When final grades are posted, most college students portray three different emotions: excitement, anxiety or shock.
These highly powered emotions are natural when you begin to receive evaluations regarding all the course work and examinations you completed throughout the semester. More specifically, some become obsessed with wondering if there was anything they could have done to boost their grade.
But final grades do not accurately display a student’s best effort in most cases.
Final grades are determined by a cornucopia of factors, such as the overall difficulty of the course, the strengths of the student and a student’s overall interest in the course.
Final grades can be lower in general education classes, during the first few years of college, because some of the subjects are out of the student’s comfort zone. Students could put forth mountainous efforts in these courses and still end up receiving a grade they could have been given lounging around the whole semester.
In my own case, the Math Emporium course MATH 1525 was my GPA anchor to say the least. The most annoying part is I put at least 12 hours of combined effort during the week on the class, studying and doing endless practice problems and ended up with a C on my transcript.
Usually, a C does not directly correlate with that sort of effort in a course. However, I know that math is my weakest subject, and despite the extra effort I put toward the course, the grade did not reflect the effort in the least bit.
The biggest matter of all is how this final grade will show up on your college transcript. Some jobs students apply for upon graduation ask for a copy of your college transcript, and potential employers are not only searching for what courses you took in college, but also the grades you received in courses specific to the job for which you have applied.
They are not going to ask you to explain what happened with a D you received in a specific course you took; employers will make assumptions based on what they see.
What a grade of C, D or F shows at first glance is that you did not put the necessary effort into the course you obviously should have, which in some cases, is not the situation at all.
Nonetheless, they will analyze your transcript based solely on the letters they see on the page.
The scenario may seem a bit harsh, but it is true. There are many people competing for the position you will want later on, and these final grades you receive now are going to make an impact later.
Sometimes these letter grades do not read like they should. If grades were based solely on effort in a course, I am sure there would be a lot of students getting straight A's.
To improve this situation, I propose professors give two different letter grades: one grade for work completed and the other for attendance and effort to show future employers that these students did not take their higher education for granted.
The college grading system is not fair and not perfect in the least. At the same time, though, life has never been fair, so you should never expect a miracle to fall in front of you.
Please know this article is not meant to dash your hopes for making the Dean’s List this semester. Keep putting effort into your studies because, one day, this extra effort will show, even if those lined up letters do not show it currently. With that, I wish you all the best of luck in your studies for the spring 2013 semester.