recently changed my major over the summer and wasn’t sure what classes I needed to take. I think it is a great idea to be aware of your tone and realize you’re not the only student needing to get into the class, which is exactly what I did. I understand teachers can’t override everyone and expressed that in my email. If i were a teacher and a student emailed me demanding me to override them into my class I wouldn’t do it, so I try to be as nice as possible, and if the teacher doesn’t email me back I stay persistent to show I really need the class or will go see them in person.

  32. I have had this issue in the past, but it has never ended up being a big problem. I think it hasn’t because I have luckily jumped on getting emails to my professors as well as visiting them in their offices. I could see though how if I waited for any reason that this would blow up in my face. With so many people desperate to get into a limited class room just about everyone will be giving the same excuses. I think its safe to always assume when hoping to get into an already full classroom that the the opening of spots will be divvied out first come first serve.

  33. Registration is a very stressful time of the year. Up until this semester I haven’t had any issues getting into classes I need. This semester I cannot get into the most important class I need, or any PR class for that matter, and it will set me back from graduating on time. Spending another semester at college for one class is a discomforting thought, especially paying for an extra semester. You were saying some students do not know how to address professors in emails. I found it quite the contrary, I emailed my advisor with a general question and a question about the class I need. I addressed her as Professor Xyz, and closed by saying Thank you for your time, Savannah Dozier 900651154. In my advisors response she had no salutation and her closing was “k”. She made me feel as though I wasn’t important enough to be addressed correctly. I know she probably advises a lot of students but I don’t think the department would assign her more students that she can handle. I like to keep a professional relationship with professors, I feel like it is a matter of respect. In the email with my advisor, she told me she would have an answer to my question that afternoon, that was almost a month ago and I have yet to hear back from her. My friend has the same advisor, she’s emailed her numerious times and has had no response, so I guess I am lucky to have gotten the 2 line response I received. With registering for classes being such a stressful time it would be nice to have a helpful advisor. I am currently frustrated about how few classes are being offered in the PR field. I only have 9 hours registered for next semester because none of the classes I am required to take are available. None of these hours are PR classes. At this rate, it will take me another 3 or 4 years to graduate. But I am praying more classes will become avilable as the Spring grows closer.

  34. For some reason, I have always had issues with getting the courses that I needed. It seemed that even with the time slots available to us at 6:00 am, it is pointless because a majority of the times the classes are already filled. Whenever I needed an override, it was never difficult for me. It seemed that getting an override was easier then the regular registration procedure. I also just called up to the CLASS secretary and she put in the classes she was able to and would help get me in contact with the professor who’s classes she could not get me in. The entire registration process is so stressful but luckily I have not ran into issues when registering for my Spring class (thank goodness)! Hopefully as the University expands, administration will help with trying to make adjustments to class sizes and faculty to help accommodate for this pest of a problem we call registration!

  35. I have been very fortunate throughout my college career when it has come to registering. However, my fortune was short lived this semester when I registered for Spring 2013. I am currently registered for 15 hours of classes during the Spring, but only 6 of those hours are major classes; the remainding 8 hours are strictly electives. Granted, I do need these classes to knock out the elective portion of my degree, I was really pulling for one specific major classes. This particular class ( I will not name) is a prerequisite for the remainder of my Public Relations classes and by not being in this class next semester, my graduation date will be pushed back one semester. I have heard over and over again that one semester is not that long and that I need to count my lucky stars for even being able to attend school. However, when you are a college student that completely supports and takes care of herself, one semester seems like a lifetime. I am feening for a “big girl” job and I continuously count down the days until graduation. I found this blog post to be very informative. I, myself have read emails that friends have sent to professors due to overrides, class exemption, make up test, and so on; it really makes me want to get on to them like an angry parent about the way they write these emails. Its mind boggling to think that others think it is okay to address and speak to a man or woman of significant stature like they are merely students– not to say that students and teachers are not equa, I just feel like students should have the upmost respect for their teachers.

  36. I think that this post should be published in the George Anne for all Georgia Southern students to read. I have heard the same thing from several other professors regarding emails from students not requesting, but demanding to be overridden into a class.
    Surprisingly enough, there is an outstanding number of students that, when it comes to sending an email or speaking to an adult, have absolutely no manners at all. The tips that you list in this blog post could be eye-opening to some students on our campus. Some students, such as freshmen, simply do not know the proper way to email a request to a teacher. These tips are a friendly reminder of how to approach a teacher about getting what you want/need.
    After all, you won’t get anywhere in life being rude. It never hurts to be polite to people, especially professors in college.

  37. prahn22

    Luckily, I haven’t needed to get an over ride in a course thus far. I have had trouble getting into one class however. Last semester I was really concerned about being able to take fifteen hours. I had already taken my core classes and since I hadn’t taken intro to PR class, I was very limited in my choices. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get into communication theory so I emailed a few teachers. They were all very understanding of my situation and one offered to add me to her wait list. Luckily I was finally able to get into the class on my own. Overall I’ve had a good experience dealing with trying to get into classes.

