I am currently in a difficult science class that is important for my major. I have a current GPA of 3.5 that I am very focused on keeping. This semester I had a vacation out of the country that I had been planning for years. I spoke to all my professors about it and only one had any problem with my being unable to make two classes. This professor said that I would be unable to make up any of the class work and would receive a zero in all assignments given during the time I was gone, nor will I be allowed any extra credit to make up for the missed class work. As a result I worked extremely hard at keeping the highest grade possible in the class and when I left on vacation my grade was 97%. After I got back I found out I was pregnant. Sadly there were complications and I was hospitalized and had a miscarriage barely a week later. This caused me to miss an additional class. Though I spoke with the difficult professor about what was going on and offered to provide any documentation required my grade has been dropped to 77%. If my GPA drops too much I will lose my scholarship money and internship opportunities. I have time to withdraw but I really don't want to waste the time and money. I have never had a professor treat me like this before, is this normal? I would like to hear some educated opinions.

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    This semester I had a vacation out of the country that I had been planning for years You plan to take vacation during a semester?
    – Nobody
    Mar 18, 2017 at 2:10
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    It was planned two years before I started college. Mar 18, 2017 at 2:22

1 Answer 1


In the US, it is up to the professor on how he/she wants to handle a student missing class without a valid excuse. Vacations are not valid excuses (doesn't matter how long you've been planning it, and why would it?).

However, medical issues are a valid excuse and the university usually has a policy on how to handle it, which professors have to adhere to. I would recommend talking to your advisor or the chair of the department about this.

As @ChrisPhan mentioned, this particular situations looks to be protected by Title IX in the US. Most universities have staff known as Title IX Coordinators that you can contact. I imagine that they will take this very seriously.

  • Thank you so much, that is really helpful. Hopefully I can use this to excuse my final absence and raise my grade to something I can fix with a little effort. Mar 18, 2017 at 11:20
  • Yes, Title IX. You should plan to speak with your campus Title IX coordinator on Monday. In the meantime, you can be reading up on your university's policies and start assembling your medical documentation. I recommend scanning things like doctor's notes, hospital or emergency room admissions and discharge paperwork, to have handy to send as email attachments when needed. // I suggest you change your wording: from "vacation" to "family travel commitment." It looks better. Also, ... Mar 18, 2017 at 14:18
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    ...start your story, when speaking with administrators, with the hospitalization, then the pregnancy complications, then the family travel committment. In other words, tell the story backwards from how you told it here. The beginning should be, "I am concerned about how to catch up in X Class after a recent hospitalization. // And Lynn, may I add, I am very sorry for your loss. Miscarriage is so often swept under the rug and treated like some minor medical mishap on the par with having a small mole biopsied. In fact, it's a significant loss. Hang in there, my friend! Mar 18, 2017 at 14:21

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