Dr. Ree Langham
June 3, 2018
Let’s face it – your college GPA can determine your future. More specifically it can determine what type of career you will have and what type of lifestyle you will be able to afford one day. I don’t want better opportunities, more money, and a fantastic job that highlights my skills, talents, and abilities – said no one ever. But, if your GPA isn’t quite where you want or need it to be, don’t worry – you can boost your GPA with the easy steps listed in this article. Whoa! Thank goodness, right? Ready to get started? Great!
Listed below are simple ways that you can boost your GPA:
The first thing you want to do to boost your GPA is choose the right courses. In other words, select courses that you think, no scratch that, you know you can successfully conquer. So, even if you have a strong desire to take a boatload of advance-level courses in areas you’ve never really excelled in – start out lower and slower. More specifically, select courses that interest you and that you do well in. Next, add in one or two courses in unfamiliar and/or difficult areas – but start at the entry-level. If you only take courses that are hard for you, you will set yourself up for failure, if you aren’t able to master them. Therefore, only take courses you can handle.
You will also need to get organized, if you want to boost your GPA. The truth is, the more organized you are, the easier it is to develop stellar study habits, get good grades, focus on your courses, strengthen your GPA, and soar to the top of your class. So, do yourself a favor and make a to-do list with the following bullet points: review syllabus weekly, complete assignments daily, get a head start on upcoming projects, and regularly categorize and review class notes. Cross off each item, as you complete it, and pay close attention to assignment due dates.
This may sound odd, but you can improve your GPA simply by getting more sleep. Sleep helps you focus better, solidifies what you are learning in class, helps you become more organized, and sharpens your memory. In fact, a recent study found that sleep deprivation is highly associated with poor academic performance.
You are probably thinking that this tip is a no-brainer – and for some it is, but for others, it bears repeating – go to class, if you want to boost your GPA. So, even if you’re just attending class in body, but your mind is somewhere else (like in bed), go to class. Why? Well, because most instructors give students points for just showing up. Oh and try to sit in the first row or at least in the 2nd one. Sitting up front will force you to pay attention because, honestly, it’s much harder to fall asleep in the front of the room than in the back. In addition, your instructor will be able to see you – and get to know your face, so when (or if) you need help and a little grade-nudging, he/she will actually know who you are. Score!
Do you normally study alone? Do you find it hard to concentrate, when studying? And, lastly, is your current study routine working for you? It is important to develop a good study routine, if you want to make good grades. The key is finding a routine that works for you. Do you study better alone or with others (i.e. group setting)? Do you learn more by listening to previous lectures, relating key concepts with past or present experiences, converting your notes into charts, graphs, and/or examples? The truth is, everyone learns and studies differently, so it’s up to you to determine what helps you remember things.
Need a little extra grade boost in one or more of your courses? Ask your instructor about extra credit. Doing well in your courses is essential to gaining and maintaining a good GPA, so it’s important to explore your options, if you see your grades slipping. Don’t wait until it’s impossible to bring up your grades. Most instructors are more than willing to pass along extra credit assignments, if you ask. Therefore, if you would like to improve your class grade, talk to your instructor in private during his/her office hours. If you are real with your instructor, the odds are in your favor that he/she will give you a chance.
If you have tried most or all of the suggestions above, and your GPA has either stalled or slipped further, consider getting a tutor. Honestly, college is hard, even when you try your best, which is why asking for help early is so important to academic success. Don’t be too embarrassed or shy to ask for help, because there are plenty of people, who want to see you succeed. The great thing about tutors is that they have more time to explain concepts to you. Moreover, they typically have more resources to help you with your classes. Investing a little time with these highly knowledgeable beings can help your GPA skyrocket. Also, remember, GPA scores can determine your career options, so make sure to consult your career adviser as well to discuss what your ideal score should be. Having a number to aim for can be a strong motivating factor, especially if you view it in terms of the potential career prospects that it could open up.
Lastly, a really good way to boost your GPA is to reward yourself. Yes, the true reward is a higher GPA. However, it doesn’t hurt to do something nice for yourself after working hard to improve your grades, right? Exactly! So, once you see improvement in your courses (i.e. an “A” on your mid-term exam), reward yourself with something that makes you happy.