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  39. I really don’t like how registration is carried out. I fall victim to the system failures and overall missing out on classes everytime. I have no idea why. I’ve never asked for an override before though, because most of the time I can get around it without too much trouble. This past registration period was the worst though. I needed to get into PR Writing, but there were only 3 classes offered with a grand total of like 30 people per class. The night before I registered, only 20 seats were left out of all three classes. I was doomed from the get-go. Then the server crashed, and now I’m taking it this upcoming summer. Thank goodness for that!

  40. Catherine McWalters

    I was one of the many students who experienced problems getting into registration this Fall for class in the spring. I was stressed and frustrated because I woke up at 5:45 am to be ready to log into Wings at 6:00 am so I would have less chance of not getting the classes i needed. However, when I tried to log on at exactly 6:00 am, the system wouldn’t let me through for reasons I will never know, but long story short I didn’t get through into the system until 10 am that same morning! When i went to register for my classes 98% of them were closed and full. This was a huge problem because the classes I needed are required classes for my major which makes them even harder to get into because everyone else in your major needs them too. Needless to say, I tried emailing my adviser to see if she could help me get into the classes and she told me I had to email the professors of the classes I needed for an override. That didn’t work out in my favor. None of the teachers I asked a) respond at all and b) help me get in the class.
    With all that said, I do know that all the professors are busy and are getting millions of emails from students just like me with the same problem, but there has got to be another way to fix this problem. If students who desperately need some classes and don’t get into them because of technical issues that weren’t the students fault, the university should have another plan for those students to get into those classes. I agree that these requests are to be asked in manner and respect. Some students email the professors right when the problem is happening and don’t realize how they are speaking because they are stressed, but that’s also not an excuse either. If you need/want something, your never going to get it if you piss off or disrespect the person you asking of.

  41. semicolonsandellipses

    Everyone that reads this blog should comment on this post! Since the registration rush is over for the majority of Communication Arts students, it is easier to be MORE objective when speaking about overrides. Totally objectivity is probably impossible for anyone who has gotten up at six in the morning to register for a class that closes right before you can click the register button.

    I thought this post was actually pretty helpful and I am going to recommend that some of my friends who have expressed immense frustration with the limited space in classrooms read it. The tips you listed were very helpful, even though they don’t really help you get into any classes.

    I have never personally had to write an email to a professor to try to weasel into a class, but the idea of it annoys me to say the least. I think there should be enough seats in the classes for everyone who needs them. We pay for our education and we shouldn’t have to beg teachers to teach us. It isn’t the professors fault, but if they have the power to let us into the class, was it ever really closed in the first place?

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  44. I just transferred to GSU this Fall semester so I have not had to request an override for anything yet. From what people tell me, I don’t think that will last too long.

    However, I also get frustrated with the small amount of classes that are offered for major classes. Everyone in that specified major has to take the same classes, so it is sometimes a hassle to get into a class before it is full. It can be a let down if you do not get into a class that you need because that can push graduation back, causing more time in school and more money. Why not offer more classes or more seats in a class? Does the school not have enough money to hire more professors?

    I do understand your views on being professional within emails to professors, or anyone for that matter. A person should always be professional in any academic or educational aspect, especially when you are asking for something.

  45. Lauren Creel

    I have always been able to get all of the classes that I need right away. However, this upcoming semester is not the case. As of right now I have eight hours and all of the classes that I need are filled. Of course I have been panicking and extremely overwhelmed thinking about next semester. It is very frustrating when you are paying thousands of dollars a year, make your schedule ahead of time, and wake up right at 6 am for registration and still do not get your classes. It is not fair that we are paying for our education and still have to deal with the stress and worry of not getting the schedule that we need. With that being said, I realize that I am not the only student with this problem, and it’s not the teacher’s faults. I believe that Georgia Southern needs to take into consideration how many student’s are in each major and come up with a better system so that every student can get the classes they need to graduate.

    Also, student’s need to take professionalism seriously when communicating with teachers and adults in general. Although not getting your classes is stressful, demanding an override is not the way to get what you want. I have always treated teachers with great respect, and realize that they have a lot going on and may not be able to get back to me right away. When sending emails, I have a greeting, an explanation, and a closing that is well written with correct grammar. I never send multiple emails when I do not get a response right away, and wait with patience. However, it is very frustrating when I send an important email and never receive a response. I think that teacher’s need to make sure they are being professional when communicating with students as well.

  46. The only time I have experience with getting an override into a class is when I signed for classes for Fall 2012 semester. I was required to have 55 hours before signing up for a class, but I wouldn’t have 55 hours until the end of the summer. After realizing this I emailed my adviser in a panic. It’s not a good experience to think that you aren’t going to get a class you need! My adviser emailed me back saying that she couldn’t do anything because that wasn’t in her department. I then emailed the marketing department head, who was a huge help to me! I explained the situation and then told her the class I desired to be in and an alternative and the CRNs of the classes. She emailed me back saying which class she put me in. It was a pretty easy and good learning experience in case something happened in the future.

