Getting good grades in college shapes the path to your future professional career!
Do you find yourself struggling to get good grades in your college?
If so, then it is time to make changes to improve your academic performance.
This article is a guide on tips for being a successful college student. We will first introduce the benefits of good grades, how grades can impact your future career, and share some recommendations on how to do well in college.
By the end of this article, you should be ready to commit to changing your current habits to our strategies so that you can become a more successful college student.
Why is Getting Good Grades in College Important?
Getting good grades in college is important because grades will ultimately shape your next steps leading to your future, including careers and academia.
Depending on your ultimate career goals and plans, getting good grades will almost always be relevant for your path.
For instance, those attending community college will need good grades in college in order to attend a university-level institution. Students who are interested in medical school need good grades in college to enter into medical school.
What are the Biggest Benefits of Good Grades in University?
Now, some of the biggest benefits of good grades in a university are related to funding, professional degrees, and opening other opportunities.
Let’s go into more detail below.
Good grades are important for funding. If you do a quick scan of scholarships available to college students, you will notice that most of them have a requirement for an average to above average grade-point average. So, if you like receiving grants, scholarships, and other forms of free money to support your college experience, then good grades are critical.
While lot of factors are considered when you apply to graduate school; your grades carry more weight in your graduate school application. This includes applications for medical schools or other professional degrees.
Good grades, in this context, demonstrate your capacity to handle difficult coursework and responsibilities. Not getting good grades indicate that you are unlikely to handle challenging curriculums. So, if this is your end goal, you’ll want to start prioritizing your academic performance sooner than later.
Outside of scholarships and professional degrees, getting good grades in college is important to open other opportunities that you may not necessarily be aware of right now. Some organizations really value academic performance, so you might run into an internship or other network that requires the submission of your transcripts.
How to Get Good Grades in College: 5 Tips from Our Experiences & Student Forums
1. Complete all your assignments and readings
Tips for being a successful college student include actually doing the work! Attend all your classes, complete the assignments and assigned readings for class. Take in as much as you can about your courses.
You can also be an active participant in class. If you don’t like participating in class because the material is challenging, there are plenty of external resources, such as reading strategies, that will help you recall the readings better so that you can contribute meaningful class discussions.
2. Take up any extra credit!
In addition to the class assignment and readings, we also recommend that you take up some of the extra credit, if your cognitive load isn’t too overwhelming. Extra credit will certainly raise up your score and help you out if you underperform in one of the three exams for a class.
3. Review your class materials early
Many former students reached out to their instructors before classes started to review the syllabus and prepare their book orders. If you don’t have this option available, just make sure to review all materials as early as possible.
Read your syllabus at least three times to make sure you’ve noted all the expectations of the class, the number of exams, any additional upcoming projects, policies for make-up exams, classroom policies, and any other details that you should be made aware of in preparation for the course.
Reviewing these will give you the upper hand in preparation and in performance. You will know what is expected from students both academically and professionally.
4. Use your class rubric
In college, instructors are typically required to provide a rubric that explains what the assignment includes and exactly how assignment will be graded. Most times, these are classes that have writing assignments, discussion posts, presentations, or class projects.
A grading rubric will tell you what the assignment should include, along with a score attributed to each section. One good tip is to follow that rubric exactly as it is described. At the very least, you will meet all of the minimal expectations that were required for the assignment.
Some students have shared experiences of having a very difficult time trying to figure out what they were doing wrong in class assignments that kept receiving low grades. In retrospect, students stated that the problem was not following the rubric, which detailed very specific, basic components required for a passing grade.
As soon as changes were made to follow the grading rubric, students saw improvements right away. Learn from this experience!
5. Use your resources
Professors and instructors are there to help! Not only will talking to your professors demonstrate how much you care about your academic performance, but it will also give them a chance to know your work ethic and commitment to the course. This can be particularly useful for letters of recommendation, as well.
Additionally, professors and instructors might know resources outside of the class that can help strengthen your knowledge and understanding of the topic being taught. For instance, many professors are likely to recommend other textbooks on foundational theories if you don’t seem to have a firm understanding on the more complex concepts.
In addition to professors and instructors, colleges will usually have a tutoring center or writing center, where you can seek additional help. Some colleges even have consultations from statisticians with costs waived for a certain number of visits. Make sure to check in with your institution to see what is available for students; usually, they have plenty of resources to support you and help you do well in college.
6. Organizing notes
How you organize your notes for courses can have a major impact on how you plan to study the material afterwards. Take notes to jot down main ideas, details to look into for further exploration of the topic, additional topics that relate to the class, or any other resources the professor directs you to review in regard to a given topic.
