College and high school are drastically different. Once you go to college, you’ve got a lot more freedom. It’s totally up to you as a student to go to class, remember to do your homework and study for tests. Sometimes that level of responsibility can be good, and for some, it can spell trouble.
Your level of attentiveness and class participation translates directly into your grades. If you miss class, or constantly show up late, you miss out on assignments, important notes the teacher might give, test dates and your grades can suffer. Having a high grade point average (GPA) in college can translate into getting into better graduate school programs, getting a better job or even being eligible for the best internships.
For those that find they have a need to try and raise their GPA, there is hope. These tips can even be used by those just starting college to keep their grades top notch. Whether you plan to go to graduate school or not, having a high GPA can be a helpful tool to show you’ve mastered your curriculum.
Go to class: Being in class shows your professors that you care enough to be there. Being in class will ensure that you never miss out on a surprise quiz, project or participation points. Many teachers have chosen to give students credit just for going to class. Those points can make the difference between letter grades. Also, if you’re constantly in class, you’re bound to absorb more of that information that’s being tossed around, whether you mean to or not.
Make yourself known: Talk to your professors and their teaching assistants. If you have questions, make use of their office hours. They are there to help you and you have to utilize your resources. Never assume when it comes to a project or test. Always ask if you are unsure about something so that you can be totally confident in any work you turn in. Taking the initiative is impressive and your professors will notice.
Go the extra mile: Do any extra work that’s offered. Every teacher won’t offer it, but if they do, it gives you some cushion and a little wiggle room. Most likely your teacher will tell you at the beginning of the semester if extra credit will be available. Find out early if it is offered and pace yourself to do a little throughout the semester instead of waiting until the last minute.
Don’t procrastinate: This works two ways. Don’t wait until the end of the semester to try and make better grades and don’t wait until your junior year to attempt making good grades overall. It’s much less stressful for you if you start out and stay strong with good grades throughout your college career. Waiting until the last few semesters to try and pull straight A’s is not very realistic if you’ve previously been receiving all C’s. The same goes for the end of the semester. If you’ve been missing class and turning in half done homework, getting a perfect score on the final to raise your grade isn’t very likely. Manage your time wisely and focus year-round.
Take notes: Teachers get paid to teach. Yes, you have a book full of information, but taking notes on what the teacher says is a major key to success. Most teachers will test you partially on what they said and partially on what’s in your textbook. This is another plug for attending class. If you take thorough notes, you can review those later along with what’s in the book. Many professors will tell you in the middle of a lecture that what they’re about to say will be on the test. These free tidbits can’t all be trusted to memory, so write it down.
Don’t cram: Cramming is your enemy when it comes to college. More than likely, you are cramming because you didn’t go to class, or you’ve waited until the last minute to start studying. If you pace yourself and study throughout the semester, you have a better chance of retaining the information. After your classes, review your notes and the corresponding book chapters a couple of times before your next class. This will result in you remembering what you talked about in class, and reinforce it. By studying periodically, you will only have to review when it’s time for a test. This will also help to avoid stress.
Rarely do low GPA’s come from a lack of understanding of the material. More often than not, low grades come from lack of hard work. Buckle down, do the work, and study- that is the key to a high GPA.