Let’s define what success means before we share tips on how to become a successful college student. A lot of first-year students don’t reflect on what a successful college experience means before trying to improve themselves (such as learning how to get better grades). For example, college success could simply be earning your bachelor’s degree in four years. For some, it means getting A’s for all your courses, while others will be satisfied with just passing. What everyone agrees on is that success is not graduating, getting bad grades, or falling behind. Read on to discover 10 things successful college students do to stay on track, no matter how you define success.
10 Ways How To Get Better Grades
- Start with your goals and priorities.
If you haven’t thought about why you are in college, this is the perfect time to decide what your goals and priorities are. What do you want to achieve during your four years of pursuing higher education? Knowing your goals ultimately leads to setting your priorities and pushing you on the right path to success. As already touched upon, you may just want to earn your degree so you can get a job. If so, then you prioritize being able to support yourself and your independence. However, if your goal is to maintain a high GPA, your priorities will take an entirely different route.
- Review your class syllabus.
During or even before your first week of class, you should receive a class syllabus. You will learn about the course requirements, assignments, deadlines, and expectations from your professor, including attendance and participation. Don’t ignore it, read it right away. It may even help you understand how to get better grades, which is critical to getting the grade you want or simply passing. For example, assignments with deadlines must be met or have a late penalty. Avoid late penalties, which can severely reduce your grade daily until it is submitted.
- Commit to going to class and office hours.
Class attendance in college is another common denominator whatever your measure of success. It is important never to miss class and to stay until the end of class. Unlike in high school, college courses have fewer sessions. As a result, skipping a class means missing out on a lot of lectures, and discussions, and making connections between concepts. Attending your instructor’s office hours is also critical in how to get better grades. While not mandatory, it’s a valuable time to benefit from your professor’s and advisor’s experience in a deeper way. If you need extra help learning concepts, never hesitate.
- Have a daily study routine.
Establishing a daily study routine is a simple way how to get better grades. Studying at the same hours every day and the same days weekly will become just another part of your college life. Mentally and emotionally, a regular study routine will not only help you study better but motivate you to stop procrastinating. Following a consistent study routine can increase your productivity and improve focus and organization. Ready to set your study period? Prioritize blocks of time that you can dedicate to studying with absolutely no interruption, like phones or roommates. Treat this time like a job, so it becomes an obligation and not seen as free time.
- Don’t cram too much studying into each session.
Remember, your brain is part of your body. It needs to rest when it gets too tired. One surefire way to exhaust it is by cramming too much studying over one or two sessions. If you want to learn how to get better grades, don’t cram for exams. Instead, space out study sessions to avoid overwhelming short-term memory. While all-nighters are commonplace in college, it’s never effective. The panic and stress it causes may make it more difficult to study and take tests. Take care of yourself and your brain by having regular, shorter study sessions to learn the material.
- Challenge yourself.
Even if your goal isn’t to get an A in a class but to pass the course, challenging yourself will put you closer to passing. When you put in the effort, you’ll be more motivated to learn, among other things. Challenge yourself when it comes to your daily study routine and other school-related tasks. Ways how to get better grades likewise include keeping open-minded during class lectures and group discussions. An open mind is the only way to fully grasp the broad range of ideas that will present themselves during your time in college. It may be a challenge to adjust your thinking, but in the long run, it will benefit you significantly.
- Get study buddies/groups.
Studying with buddies or with a group has unique benefits for how to get better grades you won’t have by studying alone. For example, if you are having an especially difficult time with a course, a group may help you comprehend the material faster. Evidence has proven that students begin to feel more confident about the material and even more assured come exam time. How many people you want in your group, one person or a full study group is up to your comfort level. You can also join review sessions to study for tests, which your instructor may have for midterms or finals.
- Learn to take useful notes.
Although a skill you should have learned in high school, taking effective notes in class seems to still prove a challenge for many college students. A critical way how to get better grades is by mastering note-taking during your freshman year. Experiment with different methods and eventually, you will find which one is ideal for you. For instance, some students now prefer typing on a laptop or tablet, while others still rely on taking notes by hand. Which method works the most efficiently for you? Mastering note-taking skills now will benefit you for the long haul, since it helps you manage information and study for exams.
- Do any extra credit assignments.
If you didn’t do so well on an exam or just want to add extra points to your grade, benefit from extra credit assignments. The good news is many college instructors offer you extra credit to make up for losing points or to maintain your solid standing. Even better, they’re given not only as extra credit questions on tests but additional papers and projects, or just attending a related event. To illustrate, if you have a final average of 90% in class and earn 4% extra credit on an optional assignment, your new final average could be as much as 94%. If you’re committed to how to get better grades, take it.
- Don’t forget to reward yourself!
You don’t need to wait until getting an A on an exam or passing the course (whichever your goal), it’s important that you reward yourself even for smaller triumphs like understanding a concept thanks to a study group (see Tip #7). While you can reward yourself by streaming your favorite series, you can simply take a break. To benefit from studying, regular breaks are a must, so your brain is refreshed. Even better, take a walk for ten minutes every hour of intense studying. Another way how to get better grades (and is also rewarding) is to get a good night’s sleep regularly.
The Secret To Becoming Successful In College
Sure, follow the ten things successful college students do how to get better grades, as explained above. However, the genuine secret is to define what success means for you. Never compare yourself to someone thought of as already successful in school. You are not them, because you have unique goals and priorities (go back to Tip #1). Therefore, you can be successful in your one-of-a-kind way, too! And be sure to check out Empowerly to learn more about you.