Month: May 2015

Staying on Track: Creating a Grade Calculator to Curb Denial

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canon-xmark1-calculator-5393153-oOk, prepare yourself for some serious excitement! I know that you have been waiting for this blog since I announced it last week. Seriously, who wouldn’t be excited about the cool things that you can do with Excel?!?! 😉

This is what a grade calculator can do for you:

*You always know where you stand.

*You can make decisions regarding how much time to spend on a course, on an assignment or studying for a test based upon the weight or if you need to raise your grade.

Step 1: 

I have created a template in Excel for you to create your own Grade Calculator. Feel free to download it: Grade Calculator

Step 2:

Create one Grade Calculator for each course that you have and keep them all in the same Excel file.

Step 3:

At the beginning of the semester enter all of the assignments, quizzes, papers, etc. into the grade calculators. Make sure that you put the date that the item is due and how much % weight it is worth to your final grade.

Step 4:

Play with it! You can enter the grades that you are hoping for to see what you need to reach your final goal grade. This helps you to gage how hard you need to work on an assignment and create a healthy balance amongst all of the competing demands on your time.

Grade Calculator Graphic

denial-quotes-1I love hearing from you!

Please let me know if I can help get you started, motivated or focused 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD

Counsellor * Professor * Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Take Charge of Your Life: Using Project Management Strategies/Techniques for Academic Success

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Project Management

Taking a Project Management approach to your studies can provide you with a framework that can help you to make the most of your available time. The most important thing to remember is that having balance in your life is what leads to success. This structured approach can help you to be more efficient and have WAY MORE time with your friends. Did I sell it yet? 🙂

“Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Ok, now time for the boring but important stuff. Here is a description of what Project Management actually is…

Project management, is the application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently. It’s a strategic competency for organizations, enabling them to tie project results to business goals — and thus, better compete in their markets.

Applying this philosophy your academic career can be empowering. It gives you the opportunity to create the “big picture”, clarify your goals, take stock of your skill set, make a plan to build more skills and really see that you are a work in progress that just needs to build the skills necessary for your own personal success.

The Following are the 5 Main Areas of Project Management:


Initiating: What are Your Goals?

  • What exactly are you looking for?
  • What do you consider success?
  • What GPA do you want to attain?
  • Do you want to attend every class this semester?
  • Do you want to meet other students?
  • Do you want to practice developing the confidence to talk to your professors?


  • What are your specific requirements?
  • What do you need to have in place to help you? (a Peer Tutor? Disability/ALS Accommodations? To improve your writing skills?
  • What will you do to increase your chances of success?
  • What tools will you use? (Wall Calendar, Grade Calculator, To-Do Lists, Personality Knowledge, etc.)


  • Create a list of your strategies: For example, participate in an Active Learning Workshop, learn more about my Personality and how this knowledge can help me maximize my skills, etc.
  • Create a list of what you plan to do: For example, I will go to every class, if I miss a class I will contact the professor right away and apologize / find out what I missed, I will get to know other students in class (exchange notes, study groups, sense of community, etc.).

Life isn't about finding yourselfMonitoring & Controlling: So you find that you are getting off track and your plan is falling apart. Then RE-BOOT!

  • What do you need to do to get back on track?
  • Make a list of what needs to be done (assignments, class participation, study for quizzes, etc.) and work through your list.
  • Plans often go off track, it is your job to get back on track…and it is POSSIBLE! You can book an appointment with a Mohawk Counsellor to help you make a Re-Boot Plan.

Closing: What Went Well? What Skills Do I Need to Build?

  • You have made it through your semester, ask yourself what went well? What strategies were the most successful? What did you learn about yourself this semester (skills, abilities, traits). What skills do I need to enhance or build?
  • Time to mark this project as ‘done’ and celebrate!

Next Week:

How to Create a Grade Calculator in Excel.  Sounds boring, but it is pretty cool!

I love hearing from you! Feel free to contact me:

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

Counsellor * Coach * Professor * Passionate Advocate for Student Success