A Reminder About Incomplete Grades (the “I”)

As we near the end of the spring 2017 semester please keep in mind the way that incomplete “I” grades work. Some of you may have received an incomplete for a course in the past (meaning you got an “I” for your grade instead of a real letter grade). I posted about this several years ago here, but let me post on it again just to remind everyone what’s up, and of the things you need to be thinking about if you have any incompletes on your transcript.

First off the incomplete might be granted to students who meet attendance requirements and complete most of the required work for a course. The incomplete is intended for students who experience an unexpected crisis (such as illness) at a specific point during the term which interrupts their ability to complete all required work for a course. Each professor has the right to not grant an incomplete and instead grant some other grade, including an F, based on whatever work the student completed during the regular term. Students who find themselves in a situation which might warrant an incomplete must request it of the professor. Even if a professor agrees to give you an incomplete you should avoid them at all cost. Many students take an incomplete figuring that they will make it up in good time, and then don’t–because life goes on, new responsibilities and work come along, and it just becomes very difficult to find time to go back and do work on past requirements.

If a student is granted an incomplete, the student should work to complete the missed work and so remedy the incomplete as soon as possible–and prior to the start of the next semester. At the maximum, students have one year in which to remedy the incomplete: after that year the potential credits for the course and tuition for the course are lost, and the incomplete cannot be changed into any real grade.

So for example students who have an incomplete from spring 2016 have a little more than two weeks from the day I’m posting this (April 25) to remedy the incomplete (because the last day of the semester is May 9). Once this spring semester ends, all spring 2016 incompletes are locked in and cannot be fixed. And note: sending your professors paperwork at 11pm on the 365th day of the year’s window is not acceptable. Professors might have upwards of a hundred final papers they’re reading for all their regular classes, and your incomplete paper will usually go to the bottom of that stack and be read in proper time–not rushed to the front of the line as some might hope. So, anyone seeking to correct spring 2016 incompletes should be communicating with and working with their professor now to establish the necessary schedule required to remedy the incomplete.