Grades Got You Down? Here’s 5 Ways To Raise Your GPA!

The first semester of college can be overwhelming. New friends, wild parties and tough classes can make buckling down difficult.

So, your first-semester GPA might not be exactly what you wanted or what you were used to in high school. That doesn’t mean that every semester’s GPA has to be the same as this one’s.

You can raise your GPA. You have seven semesters (ideally) of college left, so you can rescue that 2.5 GPA and turn it into a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Or turn a 3.0 into a 3.5.

You just have to learn from your mistakes:

  • Figure out what study habits helped or hurt;
  • Stop partying so much;
  • Don’t schedule yourself to take all the hardest classes, all early in the morning, just to prove that you can.

My Experience

When I got to college, I wanted to have the most fun I could while still coasting to a 4.0 — just like high school.

So I joined a fraternity, went out a lot and thought it was completely acceptable to skip 10 consecutive Psychology 100 classes because they were at 8 a.m.

Pledging at my fraternity took up a lot of my time, and I was used to being able to do minimal studying while still getting excellent grades.

When I got my first-semester grades, I realized it was time for a change. My grades weren’t bad. Despite missing those 10 consecutive classes, I had buckled down and studied 17 hours for my Psych exam, so I managed a B in the class.

I had a 3.4 GPA, which some of my pledge brothers in my fraternity would have been ecstatic about, but I’m very competitive about my grades so I knew I needed to make a change in order to raise my GPA.

Change wasn’t easy…

I had to realize that I could say, “No,” to going out when my friends asked me. School work has to always come first.

I also had to realize that college courses aren’t high school courses. You need to study.

Also, you need to go to class.

Once I made school my top priority — as it should be, my semester GPA improved each of the next three semester, and, thus, my cumulative GPA mirrored that improvement.

This past semester, my GPA just about matched my previous semester’s GPA.

5 Ways You Can Raise Your GPA

So how do you copy my success? (I hope I’m not coming off as a bragger.)

  • 1. Make school your top priority.

You are at college to study, after all. It can seem like your friends are partying or doing something fun every night while you’re wasting away in the library, but it’s not true. If it is true, then find new friends quickly because your friends are probably going to be heading home and to community college once their parents see that they’re failing.

  • 2. Don’t skip class.

You’d be amazed how much professors give away about their exams during class. Plus, professors are much more willing to help the students that they recognize from class.

  • 3. Rethink your study habits.

I used to do the bare minimum amount of homework every night. Now, I start my studying every Sunday by looking at what is assigned for the week.

Then I try to do all of my homework for the week on Sunday. What else do you have to do on Sunday? Sleep?

Think of all the extra sleep you can get during the week, when you’d normally be stressing out doing homework, if you finished all your homework early.

Also, this way, you figure out if you don’t understand something, and you can actually ask about it in class.

And if your friends suddenly decide to do something fun during the week, you’ll have more free time. Buckling down does not have to mean not having any fun.

  • 4. Schedule smart.

After my first semester, I never again scheduled myself for an 8 a.m. class. Some people can handle morning classes, but I’m not one of them.

Don’t cram all your tough, required classes into one semester; spread them out. General education courses don’t have to be hard. There are tons to choose from, so make it easier on yourself.

  • 5. Don’t stress too much.

You can over-think things. Make sure you do have some time for freedom. I like to run and work out for a couple hours every day because it let’s me wind down and forget about school for a but while still being productive in a different way.

If all you do is sit around and study or think about studying, you’re going to freak yourself out. You’ll become one of those people that are constantly saying stuff like,

“No, you don’t get it. I have so much homework all the time. I never get to do anything fun.”

Those people are annoying. I’ve said this before, but college is all about balance…

Tons of college students either party too much or study (or stress) too much — either way, they put on the freshman 15 and then some.

Put yourself in the middle.

Get all your work done in a timely manner, and you can still have fun. You just have to find a formula that works for you.

All of this can sound like a giant cliché, but I’m speaking from experience. You can raise your GPA!

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John Edwards

John Edwards

John Edwards is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is pursuing a journalism degree. Currently studying abroad in Rome, he can usually be found hanging out and studying at his fraternity. He also enjoys running and spending time with family and friends.
John Edwards

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