Reacting to First Grades
Ruperto M. Perez, Ph.D.
Director, Georgia Tech Counseling Center
Many Georgia Tech students (and parents!) wait with some apprehension to receive their first progress reports. First-year and second-year students are given a mid-semester progress report that indicates a studentâs progress in his/her classes during the semester. For fall 2009, 1000- and 2000-level class progress reports will be posted on Friday, Sept. 25. Progress report grades are used to advise and inform students of their current progress and are not included in calculating the GPA for students. Progress reports of an âSâ or satisfactory indicate that the studentâs progress in a particular course is within the upper range of the grading system for that particular class. On the other hand, a grade of âUâ reflects that the studentâs performance is within the lower range for that particular class.
As parents, it is helpful to understand how grades are reported and calculated for your son or daughter. More information can be found in the recent edition of the Georgia Tech Catalog, or may be found at www.catalog.gatech.edu.
Aside from the actual grade formulary, it is extremely beneficial for parents to know how to react if your son or daughter receives an unsatisfactory grade on the mid-semester progress report. Your reaction and encouragement during this time can make all the difference for your student.
There are a number of students who find the academics at Tech to be challenging and, for freshman especially, the workload to be significantly different and difficult than that of high school. In general, students who are able to successfully manage the curriculum are those who are able to:
* Regularly attend all classes;
* Effectively manage their time and activities;
* Develop and exercise effective study and test-taking skills;
* Establish extracurricular activities, and
* Seek out and access appropriate support services when needed.
As parents, it is helpful to maintain healthy and appropriate lines of communication with your son or daughter and to explore some of these key success factors listed above in order to ascertain your childâs progress. If your son or daughter does receive a âUâ on their progress report, it may be helpful to inquire as to their regular class attendance and their time management. It can also be helpful for students to be reminded of the various academic support resources that are available to them to provide tutoring, developing effective study skills, or other services.
At other times however, students may experience personal difficulties that interfere with their academic progress. For those instances, talking with your son or daughter about seeking out personal counseling can be a good step in maintaining a sense of trust and confidence in your relationship with them. As always, the Georgia Tech Counseling Center is available to consult and provide students with the necessary and appropriate services for their presenting concerns. In addition, the Counseling Center is also open in appropriate consultation with parents in ways to provide the necessary support and encouragement to their son or daughter in order that they may succeed both academically and personally at Georgia Tech.
For more information on the Counseling Center and its services, please visit www.counseling.gatech.edu.