Maintaining a strong college grade point average (GPA) is important because it can affect your eligibility for scholarships and other financial aid, and lead to better prospects for internships, employment and graduate school.
According to U.S. News and World Report, falling below a 2.0 GPA can come with consequences as dire as academic probation or even suspension from college. It can be easy to fall into an academic slump, so you need to take action as soon as you start to slip.
Here are some simple steps that have been shown to help students improve their grades and reach their full potential. While every student is different, implementing these tips can help you set yourself up for success.
1.) Don’t be afraid to ask your professors for help
Asking questions during class can seem intimidating, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid asking them altogether. If you’re feeling self-conscious about speaking up in class, make an appointment to speak with your professors one-on-one, or visit them during office hours. Your professors are a resource and they want to see you succeed. There is no harm in reaching out to them if you need clarity on a topic or help with an upcoming assignment. That’s what they are there for!
2.) Attend study sessions or join a study group
Some professors hold study sessions right before a major exam or project so students can get personalized help if they need it. It can be beneficial to attend these sessions, even if you don’t think you need help. You might uncover some gaps in your knowledge, or learn a new study technique you can use in the future. Some professors even offer a few points of extra credit for students who attend, which can be a huge grade booster.
Joining a study group with other students in your class also has its advantages. Meeting regularly with your classmates can help you prepare for exams, fill in any missing details in your notes, and build a support system you can go to when your professor is not immediately available.
3.) Attend ALL of your classes
Regular attendance is crucial. While many college professors stop taking attendance after the first couple of weeks, you should make an effort to attend every class. Skipping class means you could miss important lecture material that will appear on a test down the road, or you could get a zero on a pop quiz that will affect your grade.
If you know that you will not be able to attend class, be proactive and reach out to your professor to find out what you will miss. Ask to borrow notes from a classmate, and make sure that you do all your readings and assignments so that you are not behind the next time your class meets.
4.) Try sitting near the front of the classroom
Where you choose to sit can affect your concentration and productivity. If you know that you have a difficult time focusing during class, try sitting closer to the front of the classroom. You will find it easier to keep yourself on track and be attentive during a lecture.
5.) Research and develop good note-taking habits
While note-taking can be tedious and hard work at times, it truly is critical to succeeding in your classes. If you haven’t found a note-taking style that works for you, explore other options. Many college students like the Cornell method because the three-column system is especially helpful for studying.
Some people don’t care for the Cornell style and that’s okay – there are others. Pinterest can actually be a helpful resource for discovering new note-taking methods. Simply enter "Study Tip" in the search bar and thousands of images will appear, showing different ways that others have chosen to take their notes. Some of the ideas are extremely creative and can serve as positive inspiration if you are bored of more traditional styles. Just be careful not to create additional work for yourself by adopting an unnecessarily elaborate method.
6.) Sleep is important
Better sleep habits can also help you be more successful. As a college student, it can be easy to sacrifice sleep in order to get an assignment done. This is not a healthy habit to get into, as it can quickly wear you down. Getting enough sleep at night will make you feel much more refreshed and ready to take on the next day. It can also help with focus, decreased stress, and a stronger immune system.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, college students should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Check out our tips for getting a full night’s rest and morning routines to jumpstart a productive day.
7.) Dedicate the time to studying and doing homework
The most important thing you can do to maintain a high GPA is to complete your assignments on time and study regularly. If you dedicate the time and energy to finishing your assignments, you will be in a much better place when it comes time for an exam. Check out these time management tips to help you stay on track academically
. As important as your academic success is, you should not stress over having a perfect GPA. As long as you are committed to your education and are taking the necessary steps to do your best, you are on the right track. If you hit some bumps in the road along the way, it’s ok. It’s all part of the learning process, and you will be wiser and stronger because of it!