Making the dean's list is an academic honor within your university community that can also lead to career and education opportunities in the future. At the end of each semester, the dean's list publishes the names of students who have achieved a specific grade-point average while taking a full course load. To make the list, you need to maintain a good academic work ethic, build relationships with your professors and utilize university resources.
Know the Requirements
Being aware of the GPA and course load requirements for your college's dean's list can allow you to better plan for the coming semester. At some universities, such as Cornell, the required GPA depends on the amount of credits a student takes; a person taking 12 credits, for example, must make a 3.9, while someone taking 17 credits needs a 3.6. By contrast, Rutgers has a uniform requirement of a 3.5 GPA and a course load of at least 12 credits. As you schedule for classes, make sure you're taking the required amount of credits to qualify. You should also look over your schedule to determine which classes will be most challenging and require more study time.
Manage Your Time Wisely
While juggling your social life with academic responsibilities can be challenging, having a smart study schedule is a must for scoring a dean's list GPA. In an interview posted on the school's website, dean's list students at West Coast University cited effective time management as the key to their achievements, including prioritizing their assignments and maintaining a consistent study schedule. Try using your course syllabi as tools for organization and recording important due dates, lectures and exams in a calendar or planner. This can allow you to leave plenty of time to prepare for exams and paper deadlines, preventing last-minute efforts that often result in lower quality work.
Get Your Professors on Board
Your instructors may be the ones grading your papers and tests, but they're also there to serve as important resources for meeting your goals. Students who communicate with their professors regularly tend to have higher GPAs, states the Office of Transitions and First Year Programs at East Carolina University. At the beginning of the semester, meet with your professors to discuss your academic aspirations and ask for tips on how to succeed in their classes. Visiting them during their office hours provides opportunities to ask questions about what you're studying, discuss upcoming assignments and follow up on your course evaluations.
Get Help If You Need It
If you find yourself falling short of your dean's list GPA goal in one of your classes, take time immediately to figure out why you're struggling rather than waiting until it's too late in the semester to make a change. If you don't do as well as you hoped on a project or exam, review the requirements to see where you need to improve. Taking advantage of tutoring opportunities can also help you get extra instruction and practice. Many colleges and universities have on-campus labs for various disciplines where free tutoring is provided. Colleges also contract with online tutoring companies to provide free services to their students.
- Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences: Dean's List Requirements
- Rutgers University Office of Academic Services: Dean's List
- West Coast University: Academic Achievers Share Tips for Making the Dean's List
- East Carolina University Office of Student Transitions and First Year Programs: The Importance of the First Year
- Dean's List: 11 Habits of Highly Successful College Students; John B. Bader
- James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images