How to Fix a Low GPA

A low GPA can hurt your chances for college admission.

Having a high GPA is essential to academic success. A high GPA helps with scholarships, as well as college and graduate-school admission. In addition, the effort and discipline necessary to attain high grades will form habits that will serve you well throughout your life. If you have a low GPA, understand that raising it will benefit you for years to come. You need to cultivate study skills that will set you on the path to success.

Try to assess what you're doing wrong, or what you could do better. Do you understand the material? Are you going to all your classes? Are you studying as much as you should? Are you completing your assignments on time? Before you can come up with a plan of action, you need to understand the problem.

Ask your teacher for advice on improving your grades. Be open to completing make-up work for extra credit. If your teacher offers advice about how to improve your study habits, classroom behavior or test-taking techniques, you would be wise to follow it.

Get second opinions. When you complete assigned work, ask a mentor, adviser, parent or a peer who has exceptional grades, to read over your work before you turn it in. They may be able to identify issues that you can correct. This will require completing your coursework in advance so you'll have time to make revisions that they suggest.

Compare notes. Meet students outside of class and review their notes. This is a good way to identify any information you might have missed, or perhaps have misunderstood without realizing it. Join a study group so your peers can help you with any concepts you're having trouble with.

Take advantage of your school's resources. Most schools offer tutoring services and assistance with essays and research papers. Your school might also offer assistance with acclimating to the curriculum and managing your time.

Use your teacher's office hours. Make a habit of discussing course subjects with your teacher or professor. Most teachers and professors are interested in their subjects and want to see their students do well, and they may be able to help you relate to the material in a new way. Ask your teacher what points you should study for upcoming tests and quizzes.

Work harder! Low GPAs are typically earned by students who aren't putting enough time into their school work. Whatever your study time is, increase it. Tell yourself you won't participate in social or extracurricular activities until your school work is done. Improve the quality of your study time by working in a quiet place without distractions such as loud music, frivolous Internet use and television.

Prioritize your study. Resist the temptation to work on things that you find easy or enjoyable first, while leaving the most difficult or boring work to last. If you are struggling with a subject or assignment, prioritize it and work on it first. That way, you will be able to work on it while you are still fresh and under less pressure. You will also have extra time if you run into issues, which is more likely with difficult work. When you are done, you will have the satisfaction of having beaten that challenge -- and you will know that the remaining work is easier and more enjoyable.

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.