A GPA is important to many people for many different reasons. Some people want to impress their friends and family with a high GPA while others may want a high GPA for post-graduate job opportunities. A GPA is like your reputation, it is very hard to earn and very easy to lose. Early on, your GPA will be very volatile (can change quickly), so it is important to be locked in early on.
Some students who may be new to college do not understand this. They may be more concerned with other aspects of college rather than focusing on their grades. They may not have the best study habits in place or might not be used to living away from home for the first time, which could cause their grades to slip. Regardless of the reason, their GPA is in the toilet and they need to find a way to raise it. Have no fear, there are many different ways to raise your GPA, especially if it is still early on.
College is a different animal when compared to high school. In college, the ability to multi-task, keep track of due dates, and time management are very important. Throughout this article we will examine different aspects of the GPA and how to raise your GPA.
How to Raise GPA – Short Term
When it comes to raising your GPA, there are some strategies that can be applied in the short term and long term. Lets take a look at some short term strategies that can help raise your GPA throughout the semester.
Go to Class
It is amazing how many students skip classes on a college campus. Student pay all this money and don’t attend their classes. Students miss out on so much material when they skip classes.
Attending class will help you get a better feel for the material and keep you engaged in the class. Most professors have some sort of attendance or participation policy so its important to earn these free points just by showing up and raising your hand once or twice.
Some professors post their slides online, so students think they don’t have to show up anymore. Most of the time, professors will add notes to the slides during class and you will miss out on extra notes.
A big part of college is being able to keep track of due dates and stay on top of things. This takes some adjustment for newer students. Get a planner, jot down all of your due dates for the next couple of weeks and keep it updated. You would be amazed how much a planner can help students stay on track.
Time management is an important skill to master before graduating college. Many employers will be looking for people with time management skills.
Set a schedule and follow it. Pick certain dates and times that you are going to study and do homework. Pick a time to work out. Pick which nights you want to go out with friends. Obviously, things change and you may want to grab dinner and drinks on a Wednesday night, but try to stick to the schedule as best as possible.
Find Your Study Style
Figure out the best and most efficient way to study. For some people, they may lock themselves in their room and read over their notes for hours. For others, they might like to study with a friend and review flashcards. There are many different ways to study, find out which way works best for you! The earlier you figure this out, the more time you will save.
Some professors incorporate participation into their final grades. If your professor does this, it is super important that you participate. Even if your professor doesn’t take a participation grade, participating will help you pay attention in class and better understand the material. Professors pay attention to who participates in class and may be more willing to help those students.
Talk with Your Professors
You may think that your professors are out to get you, trust me, they aren’t. Most professors will go out of their way to help you succeed in their class. If you put forth the effort, and they can see that you are trying in their class, they will try to help you any way they can.
Utilize your School’s Resources
Any school you go to will have NUMEROUS resources available to assist you. The library is a great place to start. Do some research and see what your school has to offer to assist you.
Some schools have career management resources (help you find jobs, mock interviews, etc…), free tutoring services, and professors with office hours. Some schools offer organized group study sessions at nighttime which are usually led by an older student who has already taken the course. These sessions are great because you are getting tutored by someone who has already succeeded in the class.
College is supposed to be fun. Don’t stress over grades too much. Your professors want you to succeed and will help you do that. Study hard, put in the time, and enjoy college!
*If you are struggling, it is important to ask for help early on in the semester. A professor can do a lot more to help you towards the beginning of the semester versus the end of the semester.
Long-Term GPA Boosting
So now you know how to raise your GPA in the short term, lets look at some different methods for raising it in the long term. Your cumulative GPA is your “running total” of all courses taken previously. It is harder to raise your cumulative GPA as the number of classes you take goes up. However, there are a couple of different steps that can be taken to help your cumulative GPA.
Retake a Class
The best way to raise your cumulative GPA is by retaking a class that you received a poor grade in. A lot of schools will allow you to retake a course once or twice. This is a nice perk because your school (usually) will let you replace your poor grade with the new grade you get in the class.
This is an instant GPA booster. If you received a D in the course the first time, then got a B+ the second time around, you are replacing a D with a B+ on your cumulative GPA. Keep in mind this won’t count towards adding more credits towards your degree because you are taking the same class again. With that in mind, some students may opt to retake a course in a summer semester when they are less busy so they can still graduate on time.
If you have decided on a major and know which courses you need to take to graduate, this step is easy. Plan which courses to take and when to take them. Try not to stack up all your hard courses in the same semester.
Most colleges will make undergraduate students take electives. Add some “easier” electives to your semester if you know that you have some challenging major courses. Also consider adding an online class to help ease up your schedule and give you more time for the challenging courses.
Talk to other people in your major and find out which classes are challenging. Talk to them about how they set up their schedules and how that worked for them. The best advice you can get is from other students who have gone through the gauntlet already.
Finding the Right Professors
Sometimes the difference between getting an A or a C in a class in the professor. Let’s be honest, some professors are awesome and teach a great class, while others run a bootcamp and half the class fails. Talk to other students and friends to see which professors you should take and which professors you should avoid.
If it comes down to picking between a class time or a desired professor, always pick the professor. It will make your life so much easier. Even if you have to get up at 9:00am three times a week, do it! Another great resource is Rate My Professors. This website allows students to rate their professors based on different criteria. Students select which course they took with that professor and can also leave comments about them.
Some schools will allow students to take some of their courses under the pass/fail option. This means that students will not receive a letter grade on their transcript. The student will either pass the course and receive credit or fail the course and receive no credit.
A lot of times, this option will only be available for courses that do not go towards the student’s degree. The pass/fail option is a great idea for students who want to take a course on something they are interested in but do not want to worry about it hurting their GPA. The pass/fail option is used to encourage students to take courses outside their majors.