9 Tips for Reaching a 4.0 as a College Freshman

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When you head off to college, you know that you’re leaving behind family and friends. But you’re also going to need to leave behind all the habits and distractions that can keep you from maxing out your GPA. While your high school grades were important, your college grades can literally affect the rest of your adult life. The following nine tips will help you to achieve the highest grades you possibly can while still having some sort of social life.

  1. Establish a realistic schedule based on each of your course syllabuses: On the first day of class, you’ll be provided with all the due dates for every assignment and test in each course. Your instructors are laying it all out in front of you, so there are no surprises. Use these pre-planned syllabi to draft up your own schedule that also includes time for recreation and social activities.  

 

  1. Build relationships with your professors: In college, class sizes will be much larger so getting your teachers to notice you (for the right reasons) can be difficult. Ways to make a good impression include class participation, attending office hours, and reaching out via email for clarification or assistance when needed. Another good practice is to ask your instructors to review early drafts of your assignments to ensure they meet the requirements. This can get you on their radar and their good side.

 

  1. Make friends in each of your classes: While this might sound purely social, there’s a reason you want to have a friend or two in each class. Not only will they make great sounding boards when you’re in need of someone to bounce your ideas off for assignments, but they make excellent study partners as well.

 

  1. Aim for the best grade possible by using the rubrics: Along with your course syllabus, each instructor will provide grading rubrics for every assignment. These rubrics spell out exactly what you need to do to get the highest grades. Your professors are basically handing you the keys to the castle – use them to your advantage.

 

  1. Study for EVERY. SINGLE. TEST: In high school, you might’ve been able to skate by and pass some of your tests without a lot of effort. Let it be known; however, that college is A LOT more demanding, and your teachers are a lot less understanding. With your class syllabi and the schedule you made up yourself, you can block out plenty of time for studying for each test and exam in every class. FYI, cramming does not constitute studying.

 

  1. Use your textbooks where applicable: In some classes, certain text books are mandatory, but the teacher won’t actually use them when teaching. But for those classes with instructors who do use them, it’s essential you cover all the directed material when studying. In many instances, these textbooks are where a good majority of the test questions and written assignment material will come from.

 

  1. Maintain your focus: Remember that schedule you drafted up? Treat it like your academic life depends on it. Because it does. You need to resist distractions and temptations if you want to achieve that 4.0 and sticking to your schedule will keep you on track.

 

  1. Submit assignments early: That’s right, be proactive and turn your assignments in ahead of time. That way, you have one less thing looming over your head each time you make a submission. Also, sometimes professors will review an early assignment and provide feedback to enhance your work (and grade), and you’ll still have time to finish the revisions before the actual project due date.

9. Do your absolute best work early in the semester: Showing your professors that you’re a go-getter early on can earn you kudos in their eyes, and maybe just a little leniency if you lag behind a bit later on in the course. It’s also super important to work hard early on so that you don’t fall behind on assignments at the beginning of a new class. Catching up on missed assignments is notoriously difficult in college because of the hefty amount of course work for each class.  

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