Category: Student Success/Tips

Writing Professional E-mails

Professional e-mails (those going to a professor or to a prospective employer) are different from personal e-mails or text messages in several ways.

  • Include a descriptive and detailed subject line for the e-mail. See the following examples:
    • Poor: I have a question
    • Better: ENG1101 Homework
    • Best: ENG1101 Homework due 9/12/2013, Problem 3.5
  • Address the person you are e-mailing (e.g., Hello Dr. Smith,).
  • Use full sentences.
  • Use capitals and punctuation.
  • Do not shorten words (i.e., use “you” instead of “u”).
  • Spell check the e-mail.
  • Sign the e-mail.
    • Thank you,
    • Your Name
    • Your Contact Information

Here are some tips for e-mailing questions to a professor or an academic advisor.

  1. Explain who you are and what you need help with. Include any important background information.
  2. List your questions in a numbered list rather than paragraph format. It is easy to lose questions in a paragraph.
  3. Sign your full name, course, day and time of course, or your full name and major.

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First-Year Engineering Learning Center

Engineering Fundamentals has a First-Year Engineering Learning Center for students taking first-year ENG courses. If you have questions regarding your ENG course you can see your instructor or go to the First-Year Engineering Learning Center.

  • Room: 208 Dillman
  • Sunday – Thursday
  • 7-9pm
  • Staffed with Teaching Assistants

Dillman 208 is also open for students to do homework when there is not a class in the room.

If you need help with other classes, there are other learning centers available across campus.

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No Time for Lunch??

Do you have a meal plan with the Residence Hall but skip lunch because you have classes through lunch time? You could get a bag lunch from your dining hall, and here is how it works:

Dining Service provides bag lunches for students in the residence halls that cannot make it to lunch due to their class schedule (note, class schedules will be checked to confirm lunch-time conflicts). To request a lunch, ask any dining services staff person for a Bag Lunch form. To complete the form, you will need to specify service days and pickup times. Bag lunches, which will require a swipe when picked up, include a sandwich of your choice, fruit, chips, yogurt, and cookie. You will need to pick up your bag lunch at your dining hall.

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How to Calculate Grade Point Average

To calculate a grade point average (GPA), the following equation is used:

GPA = Σ(Credits × Grade) ÷ ΣCredits

where the letter grade in a class is first translated to points earned (A = 4 points, AB = 3.5 points, etc.).

When a course is transferred from another institution to Michigan Tech, the grade is not transferred. Therefore, the credits and the grade for the transferred class are not used in the Michigan Tech GPA calculation.

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Repeating Courses

If your earn a grade of CD or below in a course, the course may be repeated. By repeating a course, you have the opportunity to learn the material better, which will help you in future courses as well as improve your GPA. Below is a list of how it works:

  • You may repeat courses with a grade of CD or lower.
  • The most recent grade is used in your GPA calculation, even if it is lower than the previous grade.
  • Your official transcripts will indicate NR (no grade– repeated) for any earlier attempt(s) at the course.
  • You may repeat a course no more than two times (i.e., take a course three times).
  • Special permission from the Dean of Students Office (1st Floor Administration Building,, 906-487-2212) and your academic advisor is required to take a course a third and final time.
  • You might not be able to receive financial aid for retaking a course you already passed.  For more information:
  • Students who receive GI Bill benefits cannot be certified for or receive compensation for repeating a course they have previously passed. For more information, please see the School Certifying Official in the Registrar’s Office.

If you have questions regarding which classes to re-take you should contact your academic advisor.

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Fall Grades, Bills, and Registration

Fall 2011 course grades will be available on Banweb by December 21, 5pm. If you think there might be an error in a course grade, you should contact the instructor of the course.

Spring semester bills are due and spring enrollment must be confirmed by January 4, 5pm. A $50 late fee will be assessed for bills paid or enrollments confirmed after January 4, 5 pm.

On-line registration is currently open and will close January 13. Students may lateregister, with the instructor’s approval, until January 18.

