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Tips on How to Improve a College GPA

written by: wryan•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 6/24/2010

This article provides tips and tricks for easily and effectively raising a college GPA. Let's examine different ways for students to learn how to improve a college GPA.

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    One's Grade Point Average, or GPA (for an explanation of what this is, follow this link) in college is very important. Not only does it often determine if students receive academic honors from college, it also impacts student's chances at admission into graduate, law, or medical school, and will frequently be looked at by employers, especially in the first few years out of college.

    So, it is important to keep your GPA high. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to let one's GPA slip, especially in the first year of school, and many students find that their GPA has become unacceptably low (to determine your GPA, try using this GPA calculator.) Luckily, all hope is not yet lost – even a low GPA can be raised.

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    What Does it Take to Raise a GPA?

    A GPA is simply the average grade a student has received in classes. By getting good grades in classes one can increase their average grade for all their classes, and thus their GPA. So, simply put, getting good grades in most of one's classes will raise one's GPA. Unfortunately, bad grades don't leave one's transcript, so even if a student gets good grades it may take a few semesters for their effects to be seen on the students GPA. To get these good grades which will raise one's GPA, there are a few simple strategies one can employ.

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    Choose Classes Wisely

    It's the simple truth that not all classes are created equal. There are some classes which students might find it impossible to do well in, no matter how hard they try, and there are some which students will be able to do exceptionally well in with very little effort. It is important that when choosing classes one makes sure not to choose too difficult a course load – it is going to be harder to get the good grades that will raise a GPA if one's classes are to0 difficult. So, making sure that the course-load is manageable is the first step to raising one's GPA.

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    Take Additional Credits

    A GPA is an average. This means each class accounts for just a portion of the total GPA – for example, if you had eight classes, then generally each class would only account for an eighth of your GPA. This means the more classes one takes, the less the grade they get in any individual class matters. If it was a bad grade in just one or two classes which brought a student's GPA down, then a good way to mitigate those classes effects is by taking an extra class or two the next semester. Because one's course-load is now larger, each class accounts for less of one's GPA, and one's GPA is harmed less by those classes one did poorly in. It is important, however, to make sure that a student doesn't end up taking too many classes and getting overwhelmed, leading to bad grades.

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    Attend Class

    This is simple, but effective. A lot of the time all that it takes to do well in class is to show up – teachers usually do a good job of presenting all the material one needs in their lectures. Showing up to class every day is a great way to make sure that one doesn't get behind or hopelessly lost.

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    Make a Dedicated Study Space

    Oftentimes, students study in their rooms. However, this isn't usually a great idea – often rooms are rife with distractions – video games, people, or televisions, which can make it hard to focus. Studying in a specific, dedicated area which is used only for studying makes it a lot easier to concentrate, and helps to ensure students are focused and stay on task the entire time they are studying.

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    Participate in Class

    Even in very large classes, there are frequently very few students who actively participate in class. Actively participating in class by asking questions and raising points is an excellent way to stay engaged with the material, and a good way to ensure that one really understands the concepts being presented. Moreover, participating in class lets the professor know who a student is, which can be helpful if a student ever has to discuss something with him.

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    Use Office Hours

    Similarly, nearly every professor or teaching assistant offers office hours where anyone can come in and meet with them, but very few people take advantage of these office hours. Individuals who come in during office hours usually get the professor's undivided attention, making it easy for them to resolve any confusion they may have.

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    Take Advantage of Academic Resources on Campus

    Most colleges offer a host of academic resources such as tutoring, study groups, and study skill workshops. Taking advantages of these services is usually free, and is immensely helpful to one's college success. Now that you know how to improve a college GPA, why not get started on the process today?