Your GPA in college matters. Even as a freshman, it matters. It matters because it is the measuring stick that is still used to determine your level of success and aptitude in the classroom. You get graded for the work you do. Simple as that.
A college student’s GPA is very important to the majority of employers when they begin to evaluate students for internships and entry level positions. The good employers look for strong performances in both the classroom and outside of the classroom.
For the most part, you can control your level of success in the classroom by working hard to master the subject and deliver on the assignments and projects to the best of your ability.
The outside of the classroom experience is for another conversation, but is not only just as important, I would argue it’s much more important.
If you’ve found yourself with a less than desirable GPA, then this article will give you some legitimate ways to raise it in a realistic time period. What is our definition of a less that desirable GPA?
Anything less than a cumulative GPA of 3.0 can hurt your chances of getting an internship or getting hired out of college.
Do the Math
I mentioned a few moments ago that even as a freshman your GPA matters. Your freshman year is a critical year to get on the right foot with your GPA. If you set the bar high, your goal should always be to maintain that high bar and eventually raise it even higher.
The other thing to all of this GPA talk, is that it revolves around simple math. You see, the more credit hours you earn, the more credit hours with high grades it will take to bring your GPA up. In other words, it takes longer. And the reverse is true as well. The fewer the credit hours you have, the less credit hours with good grades will be needed to raise your GPA. It doesn’t take as long.
This is why your freshman and sophomore years are crucial in establishing a strong GPA. If you get off on the wrong foot and find yourself with a lower GPA than you need by your junior or senior years, it will take a while to turn it around.
Your #1 Goal
Here’s the easiest advice I can give to raise your GPA quickly – get all A’s in the coming semester. No matter what. This is a must.
This may seem daunting to many of you. But it is possible. You have to be all in though to pull it off. So, be prepared to make some sacrifices and be 100% committed to put in the time and effort to make it happen.
No partying. No video games. No multi-tasking while studying. Avoid whatever else you’ve been doing to get in the position of having a low GPA in the first place. It’s time to work!
In order for you to be able to raise your GPA quickly, you must maintain a laser focus on obtaining good grades. This will require a lot of dedication. But guess what? This is only temporary. This hard work can seem overwhelming, but there is a defined finish line already in place. That finish line is the end of the semester.
Work in chunks and set small, achievable goals for yourself along the way. For example, in the beginning of the semester, your focus should be on acing mid-terms. Don’t worry about finals yet. Once you get through mid-terms you can then shift your focus on to finals.
Once that semester is over (and you’ve aced your courses), it will be time to move on to the next semester and it’s set of challenges. The next thing you know, you’ll be graduating with a stellar GPA!
Look at Your Course Load
So, how can you realistically achieve all A’s? If possible, you take as many courses as you can that you feel you can get A’s in. Simple as that.
I would advise that you work with your college advisor on this part, but your goal should be to shift as many courses around as you can to give you the best shot of achieving all A’s for 2 semesters in a row. Doing this will give your GPA a serious bump up!
You should still maintain a mix of your required major courses and electives. But if you need to go heavy on electives for one semester, then that’s okay (again, it’s important to work with your college advisor on this, you don’t want to delay your chance of graduating on time).
If you have the opportunity to take an elective that you know you can ace, now’s the time. If there’s an opportunity to load up on easier electives for one semester without harming your overall course plan, then do it.
Be Honest with Yourself
Why are you unable to maintain a good GPA? Be really honest with yourself here. Do you need help? Are you in over your head?
Because it’s okay if you do. You know that, right? There are plenty of places for you to turn for help if you need it. The hard part in that is admitting you need the help in the first place. You may feel embarrassed or lack confidence in yourself.
You can start by speaking with your professors. Most of them have taught thousands of students and have seen others struggle just like you are. And they should know how to help you.
Look for support or study groups. Instead of mindlessly spending your evenings doing who knows what, go to a study group and collaborate with others who also need help. It will do wonders for you. If you can’t find a group, start one. I bet you can find others who will join you.
What better way to spend your summer break than to not take a break at all!
In all seriousness, taking summer classes is a great way to help raise your GPA quickly. Many summer semesters are more intense since they are shorter, and you’ll need to accomplish a lot in this condensed time frame.
You may find that you will have an easier time to concentrate and focus on your classes during the summer when everyone, including many of your friends, aren’t on campus. This is the time to be fully committed to putting in the work.
I would also recommend that you consider taking one of your challenging courses in the summer. Since the class sizes are smaller this can often mean that the professor has more time he or she can dedicate to helping you. Plus, you typically won’t carry a full course load in the summer, so this allows you to dedicate more time to concentrate on a difficult subject.
Sometimes it’s Just Hard
Now comes the kick in the tail advice you need. Yes, you may be able to take some easier courses for a semester that will raise your GPA, but you need to face the reality that college is hard. A lot of the courses you will take will be hard. Very hard. This doesn’t mean that you can avoid taking these courses.
No. You must buckle down and put in the work to succeed in college.
Guess what? For most of you, the job you get when you graduate will also be hard at times. Real hard. And there are no electives or summer breaks when you’re on the job. Nope, you will have to face challenges head on and work through them.
This isn’t to say that the job itself is miserable. You can be doing what you absolutely love and are meant to be doing, but there will still be hard days. Days where you won’t feel like doing it.
Set yourself up for success now in college, by establishing a strong work ethic that will carry you through into your career. You will thank yourself time and time again for doing so.
- Try to not get behind. The more credit hours you accumulate, the more difficult it will be to raise your GPA. For those of you that are freshman and sophomores, now’s your time to set the tone for the rest of your college years. Get your GPA above a 3.0 now and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping it there.
- Your number one goal is to get all A’s. You should settle for nothing less. One semester of straight A’s will create a significant bump in your GPA.
- Maintain your focus. You have to be fully committed to doing well in the classroom to get your GPA up. This means setting aside all other activities that aren’t creating value in your pursuit. Once you get your GPA up, you can celebrate. But for now, you need to be locked in.
- Take a look at your course load and see if there’s a way to have a semester or two that will set you up for getting all A’s. Make an appointment with your advisor and get their recommendations on what your options are. You don’t want to take all electives and put off the inevitable major course work. This will only set you back. Just look for a balance.
- It’s time to be honest with yourself if you need help. There’s no shame in admitting this. If you do need help, then get it. Reach out to your professors, talk to your friends who are achieving success and find and join study groups. There are plenty of other students in the same position you are. Work with each other to help each other achieve better grades.
- You may need to give up a summer or two and take classes. While I understand this is a big sacrifice, it’s one that will certainly pay off. You must be fully dedicated to your college plan. You may find that summer classes are much more manageable without the distractions.
- College isn’t easy to begin with. When you fall behind, it’s even harder. College is a short-term venture that will pay long-term dividends when you graduate. Take it seriously. I can almost guarantee that if you have a GPA below 3.0, you are capable to do better. We all are. You just have to be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve better results.
If anyone tells you that GPA isn’t that important to employers, they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. It is important. It is very important. I’ve been put in the unfortunate position of rejecting many college students who had all the right experience, attitude and potential because they did not meet our company’s GPA requirements. It’s that real.
The standard is 3.0 and above. But you shouldn’t settle for 3.0. Aim higher. This is only one component of your career plan, but it’s a very important one. Take the tips I’ve given here, and you should be able to see the bump in your GPA you need!
Anthony lives in Indiana with his wife and 3 daughters. His passions (besides his family) in no particular order are making and listening to music that pleases his ears, taking pictures (still & moving), avoiding crowded places and good writing. He also happens to be the Founder of Career Energy.