Okay so school is either already out or you’re finishing up finals within the next few weeks. For now, you’re off the hook. But thinking ahead and planning how you’re going to be successful next year doesn’t hurt. If you got out with the grades you wanted, congratulations! But so many of us college students wrap up a tough quarter or semester by saying “next time I’ll do better.” At least that’s what I did. If that’s the case with you too, here are some tips on what you can do to increase your grades next quarter or semester:
1. Go to class
This is probably the easiest way to increase your grades. Plenty of studies have been done to prove that students who regularly attend class get way better grades and it only makes sense. Some professors strictly give exams on their lectures and even if they don’t, they’re in there explaining what’s written in your textbook in ways you can understand. So rather than getting that extra hour of sleep and skipping your 9am or catching lunch with a friend instead of hitting your 1 o’clock class, get in there and retain some information. We all know how difficult it can be to teach ourselves out of a textbook. So save yourself the hassle and let the professor simplify things for you, that’s what they’re there for anyway. And if getting better grades isn’t enough of a motivator, do what one of my professors had me do last year and divide the total cost of the class by the total number of classes in the quarter or semester. Then you’ll know just how much your time is worth. That particular class was $80 per session and you can bet after figuring that out I never missed a day.
2. Actually buy the textbook
I know what you’re thinking. There’s no need for that, we’re so technologically advanced and everything is online now! Plus I’m totally helping the environment by not buying the book, right? False. The tree has already been chopped down, the book has been printed, and all of those resources necessary to get it to your university bookstore have already been used. So buy the dang thing. Having a physical textbook to hold, hilight, easily reference, and mark with notes can make all the difference. Plus, unlike your laptop, a book doesn’t die on you or crash or have technical difficulties. Call me old fashioned, but I think trying to read hundreds of pages from a computer screen is no fun at all.
3. Sit in the first five rows
Sit in the front of the class. Better yet, sit in the first five rows. If you do this, you’re much more likely to stay focused because everyone else around you is. We all know how easy it is to go sit in the back few rows and not so much as lift a finger (except to scroll through instagram of course) or take a single note all class period. But if you do that, you might as well have just stayed at home. If you put in all the effort to get to class, you might as well take advantage of your time there. So sit towards the front, participate in the lesson, and take good notes!
4. Go in to your professors office hours
That last lecture confused you? Well go in and talk to your professor to get some clarity. Not only can it be beneficial to helping you better understanding course material, but it will give your professor a face to your name. Some classes have hundreds of students and you can bet they remember the ones who make an extra effort. A simple gesture like this, if done regularly, can help you in the future. If you build a relationship with a professor and pull off a decent grade in their class, you can likely go back to them for a letter of recommendation because they will actually remember you. College is all about networking, so take advantage of the opportunities you have in front of you. Even if they are as simple as just going in to your professors office hours.