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Final exam preparation

Fall 2011 final exams are December 12th through 16th. All exams are two hours in duration. A list of each course, section, exam start time, building, and room can be found at: Or, students can view their personal final exam schedule by logging into Banweb, selecting Student Services, selecting Registration, and selecting Student Final Exam Schedule.
Please check your final exam schedule. If you have a time conflict or more than three exams on one day, the Registrar’s Office will be e-mailing one of your professors to have an exam moved. They will also cc you on that e-mail so you know what is happening. In addition, some larger courses have more than one room for the final exam, please check for your course section number and last name to determine where to go for your final exam.
To help you prepare for final exams, below are exam preparation tips from Engineering Fundamentals faculty.

To help you prepare for final exams, below are exam preparation tips from Engineering Fundamentals faculty.

  • Get enough rest – do not save all your studying until the last minute and lose sleep because you are not prepared for the exam.
  • Manage your study time effectively – focus your efforts on the material you are least confident in or topics you know will be the majority of the exam.
  • Make use of the study materials provided by the instructor. Complete the assigned reading.
  • Ask questions during class if there is something you do not understand.

– Ms. Amber Kemppainen

  • Rewrite or type up your notes and review class slides.
  • Take a short (10 minute) walk before your exam.
  • Take study breaks.

– Dr. AJ Hamlin

  • Higher thinking is one of the first things to go when you are exhausted or malnourished, so getting proper rest and nutrition during finals week is very important. It is best to allow at least a week of adjustment on this. So, check your final exam schedule to find the earliest time you will need to get out of bed, and then adjust your sleep schedule for that wake-up time in the week before finals, if possible. Eating right will also help you do your best on all those tests. Good luck on them!

– Dr. Jean Kampe

  • When preparing for a final exam and reviewing each topic in the course – ask yourself “How could I test for this topic?” When you can answer that question, you are ready for the exam.

– Dr. Brett Hamlin

  • What worked best for me was paging through my notes.

– Mr. Mir Sadri-Sabet

  • Do not just cram for the exam the night before. This is a difficult task and generally is a waste of time. Your best bet is to come to class every day and pay attention. Being actively involved in the classroom and in your learning process in general will make studying for the final exam an easier task.
  • Go through the course outline and make sure you are comfortable with each day’s topic(s). Being familiar with the course’s structure helps you get concepts more aligned in your head. This also helps you determine which topics you are not as comfortable with and where to focus your study efforts more thoroughly.
  • Do not worry too much. Worrying is not going to help you pass the test anyway, so why waste
    your time worrying?

– Mr. Jonathan Riehl

  • Redo the homework problems without looking at your graded homework.
  • Make flashcards with key concepts. Carry them everywhere and review a few whenever you have a minute.

– Ms. Ruth Archer

  • Write your own exam with your friends/class mates. Each write two problems. Take the exam, grade your questions, and review the exam as a group.
  • Review homework and exams. Redo problems that you completed incorrectly. Complete additional problems at the end of the chapter.

– Ms. Amy Monte

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Do you need to drop a class?

After the last day to drop a class (October 21st), students who have extenuating circumstances must appeal to the Student Affairs office for a Late Drop.
Late drops are not given because:
1. You forgot to drop the course, or you were not aware of the policy;
2. You spent too much time on University extracurricular activities;
3. You wish to avoid a poor grade;
4. You are changing your major or transferring to another school; or
5. You do not need the course to graduate.
The instructions for requesting a Late Drop can be found at:

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Mid-Term Grades

All first-year students will receive mid-term grades for their classes; mid-term grades are viewable on Banweb at 5pm, October 10, 2011. The purpose of mid-term grades is to help first-year students see how they are performing in their classes. If a student has questions regarding a mid-term grade for a class, they should meet with the instructor. Mid-term grades are defined as satisfactory (SA), unsatisfactory (UN), not applicable (NA), and missing (M). NA is used for courses where credit is not earned. M is used when an instructor does not submit a grade. Mid-term grades are temporary grades and will be replaced when the student has earned the final grade for the class. Therefore, no permanent record of the mid-term grade is kept.

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Need help in a class?

As you are getting into your classes, you may find that you need extra help on a topic. If you have questions, go see your professor during office hours, or e-mail your professor to set up an appointment. Learning Centers are another resource on campus:

  • Chemistry: 208 Chem Sciences and Eng Building
  • Engineering Fundamentals: 209 Dillman, Sunday- Thursday, 7pm-9pm
  • Mathematics: 128 Fisher Hall
  • Physics: 228 Fisher Hall
  • Multiliteracies Center (formerly the Writing Center): 107 Walker Arts and Humanities Center

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