Every student strives for a 4.0 GPA but why do so many find it so hard to achieve? If you look around campus you can find comfort in knowing that the stress of succeeding is not limited to yourself. Thousands of students face the grueling nature of exams and assignments, all with the realization that their GPA will have a meaningful impact on their ability to land a job.
Don't fret, being concerned about your GPA is normal. It means you care about your future and you're responsible.
Your GPA is no doubt a reasonable indicator of how you handle workloads and adapt in a competitive environment. But it can also act as a self-improvement metric, painting a clear picture of where you need to improve.
Thankfully, there are many tools that can help you get better grades outside the classroom. But what measurable steps can you take to move the needle today, in the classroom?
We all know how this goes. You get to class on your first day with fresh notebooks and fancy organizational systems and suddenly as the weeks go by, your notes look more like a coloring book and your brilliantly categorized accordion folder is nothing more than a stack of disconnected papers. So what do you do?
Instead, getting ahead of your classwork is the great way to reconnect with your courses and gain a sense of control. But the devil is in the details.
Read the text book before each lecture. Reading prior to class is a great way to retain information. Also, if you have access to lecture slides, give those a quick read as well. It will better prepare you to absorb new concepts so you can ask meaningful questions. Another great practice is to perform problem sets on your free time. Similar to physical fitness, performing exercises to the point of failure makes you stronger. So regardless of your proficiency, taking a stab at a problem will open your mind to your areas of weakness and make you stronger in the long run. Finally, prepare a list of questions that you have so you cover all your bases. Getting a handle on what you don't know is a sure-fire way to improve.
Outlines are a great stay organized and retain information. Study's show that outlines help you retain more information too. Effective outlines will cover every area of your text and should be supplemented by your class notes so everything that you might be tested on is covered. Creating good outlines is not only a strong practice but will help you feel more grounded and in control of your destiny.
When class is over reach out to your professor to find out his/her office hours. This time is some of the most valuable and can help you answer any questions you need tailored help for. Because they are so underutilized, these hours also help you build a relationship with a professor and give you an inside track to more information you might not have gotten in the classroom.
Finding like-minded students to study with is a great way to reinforce your course knowledge. Its also a great way to find out if you missed any key concepts expected on your exams. So be sure not to rule them out. Study groups can also help you meet new friends, which is one the most rewarding parts of college. Don't neglect them.
College is a place that prepares you for the highly competitive, capitalist, world that awaits you after graduation. Finding students who set the academic bar and striving to outperform them is great practice for life after college. While you may not always reach them, setting ambitious goals will help you get closer to achieving them.
Embrace it. Own it. Win it.
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