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Courses Question about course policy for an older student

  1. Aug 15, 2009 #1
    Hello everyone. I'm planning on taking some mathematics courses this fall, with the intent to return to school for an engineering degree as "full time" as I am able this spring. I live in the Boston area, and noticed that Harvard extension school has some good calculus/linear algebra courses that would allow me to get some of the basic math requirements for such a degree out of the way. However, I noticed in the fine print of the policy for the calculus course I'm interested in the disclaimer that stated essentially "No homework will be accepted late, and absolutely no makeup exams will be given." These kind of policies are unfortunately turning out to be a deal breaker for most of the courses offered in the Boston area, as I live at a significant distance from the city in the southern suburbs (about 30 miles away). I can imagine any number of circumstances that might cause me to miss a class - unreliable public transportation, severe illness, an emergency with one of my elderly parents. Given the limited number of homeworks and exams there are - you miss one and you've essentially flunked the class and lost nearly $1000 in tuition. I'm not really sure what to do - perhaps I just have to take the risk if I want to continue my education?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    I'm not sure what to say other than "the real world has hard and fast deadlines too". I guess the question that nobody but you can answer is how much of a risk you think this is. If I thought there was a 1% chance, I'd go for it - and a 99% chance, I wouldn't. Somewhere in between is a line that we each have to draw for ourselves.
  4. Aug 16, 2009 #3


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    Could you either (*) study on your own, with or without a tutor, before officially enrolling and attending, or (*) enroll and attend as an auditing student?

    Does that institution or maybe one in closer vicinity to you have an alternate mode of instruction, maybe a semi-independant form or instruction or a distance-learning form?
  5. Aug 17, 2009 #4
    In my limited experience, professors are willing to work with students in the case of a serious, documented reasons for missing an exam. If your bus crashes into a bridge, for example, I don't know of any professor I've ever had that would have said "too bad."

    But if you just miss your bus? Tough, call a cab, friend, or family member and get there.

    Have a heart attack, I'm sure they'll make an exception with your medical papers. Got the sniffles? Too bad, get to class.

    If you're concerned about missing an exam under extreme circumstances, email the professor.
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