A high grade point average in college offers many benefits both during school and after graduation. A higher GPA increases your chances of getting into graduate school, securing a higher-paying job and winning scholarships. Since your grade point average is a numerical representation of your course letter grades, the fastest way to increase your GPA is to improve your performance in class. Strategies for raising a lackluster GPA range from better study habits to more efficient time management.
Request a copy of your grades for your entire college career so far. Review your current GPA and the grades in individual courses. Identify the low grades that are likely dragging down your GPA.
Decide if you want to retake the courses in which you earned poor grades. At most schools, the new grade replaces the original grade when you retake courses. Consult with your academic adviser to determine how your college handles retaking a class, as well as whether or not he advises this move. You could raise your GPA, assuming you earn a significantly higher grade, but you also extend how long it takes to finish your degree.
Register carefully for classes and research the professors who teach them. Ask former students about the professors. Some colleges post each class's grade distribution; see if you can get your hands on such information to determine the difficulty of courses.
Balance your course load. Don't take too many hard classes in one semester, and avoid taking more than the recommended load. If you take all of your challenging courses at once, you won't have enough study time to dedicate to each class, potentially lowering your scores in all of your classes and bringing down your GPA.
Consider registering for classes as pass/fail so your GPA won't suffer. Contact your adviser to determine the cutoff date for deciding if you take a class on a pass/fail basis. You usually have at least a few weeks into the semester to make a change.
Drop classes that you think you will fail. Ask about the cutoff date for dropping classes. Although you will get a "W" notation on your transcript, W's look a lot better than D's or F's. Speak with the professor before dropping the class. Some professors offer extra credit, paper rewrites and even test do-overs to help their students pass. No professor wants a student to fail.
Attend all of your classes regularly so you don't miss out on important information, discussions and pop quizzes. Take notes and participate actively in the class to better understand the subject. Complete all of your assignments so you don't miss out on any points toward your semester grade. Those assignments also give you practice on the material so you are better prepared for tests.
Re-evaluate your study habits and determine if there's room for improvement. Try studying for about 45 minutes at a time before taking a break. Organize a study group, review your notes after each class or look into campus tutoring. Improved study habits allow you to score higher on tests and assignments for a higher overall grade.
Improve your test-taking skills. Scan the whole exam before you begin. Answer easier questions first before moving on to more challenging parts. Improved test taking means higher scores and a better GPA.
Attend summer school. Summer classes tend to be less strenuous than fall and spring classes. You may find you'll be more relaxed and have more time to study for classes. A summer course may also have a smaller enrollment so you get more one-on-one time with the instructor that could help you succeed.
- Look at your professors as friends rather than adversaries.
- Speak with a dean who helps struggling students.
- Never be afraid to ask for help.
- If you retake a class and do worse, both grades remain on your transcript. So do better the second time.
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