Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dun Dun Dun! Checking for Grades

I know it seems premature to think about but before you know it grades will be posted.  Inevitably, one of your classmates on Facebook, via text, or via email will announce when a new grade has been posted.  If you don’t want to know your grades until they ALL have been posted be sure to steer clear of social media until January.  If you MUST know your grades immediately then you will get the announcement and check your grade straightaway. 

So, how do you check for grades?

1)      Log on to my.whittier
2)      Click on the “my info” tab
3)      Click on the link for “Academic Transcript”
4)      Hit Submit

Somewhere between Step 3 and Step 4 you will feel a slight hesitation or a nervous pang in the bottom of your stomach: This is it.  This is the moment you find out just how much your hard work has paid off.

This process is very similar to what you will go through when you get your bar results.  Bar results come out the Friday before the week of Thanksgiving at 6:00pm.  You are given a card during the bar exam with a number, a password, and a website where you can check whether or not you passed.  From 5:55pm until 5:59pm you will pace around, nervous with anticipation and raring to get it over with.  However, once 5:59 and thirty seconds rolls around you will sit down in front of your computer, hands shaking, refreshing the page to see if it’s time.  Once it’s time, you will plug in your numbers and just like Step 4 above, hit submit.  Then it feels like the entire world falls out from below you as you wait for your results to pop-up.  Then, the moment you realize you passed (which you will, I mean you’re tracking this blog so obviously you’re staying on top of you law school experience!) you will expect trumpets and bells and whistles and confetti to start falling—but it doesn’t.  Instead you’ll be so excited you won’t know what to do with yourself, call all of the people you know, and (if you’re anything like me) be so emotionally exhausted you fall asleep at 8:00pm.

Getting law school grades back is very similar but on a smaller scale.  So if you do well and get excited, imagine how passing the bar will be exponentially more exciting!  If you do not do as well as you had hoped DON’T PANIC.  There are several things to do:

·         Keep in mind these are soft grades, there is a lot of room for improvement
·         Ask your professors if you can go over your exam together to get a better idea of what he or she was looking for
·         Come to ASP—we are more than happy to work with you to figure out where and why you struggled
·         Reassess your study plan—what worked? What didn’t work?
·         Realize you have an entire semester to improve your GPA and with a little hard work significant improvement is possible

What should you be doing over Winter Break?

Congratulations! You have completed your first semester of law school. It is an accomplishment you should be proud of. Now take some time to relax and recharge before next semester. (sleep, clean your living space, catch up on your DVR programs, start some holiday shopping, etc.) Spend time reconnecting with family and friends and remembering there is a life outside of law school.
Do not feel the need to start pre-reading right away for next semester. However, take some time to reflect on your performance during your first semester. What worked well for you? What did not work as well? Was you study group effective for your learning? Were your study guides an aid or a crutch? Make new goals for yourself for the next semester; such as when to start outlining, when to start taking practice exams, when to see T.A.s, Prof. ASP etc.
If your professor gives you the option to review your final exam, take that opportunity even if you scored well in the class! Learning what your professor, and ultimately the bar, is looking for and how each grade an exam will help you self-assess and identify areas for you to improve.
Last but not least, have fun but get ready to gear up for next semester!