What do Final Grades Mean for You?

Coping With Rejection(2)

Once high school students get their final grades for the year they are free to go off and enjoy their summer. Many students don’t think about what their final grades mean until it comes time to apply for college. However, it’s a good idea for students to look really at their final class grades and ask themselves a few questions. Is this a subject I struggle with? Do my grades seem fair? Is it the grade I was expecting? Students are also encouraged to calculate their GPA and get an idea of what types of colleges might be right for them. Additionally, if students have questions about their final exams or other assignments from the class, they should talk to their teacher to get feedback.

1. What do grades say about strengths and weaknesses?

Final grades can help students look at their strengths and weaknesses. In many cases, a high school student will know that they’ve always been great at science or that they’ve always struggled with grammar. However, some students develop brand new skill sets once they reach the high school environment. Grades can be an indicator of both study skills and content knowledge. A final grade will give a student an idea of their overall strength in a particular subject. This can be very helpful when students need to choose which AP courses to take or what they might like to study once they get into college (READ: Why It’s not too late to get a tutor for finals).

2. How will final grades affect college admittance?

Students who are entering the college prep years might also want to think about how their final grades will affect college admittance. Most universities look at grades from sophomore to senior year, but some look at all four years. If the student’s final grades are a little bit lower than they would like them to be it’s a good opportunity to look at study habits and think about what students can get help with the following year. For example, did the student have an A in their math class going into the final but end up with a B overall? Why did their grade drop so suddenly? On the other hand, maybe a student had a straight B+ in their English class the entire year?

3. Are these grades accurate?

Although grades are almost always accurate, it doesn’t hurt to check. This is especially true if students were completing extra credit or if they were handing in missing assignments from earlier in the term. If students received a grade they weren’t expecting, they are encouraged to go online and look at each assignment and how much it was worth it. Some assignments might have been worth 20% of a student’s final grade while other assignments may have only been worth 2%.

4. How do final grades affect GPA?

Students should also think about how their final grades affect their grade point average. In most cases, each class is worth the same amount of weight in a GPA. However, sometimes elective classes or after-school activities count for fewer units than academic classes. The online grading system should be able to calculate a GPA for the student, but students should learn how to calculate their GPA so they can stay informed throughout the year (READ: 5 Tips for Last Minute Finals Study).

5. Can grades be improved in the future?

Students are also encouraged to think about whether or not grades can be improved in the future. In some cases, a student is struggling with the content of a course. Perhaps calculus is just really hard (it is!), in which case they might need to join a study group or work with a tutor one-on-one. Other times, a student might nail the subject matter but have difficulty organizing their many assignments and need to address their study strategy before the fall. Final grades give students great insight into their current skill set and ability and can help them determine how to approach the next year of high school this August.

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