We present a method that allows determining the band-edge exciton fine structure of CdSe/CdS dot-in-rods samples based on single particle polarization measurements at room temperature. We model the measured emission polarization of such single particles considering the fine structure properties, the dielectric effect induced by the anisotropic shell, and the measurement configuration. We use this method to characterize the band-edge exciton fine structure splitting of various samples of dot-in-rods. We show that, when the diameter of the CdSe core increases, a transition from a spherical like band-edge exciton symmetry to a rod-like band edge exciton symmetry occurs. This explains the often reported large emission polarization of such particles compared to spherical CdSe/CdS emitters.