Your college grade point average can be a determining factor for getting into graduate school or getting an offer for your dream job. If yours is not as high as you’d like it to be, following some easy tips, from class attendance to time management, can help you boost your overall GPA and ensure you are accurately reflecting your academic abilities.
Take Advantage of Attendance
One of the easiest ways to keep your grades higher is to attend every scheduled class meeting. Prepare for each class by completing required readings or assignments. While in class, listen attentively and take good notes, as the material presented might not be in your textbook for review later. You can also ask questions when prompted to both clarify information and to demonstrate to your instructor your engagement, as many professors include participation, through class discussion and questions, as a factor in your final course grade.
Manage Your Time Effectively
Maintaining a realistic schedule of commitments during the semester can also help you perform well academically. Enroll in a reasonable number of credits given your other obligations. For example, if you are working extra hours in a part-time job or studying for admissions exam for graduate school, you might want to adjust the number of credits in which you enroll accordingly. You can also establish a study environment and schedule to ensure you are adequately preparing for tests and assignments. You can also drop a course during the semester if you realize you have overextended yourself, provided this does not push you below minimum enrollment requirements and you are still within the add or drop window.
Maximize Your Resources
Outside of class, take full advantage of the university’s studying assistance resources. One way to do this is to visit your instructor as frequently as needed during office hours for answers to questions from class or for an upcoming assignment or exam. You can also seek out a tutor from your university’s center for teaching and learning to assist with class assignments or general trouble areas. Another option is to seek out a study skills class, offered by some universities to encourage their students' development of good academic habits.
Poor class performance, incomplete courses, or current semester struggles can also be remedied to boost your overall GPA. Most universities allow you to retake courses in which you have performed poorly in the past, typically a “D” or lower. You can then request the former low grade be replaced by the new, potentially higher grade, impacting your overall GPA beneficially. While some schools cap the number of credits you can repeat, others do not provide such a limit, but the majority of schools do limit how many times you can repeat the same course. Many professors will also offer small extra credit assignments or might be amenable to you re-doing an assignment on which you struggled, both of which can help save a current semester’s grade.
- College of Du Page: Tips for Effective Study
- Florida Atlantic University: Tips for Improving Your GPA
- North Dakota State University: Tips for Improving Your Grade Point Average
- University of Illinois Springfield: Center for Teaching and Learning
- The University of Mississippi: Forgiveness/Repeating Course Policy
- University at Buffalo: Repeat Policy
Teresa J. Siskin has been a researcher, writer and editor since 2009. She holds a doctorate in art history.