All these components can be overwhelming to jot down in your notes all at once, so we want to leave you with some tips on how to organize notes in a useful and effective manner to help you study the material later.
First, handwritten notes are ok, but not the best approach. Many students we know have written their notes in class by hand but will transfer these notes to an electronic version for clarity and organization. If you have access to a computer or laptop, we recommend using a Word document.
If you don’t have access to a computer, consider re-writing your notes by hand. In your revised version, make sure your notes are complete sentences, contextualize them with what you remember from the lecture and from your readings.
Second, make sure your notes make sense. More often than not, students will jot down random words that don’t seem to make sense to them after. This is also common in classes that are more rushed in the lecture.
If a lecture seems to be going quickly, we strongly encourage you to ask your professor to slow down or repeat certain aspects of the lecture. However, we also encourage you to write notes to yourself about what was being said. This way, you have some idea on what the notes were related to.
7. Be efficient with your time
This one is slightly difficult to explain if you haven’t experienced higher level coursework yet.
Let’s try to start with why it’s important to be efficient with your time.
In college, you’ll start to feel like time escapes you. You’ll find that you have no time for this and no time for that, yet you’re overwhelmed with the expectations of courses all conveniently due at the same time within a given semester.
If you’re not managing your time efficiently during college, you will sure to expect some blows to your academic performance. One of the most important tips on how to get good grades in college level coursework is to make sure you are using your time wisely.
Now what exactly does this look like?
We recommend being strategical about how you handle your tasks, assignments, and any other commitments you may have taken up in college to outshine your application for a professional degree or position.
SMART goals are an excellent way to approach a multitude of tasks, especially if you are new to time management. Using SMART goals for time management will help you specify which tasks you want to tackle on and in what amount of time. It also outlines the expected resources needed to complete that task.
So, instead of tackling a goal blindly, with SMART goals, you are well aware of what is expected to be completed, in what amount of time, and to what extent (e.g., smaller tasks toward a larger goal).
Not sure where to start with SMART goals? Here is a resource to start!
3 Study Techniques for Getting Perfect Grades
First, it’s important to realize that study techniques in college look much different than those used in high school. You will need to make sure you have adapted to your level of college coursework, considered your time commitment to these courses, leveraged your schedule to integrate volunteer time in student organizations, along with practices for self-care.
If you’re committed to getting perfect grades, then we strongly encourage you to follow these three study techniques.
1. Build in your study time into your weekly schedule
What do we mean build in your study time?
We recommend that you actually block a specific time and day to dedicate to studying and studying alone. In college, you will end up having several commitments to class lectures, homework, extracurricular activities, and your own personal time. It will be difficult to find a time to study, so you will need to make the time instead.
Here is an example of how you can build in your study time.
If you happen to have access to online resources, you can set up a google calendar to schedule your classes, personal time, and study time. Otherwise, you can certainly do this with a classic, paper agenda. Commit to this schedule on a daily basis and prioritize that day and hour to your studies.
2. Study Groups or Study Buddy
College courses can have hundreds of students at a time. Make friends with the students you attend a class with! We encourage students who attend the same class to create study groups with a committed day and time to meet to study.
If a group is not feasible, find a study buddy! With your study buddy, you will develop a system of accountability, where you are expected to commit a certain day and time to study for your exams. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of your social networks because these can be very beneficial for getting perfect grades.
If students in your class are not open to the idea of studying together, some schools have resources available to connect you with a group that you can study with or a tutor who can assist you across a variety of topics. Make sure to check in with your advisor or professor on what might be available to you!
3. Study A Little Bit Every Day
When we talk about studying a bit a day, we are essentially trying to warn you against cramming the day before an exam. This is a very bad idea because you will compromise your health and develop a study habit that isn’t actually sustainable for professional degrees or real world settings.
A more sustainable and healthy practice is to review your materials every day after class or during the time that you set to review or study your coursework. This would simply be a review of the notes you wrote down in class, a reflection on what the lesson was about, and any other questions you might have about the material.
Look up the answer to those questions to explore the concepts in more detail. Staying engaged with your course material is key to getting perfect grades in college.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Get Good Grades in College
The benefits of good grades in college are so important for your future, but can be challenging, especially if college is a new space for you as a high school student. The important thing to remember is that you can start make changes to improve your study habits and use our tips for being a successful college student.
Remember to not expect good grades only if you don’t put in the work; start using our tips today!
If you enjoyed this post, check out our other college study tips here.