It’s finally the last semester of college and looking over my transcript I have reflected on some of the habits that I created to earn myself the GPA I currently have. Let me give you a little bit of background. I started at two different community colleges. One was close to home and the other was in Grand Rapids. I left with a 3.8 and 4.0. I transferred to Grand Valley. I maintained a 4.0 up until my junior year winter semester where my GPA got brought down to a 3.9.
I don’t share this to brag what so ever. I just want to share some of my insight. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I did it. I’m not a genius. I’m just an average college girl who was motivated and trying to get into grad school. I’m going to give you a few tips that helped me get good grades.
1. Study study study– towards the end of college I slacked a little more in this area, but during my sophomore year I took anatomy and had no other choice but to study my booty off if I wanted an A. Every week after the two days I met for class I would make it a point to look over all of the material again to try to engrave it into my brain. This also made it WAY easier when the exam came around because I already basically knew most of the material or had a pretty good recollection of it. So the most important thing you can do is spend time in your notes. Even if it’s just a quick look over, anything helps.
2. Stay focused– it is SO easy to get distracted and unmotivated during the middle of the semester. I always did my best to really focus on the grade that I wanted and what I would have to do to get that. I envisioned the feeling of accomplishment I would have if I did get an A. Keep your eye on the prize.
3. Think big picture– for most of college I was dead set on grad school of some sort. I knew to get into any physical therapy or physicians assistant school I would need not a good, but great GPA. Whether grad school is something you’re thinking about or not, think about employers, your parents, yourself, and whoever else those grades might matter to and let that motivate you.
4. Tackle what you can handle– college has SO many opportunities. Which are GREAT. But I strongly encourage you to be realistic about what you can handle and make sure you’re giving yourself enough time for school. Learn to say no if it means you gain much needed homework time.
4. Stay organized/Don’t procrastinate– my planner is ridiculous. I wouldn’t recommend being as organized as I am, but I DO recommend writing everything out for the semester that’s due so you can stay on top of things. Do NOT procrastinate. I honestly don’t know that I know a college kid that doesn’t procrastinate, but I was always the opposite. I was the nerd who had her homework done a month ahead of time. Which is excessive and unnecessary (I just felt better getting it done way ahead), BUT procrastinating allows stress and anxiety to build up. It creates sloppy rushed work in most cases. Get your assignments, readings, and exams organized and work on them earlier rather than later.
5. Read your books– some classes we all know you don’t have to. But for the most part, when professors suggested we read, I read. And it helped A LOT. It just reiterated what the professors were saying and just reinforced my learning.
6. Make sure you’re passionate about your degree– I learned VERY quickly that chemistry was not a class I would ever be able to take and keep my sanity, so that ultimately drove me to change things up with my degree. I found a path that I’m super passionate about (exercise science) and found the classes to be so much easier because I was genuinely interested in the material. If you’re struggling and not interested at all in your classes, something probably isn’t right. Granted, we all have classes we don’t like, but I’m talking about a majority. Make sure you’re working towards a passion.
7. Give yourself YOU time– it is SO easy to get burnt out in college. I definitely have done that to myself so many semesters. But I’ve finally gotten a better handle on how to balance my life and not feel bad about kicking back and enjoying myself too. Sometimes the homework or studying can wait until you get your mind right and give yourself some YOU time.
These are a just a few tips that helped me keep my GPA where it’s at. I hope you find them helpful!