You might think that your grades in high school don’t mean anything, or that it just gets posted to your mythical “final record.” But your grades throughout high school all add up to your Grade Point Average, or GPA. Your cumulative GPA, your grades over your entire high school career, plays a massive role in which colleges may accept you and how much merit aid money those college(s) will offer you once you’ve been accepted. Your grades matter more than you may realize.
While you can improve your GPA no matter your grade year, it is easier to do with more time. If you’re a senior, it will be more difficult because you have less time and fewer classes to take to balance out the grades from your previous high school years. If you’re a sophomore, you have more time to improve. You’ve only had one year of grades adding up to your cumulative GPA and 3 years to change it.
There are several practices to help improve your grades, no matter what grade year you are currently in.
· Study strategies
· Time management techniques
· Memory methods
· Strength of curriculum
You might only need help with one or two of these, or maybe you need help with all of them. Improving these skills can help raise your GPA. In turn, this can increase your chances at getting into more colleges and being offered more merit-aid.
Study Strategies – The first thing I recommend is to take the Learning Assessment on the Right C3 website. This can help you become aware of and understand your different learning preferences. Do you retain more information earlier or later in the day? Do you need to have loud music or complete quiet? Something to snack on or nothing to distract you? These are just a few of the learning preferences you can learn about by taking your Learning Assessment. Knowing these things can help you increase the efficiency of your study habits and increase your grades.
Time Management Techniques – There are many strategies to help improve your time management skills. Making To-Do lists can help you organize what tasks you need to accomplish first. Tackling the hardest task first may be a good strategy to help you stay motivated and finish all the tasks you need to complete. You can also set up a study schedule. Making a daily study schedule can help get you in the habit. If you’re having trouble balancing your extracurricular activities and keeping your grades up, maybe think about cutting back on some of those activities.
Memory Methods – Studying for shorter sessions, 30 minutes to an hour, over longer periods of time helps you retain the information you’re studying. Learning and explaining information to others is great way to preserve information. If you’re able to teach someone else that information, you reinforce it in your own brain. You can also use acronyms or other mnemonic devices as a way to retain or recall information. Give yourself cues with easy to remember words or phrases that help you to recall larger amounts of information.
Tutoring – Tutoring is a great way to get extra help in areas you may be struggling with. Many teachers offer tutoring for their subjects before or after school. You can ask friends or classmates for help, especially if you know they excel in a certain subject. You can also access the tutors that are available through the Right C3 website.
Strength of Curriculum – A lot of advice is given about taking harder classes, Honors or AP, to help with your strength of curriculum and making your applications look better. While this can be the case, you still need to do well in those advanced classes. Making an A in an AP or Honors class looks terrific on applications, but making a C in an AP or Honors class can possibly have a negative impact. If you’re struggling in an AP or Honors course, switching to the regular level of that subject might be a good idea to help your cumulative GPA. Talk with your guidance counselor about different course options available to you. There’s no shame in not taking an advanced level class if it is better for you in the long run.
For more information on any and all of these practices, and others, reference the (LaunchPad Library> Improving My Grades) in your RightC3 website. You can also always contact the coaches to learn more ways to improve your GPA.