This upcoming week, students will begin filing back into classrooms on college campuses all over the country. Most of these students are no strangers to the college classroom. While these students are mostly seniors, juniors, and sophomores who all know what to expect this school year, there are still millions of entering freshmen who are not prepared for the differences between high school and college.
Whether you are a new student or a continuing student, going to a community college, a state college, a top university, or a private school, below we have some basic tips that will help you start and finish each school term strong to earn yourself a high grade point average.
First and foremost, do not just sign up for whatever classes you feel like. You need to make sure that not only are you interested in the classes, but that they are beneficial for your education and will help you progress towards graduation and your degree. Students at community colleges will be presented with numerous class options that are not transferable to four-year schools. They will also be presented with classes that are only transferable to state schools, but not universities or private schools and vice versa.
Before you take any classes just because they sound fun, make sure they are right for your educational goals. Also make sure that they are at your level. Do not make the mistake of signing up for advanced courses that you are not prepared for or taking too many similar courses at once, such as taking three science classes the same term.
And of course, time your classes properly. If you are not a morning person, avoid the 8am classes. Make sure your classes are spaced out to fit your preferences. Some people prefer to take classes back-to-back and/or to take all their classes in just 2 or 3 days. Others prefer breaks between classes and to not take more than 2 classes per day. Figure out what is best for you.
Being on time goes a long way. If you are often late to class, professors will begin to notice and may even take offense to the distraction of students entering class mid-lecture. If a professor notices you often enough, it may lose you the benefit of the doubt on points on tests and papers. If a teacher sees you as someone who is not capable of making it to class on time, they may not take errors on your papers and exams as minor oversights and would instead mark you down. And of course, even if you are just five minutes late, you never know what important announcements you may have missed or notes that may show up on the test.
Keep an Eye on the Syllabus
Possibly the worst thing that could happen to a college student is showing up to class and not knowing it is a test day or that a paper is due. Keep the syllabus you get in each course in an easy to locate place, such as your binder. It is the one document you get in a class that is basically a guideline of how to pass the class. It will include reading dates, test dates, paper due dates, the professor’s office hours, and other information about the course that is beneficial to you passing it. Paying attention to your syllabus could save you a lot of stress and time in not worrying about questions that were answered on the piece of paper handed out day one of class.
There are a lot of things you need to do to make sure you do well in college. Most of these things are not difficult by any means. These tips require you to simply be organized and put thought into your actions. In part 2, we will discuss more tips that will further your chances of getting that high GPA that may be your ticket to a top transfer school, grad school, med school, or law school. College is a time of hard work and a lot of pressure to start your adult life on the right track. With our basic tips, you can make college just a little bit easier on yourself.