Do Grades Round Up In College?

A college guy consulting his professor who's holding a large orange notebook while pointing to a page out in the hallway.

One of the hardest decisions a professor makes is deciding whether to round up the final grades of their students. It becomes even harder if rounding up means bumping a failing grade to a passing grade.

To be honest, there isn’t a straightforward way to know if your professor is going to round up or not. The short answer is it depends on your professor. (I know, it is such a cop-out answer but I will explain further)

It’s impossible to tell exactly how professors would grade their students. There are too many factors to consider, and each has its own grading system and principle.

Do Grades Round Up In College? The Most Common Reasons for Asking for a Grade Round-Up

The most common is, of course, bumping a failing grade into a passing grade.

If you are short of only a few percentage points, it’s acceptable to ask for a round-up. Many professors would actually round up without prompt. 

Failing a subject means that you need to repeat a whole semester. This seems unnecessary if you’re only a couple of decimals short.

Another reason is if the student is only a few decimal points into getting a better grade. For instance, 89.8% is equal to a ‘B+’, whereas 90.0% is ‘A-‘. That’s 0.2% separating these grades yet the other one would read better on their profile.

Should You Even Ask Your Professor to Round Up?

Again, the answer here is it depends. I know, it’s such a lazy answer but let me elaborate further.

The first thing you should check is if the syllabus allows for rounding up. If there is a segment on that, you should read the rules. Only then should you approach your professor.

Another thing to consider is whether the extra credit points have been added to the final grade. If they are, then I would advise against asking since the grade is already adjusted.

What Will Your Professor Think?

Two college students consulting their professor who's walking outside the university building.

Most professors would actually welcome their students asking to see their grades. After all, it is their right.

Some professors might have an issue if you straight up ask for a round-up. You need to provide some context first.

What you should do instead is have a discussion about your grade and provide context. If you believe that you put great effort into learning the course, it’s only fair to ask for some consideration.

Now, if you’ve missed a lot of lectures, assignments, extra credits, tutoring sessions, or anything of that nature, I suggest you do not ask unless you have a really good reason for missing them.

Professors are usually more forgiving if you’re seen as hardworking. Although there are always those who seem grumpy for no particular reason.

Why Would a Professor Round Up?

Contrary to what many students believe, it’s not all numbers when it comes to the final grade. A lot of it is subjective, which gives a lot of leeways when it comes to adjusting the final grade.

For instance, many professors give out extra credit opportunities for their entire class, which is optional. If a student completed these extra credits, then the boost is well deserved. If not, then that means that they aren’t giving full effort, which can be an issue.

Another thing that would make a professor round up is when they see the effort. Take note that this is all subjective, though. 

In my experience, most professors are open to rounding up. This is especially true if it means the difference between passing and failing. No one wants to fail someone without good reason.

Why Would a Professor Refuse to Round Up?

A female college student consulting her professor outside the university building, with the teacher about to place a reassuring hand on her shoulder while holding a clipboard.

Some professors are sticklers for the rules, is all.

I had a friend in college who got a final grade of 89.6% for a B+. Meanwhile, I had an A because I got a 90.1% average.

The difference in our grades is so small that you could argue we both deserved the A, but that isn’t always the case. Some professors never round up because of their principle.

Should You Ask for a Round-Up or Not?

It’s a complicated answer, but yes.

You have more to gain if you ask for a round-up. Even more so, if you have a legitimate argument.

Professors generally favor those who care about their grades. You checking your grades is already a step in the right direction.

But take note, not all professors are open to rounding up, so keep this in mind when you approach your instructors.

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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