7 ways to raise your college GPA
The start of a new semester is the perfect time to implement new strategies for maintaining or raising your college grade point average (GPA). Think of it as New Year’s Eve in August; out with the old and in with the new, especially if your current GPA leaves much to be desired. With so many distractions at school, it can be a struggle to stay focused and on task, but letting your GPA plummet can have some serious consequences. You could lose valuable financial aid awards, such as scholarships, which can leave you scrambling to pay for your classes. If you fail a course that is required for your degree program, you could be looking for a new career path. And let’s not forget how your parents will probably react to the news that you’re on academic probation – that’s not going to be a fun conversation! So, do yourself a favor and follow these seven simple tips for bumping up your GPA this year.
1. Go to Class
You would think that this is self-explanatory, but so many students think they can skip class, read the textbook and ace the class. Guess again! Just missing one class can put you behind. Most professors cover material outside of the textbooks and provide clarification on complex subject matter during class discussions, and your fellow students may have some great insights, too. Another reason to attend class is that your grade may be tied to your attendance. It’s not uncommon for professors, or even the school, to set a maximum number of days you can miss during the semester before you lose a letter grade or are dropped from the class. Some may be as few as three days over the semester, so read your syllabus to ensure you don’t damage your GPA by skipping class.
2. Sit up Front
I know it may be nice to hide in the back, but avoiding the professor’s eye contact can do more harm than good. If you sit up front, the professor is more likely to remember you, which may help you down the road (see #6). You’ll also have an easier time hearing lectures and reviewing material on the board. The more people you sit behind, the more chances there are for your eyes to wander. Instead of paying attention to the professor, you’ll be watching a YouTube video, scanning someone’s Tumblr page or checking out what’s on sale at Forever 21. Don’t let other students distract you during class time; sit up front and tune them out.
3. Participate in Class
One of the easiest ways to absorb the material in your classes is to participate in them. Ask and answer questions, debate others when you disagree, and generally let your professor know that you are awake and listening! You never know when one of those discussions will pop into your brain during an exam and actually help you.
4. Stay Organized
If your professor allows you to record or video tape your class, do it; this will allow you to refer back to sections that you may have missed or have difficulty understanding. I, on the other hand, always found that taking notes during class reinforced the material. It’s also a great way to organize concepts and create helpful study guides for tests. Whichever method you prefer, be sure to keep them in an electronic file or hard folder where you can access them periodically to keep the material fresh in your brain. You’ll also want to review the syllabus for important items, such as assignment or project due dates and exams. Keep track of these dates in various places, like your smartphone, agenda or desk calendar. Set reminders on your electronic organizers to ensure you don’t miss anything this semester.
5. Use Campus Resources
If you find that you are struggling in any of your courses, don’t wait until the final weeks of the semester to seek help. Instead, start the semester with a plan and know what resources are available to you. Join a study group or partner with one of your classmates early in the term. Stop by the campus tutor lab for help with your assignments or help prepping for an upcoming exam. If your college has teaching assistants (TA), pick their brains for suggestions on how to create a paper that will impress your professor. Graduate students are also a great resource, especially those who have aced the courses you are currently taking. It’s so much easier to earn a high grade when you utilize these resources at the beginning of the semester and not at the end of it.
6. Visit Your Professor
It may seem silly, but stopping by and talking with your professors can actually improve your grade. Why? Well, for one thing they are more likely to remember you and be impressed that you sought out their help. Contrary to what you may believe, your professors want you to succeed. Stop by during office hours or schedule a visit whenever you have questions or if you just want some feedback on the direction you are taking with an assignment. You might even find that you enjoy their company and that they can help open doors to internships and potential jobs. It never hurts to have a good relationship with your professors.
7. Stay Healthy
If you really want to succeed in college and bump up your GPA, you need to stay healthy. Start by getting plenty of sleep and avoid drinking alcohol during the week. Hangovers and late night dates can seriously derail your efforts to make it to class, not to mention the toll it can take on your body. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and high fiber foods to fuel your brain, and don’t forget to exercise. Even if it’s just a 30-minute walk around the campus or a quick workout at the gym, keep your body moving to stimulate your brain.
By choosing healthier options and following these simple tips, you’ll be less likely to get overwhelmed and stressed out this semester, which means you’ll have a better chance at keeping up with your classes and boosting your GPA. If you do miss a class at some point, don’t sweat it; nobody’s perfect! Just jump back into your routine and ask a classmate to clue you in on what you missed.