In high school, your grade-point average can have a significant impact on your chances of getting into the college you want. In college, your GPA can have a big influence on your job prospects. If your GPA is flagging, you have more options than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. You can take action to significantly improve your GPA, even if you have only a semester to go before graduation.

Sign Up for AP or Honors Courses

Some schools give students a weighted grade in an Advanced Placement or honors course. For example, an A would get a 5.0 instead of a 4.0. Students who sign up for these classes and perform well can get a little "extra credit" for their GPA. Even students who have an average performance, such as a B or C, can get credit for a higher grade. High-school students can sign up for AP or honors courses, and college students can sign up for honors courses. Before taking these courses, students should be sure they are committed to success and are able to handle the work expected in these courses. Otherwise, they could get a lower grade and make things worse for their GPA.

Ask for Extra Credit Opportunities

Some teachers and professors are sympathetic to poor grades. They understand how a low GPA can impact students, and many are willing to work with students to raise their grades. Students who are not performing well in class should ask their teachers or professors for opportunities for extra credit work. This may include writing an additional research paper or making a presentation to the class. Teachers may offer additional points on the final grade, or they may offer to include the grade on the extra-credit project with the other grades that are averaged together for the final GPA.

Retake a Class or Get Grade Forgiveness

In some cases, students who performed poorly in a class -- usually with a grade of D or F -- may be able to retake the class or ask to have the grade removed from their transcript through grade forgiveness. For example, at Shenandoah County Schools in Virginia, students can re-take up to three courses in high school for a new grade. The old grade is replaced -- even if the new grade is lower. At San Diego State University, students can repeat up to 28 units if they received a grade of C or lower in a previous course. Both the old and new grades are calculated in the GPA, but if students improve their grade, it can raise their GPA significantly. At Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama, students must retake a course to get grade forgiveness. The second grade earned will be used in the GPA, while the first will be forgiven. Students should look into the policy available at their school to determine if courses can be retaken or grades forgiven.

Develop Successful Study Habits

Even if students have less than one year left to graduate, developing effective study habits can help them to improve their grades significantly, which can improve their GPA. Students can improve their retention and reduce the time it takes to study by attending every class and paying attention in class. This can help them learn the information more easily, rather than trying to cram for exams later. Finishing all homework can also help students to learn the material more easily and to improve grades. Developing a note-taking system, scheduling study time for each day, joining a study group and working with a tutor can all help students to master the material and improve grades.

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