What to Do with a Report Card

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Madeleine Karydes
Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine attended UC Berkeley and double-majored in English and Media Studies. She is now an integral part of the Empowerly team.

As the school year wraps up, many students receive spring report cards. Have you ever asked yourself, “How can I use my report card for good?” In this article, we’ll discuss how to utilize the information in your grade reports to help yourself succeed academically. Believe it or not, your teachers don’t just dish out marks to punish you. Whether you earned the scores you wanted or fell short, the report card is a great tool for all students!

Dealing with Digital Grading

At my high school, albeit more than a few years ago, we were able to use a digital portal to keep tabs on our grades throughout the year. They weren’t updated as officially as report card grades, so we still got print-outs to take home at the end of a semester. [Tools like Blackboard and Canva are great for this!] Now, as schools turn to online learning, schools deliver grades almost exclusively online now. However you receive your grades, the important thing is to actually look at them… rather than throwing them in the recycling (or trash folder) right away.

I’ll take a moment now to note that some students might find the constant updates stressful. I would recommend sending your grade updates to a specific folder or label, so you can choose when to log in and check them. This can be especially helpful if you get email notifications on your phone or other regular devices. However you operate, just make sure you check them eventually. As they say, knowledge is power.

Next, let’s discuss what to do with the information.

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If Your Grades Fall Short:

Poor or mediocre grades can signal that you need to change your study habits. For instance, I could tell whether I was missing certain assignments as soon as the grades were uploaded. And even though your teachers may not allow make-up work or extra credit, it’s good to know if you need to be putting in some extra study time for that next test. 

It’s always better to know early on that you need some extra support or a change in routine. If there’s one thing teachers will always say, it’s that they want you to learn! So if you take the time to invest effort into the class and work hard, most educators will meet you halfway. Even if broaching the subject is difficult, it’s worth it. Check out this article for tips for introverted students on how to do this.

If You Have Flying Colors:

On the other hand, I was also able to see when I was doing well. For classes where I was scoring well, it helped relieve some of the stress and pressure to achieve the highest possible test grades. In other words, report cards can be tools to allow students to calibrate their efforts for success across the board. 

This isn’t to say that you should slack off the second you see that your grades are passable. Instead, it’s a key to understand where the best use of your study time will be. Then, you can schedule yourself effectively with the free time you have. 

Additionally, if you notice that you’re always scoring well in a particular subject without much effort, take that in! It’s likely that you have aptitude in that subject area. For undecided students, this information can signal a strong potential college major.

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Extra Credit! (Almost)

As a side bonus, some small businesses will reward students for earning good grades! For example, AAA lowers insurance rates for students who earn a “B” average or higher. There was a restaurant near my college campus, called Smart Alec’s, that would offer free french fries for each “A” grade a student brought in. Keep an eye out in your community for similar perks. You never know when an exemplary academic record might give you a little boost.

Finally, it’s always good to be proud of yourself for the effort you put into a class. This might sound cliche, but for those of you who are trying your best, it’s really true. If you’re able to consider your grades a tool to understand whether or not you’re grasping the material. And most of all, reach out for help if you need it. Demonstrating that you can overcome obstacles and adapt to challenges is a life-long skill, which will help you in college and beyond.

By the Way…

Empowerly can offer student support and resources to assist with this process. If you need guidance with your academics and college plans, reach out today. Book a free consultation to learn about our program and see how we can help. You got this! 

Questions? Let us know!