    As far a professionalism in emails goes I have almost always had professors who request professionalism in emails. Several professors I’ve had would not respond if you didn’t send a proper email. This “rule” would be mentioned on the syllabus and tell you exactly how to send an email. I feel that it is a little upsetting that students don’t think they have to be professional in their emails to their professors. I could not even imagine sending an email to a professor saying “Hey. What’s up? See ya later.” or anything to the like. One class I was in at Armstrong Atlantic State University requested that emails be very formal. If they were not to her exact specification you could bet that you would not get a response and she didn’t care. But something I found to be rude on her part was she did not pay back the same respect to us. When I had to miss class because I had the flu, I sent her an email because she also had a very strict attendance policy. I wrote her exactly how she specified. I had a greeting, an explanation (with proper sentences and grammar), a closing and a signature in my email. However when I received her reply she had simply typed “O.K.” – that was it. I was appalled that she thought it was fine to do that especially after I had written her an email so perfect. All in all I agree that students should make sure to send professional emails, but I also think it’s appropriate for the professor to make sure they are equally as professional.

  47. I am blessed enough that I too have never struggled with getting into the classes I need; however this does not mean that I don’t feel sympathy for those who become overwhelmed and stressed with this situation. With the school being bigger with the student population than ever before, the school needs to take this into account. Student’s are paying for their education. If I didn’t get into a class I needed I would go into panic mode. The school needs to be flexible and take into account those student’s who need certain classes. No one should have to deal with not getting into a class. They are paying for it! Since this idea probably won’t happen for a while, there are a few things that possibly could. Those student who send an override email at 6:10 a.m. obviously need that class more than the student who sends that same email a week later. The system should run on a first come first serve basis. Students should also learn that this is taxing on the professor; therefore they should not demand an override. Its called an override request isn’t it? They should be humble in their language. Besides, who likes to be ordered around? Students should also contact the professor, contact the department head, and when all else fails consider other possibilities.

    Also, with students writing to professors without professionalism is probably one of my biggest pet peeves. That doesn’t mean that professors acting or responding in an unprofessional manner isn’t frustrating either. This is a school. It is a business. Lets all act like adults and treat each other and our time with respect.

  48. lm02113

    I have never needed to request an override into a course, but I can relate to the question of professionalism in emails to professors. I read through some of my old conversations, and it seems that my tone depends on the personality and character of the professor that I am emailing.

    For example, I emailed one of my serious, more conservative professors and I began the email with “Dear Dr. so and so”. I conducted the rest of my email in a very formal tone signing “Thank you, Liana Moran”. On the other hand, I had a professor who was very friendly and light-hearted with her students. She made all sorts of jokes and conducted a more informal class setting. I began her email with “Hi Dr. blah!” I used a much friendlier and more conversational tone in her email, but I did refrain from using terms like “I’m screwed”. I ended her email with “Thanks! Liana Moran”. I’m not sure that I’ve ever really considered emailing etiquette before now, but I feel like it parallels to how you would talk to that person face to face. I asked myself how I would hold a conversation with each of those two professors in person, and I believe it would be similar to the tones I used in each of their emails.

    I will keep these tips in mind as I write future emails to my professors. However, professors, take it as a compliment to your teaching style if students feel comfortable enough with you to write informally. I think students respect professors as people to be treated with reverence and professional courtesy; however, it’s easy for the professionalism to fall through the cracks when talking online. I’ve tweeted with professors, followed their social media sites, commented on blogs, and then suddenly I should take a formal tone on email? Defining online writing etiquette is becoming increasingly hard to do because the lines are blurry at times. It is definitely an interesting subject to contemplate, especially as Internet use in academia is only growing.

  49. When I was halfway through my General Studies undergrad degree, I had to take my Art History concentration courses out of order. I did not have the time to take only one intro course per semester. This meant that any upper level Art History course required me to request an override from the professor. In the Art Department, they have override request forms that students must fill out, get personally signed by the professor teaching the course, and then turn in to the art adviser who processes the request. I enjoyed this process because it gave me the opportunity to meet with the professor in charge of the course. It opened up a window for discussion with the professor that would, otherwise, be a great hardship via email. Although many students may think that it was an inconvenience, I thought of it as a way to prove to my professor that I REALLY wanted to be placed into their course. I feel this process is easier for professors, as well, because they can meet with students on their own time and at a first-come-first-serve basis. The professors are not placed in a position where they hold the future of the students’ graduation date in their hands. Instead, the students are personally responsible for setting up the meeting and turning in their forms on time. I think a lot of students have trouble imagining professors with lives outside of the classroom. It seems as if nobody corrected them as little children, when we all thought teachers lived and slept in the school building. 🙂