Getting your GPA up in college

college student working with tutor to improve her GPA

Photo credit: Victoria Bankowski

High school was a simpler time; you take a few honors and AP classes and you never worry about your GPA falling below a 3.9. But now, it’s college, and within your first semester, you’ve earned two B’s, which in your mind is still good, until you look down at your GPA calculation and find that it’s already at a 3.4. Just because you are in college doesn’t mean your GPA doesn’t matter anymore. In fact, it’s even more important as scholarship donors, graduate school admissions, and even employers look toward your GPA as a gauge for your academic potential. No need to panic, however, because you’re GPA is still redeemable and with a little bit of effort and these tips you will be in good shape.

The biggest mistake I see college students make is to have the “freshman experience,” which is everything they ever saw in any college movie (which excludes studying) crammed into their freshman year of college. What they don’t show in the movies is how those students pay for that “experience” with their GPA. Try your best not to fall victim to the craziness, thus losing your balance. You can have fun, but don’t let it be at the expense of your grades. Therefore, while it might be a challenge to find time to study in between the rush events and extracurricular activities on campus, make sure you still have your priorities set.

GPA’s –  Grade Point Averages, are averages. That means as time goes on, and the number in the denominator gets bigger so will the average, given that the number in the numerator doesn’t decline at the same rate… Moral of the story – don’t lose hope! Your classes will become more challenging as you go along, but don’t let that scare you because your average will eventually increase, or at least not decline anymore as long as you strive to meet your goals.

When you are taking a class, and you realize that the course content is difficult for you to understand, there are several options. First, I recommend tutoring. Try to go as early in the semester as you can, especially if you know a certain subject will prove to be difficult for you. For example, Macroeconomics was a challenge for me, so when I enrolled in microeconomics the following semester, I asked my professor on the first day of classes to recommend a tutor because I knew I was going to need it! Course material that builds on previous knowledge, such as any math-type of classes are crucial to having a strong foundation, so definitely don’t wait till the end to hit the panic button.

Another option I wanted to make you aware of that several students find helpful is to drop the class. There are deadlines on your academic calendar which tell you when you can drop classes and receive a certain refund. There’s also a deadline when you can drop the class and not receive an incomplete grade. This deadline is usually only a few weeks before finals. Therefore, if you get to that point and know there is no way to redeem yourself, you can drop the class. I’ve talked to several students who felt like dropping a class was their best option given the circumstances, and if that is you I highly encourage you to look into why you took that class in the first place. Was it because that was a core requirement for your major – if so, please know you will have to take that class again at some point in time. However, if it was one class within a cluster to choose from and you feel like you would have a better shot at an alternative, then go for it.

GPA’s are not hopeless in college. Evaluating your study tactics can easily put you at a higher success rate for future classes. Get off to a good start, don’t be afraid to go to tutoring, and consider your options when realizing classes are difficult for you to comprehend, and you will be on the track for a better GPA!

Jessica Albright

Jessica Albright

Jessica is a junior at Missouri State University majoring in Marketing with a minor in International Management. She will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in December 2016, and is accepted to an accelerated Masters of Business Administration program to complete her MBA the following year. Jessica is member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society,  Ad Club, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Fraternity.