College Freshman, College Hacks, Productivity, Students Hacks

Why Your GPA Is In Trouble and How to Fix It

It is easy to underestimate your workload in college as a freshman, and as a result of that your GPA can take a hit.  This post will give you proven tips to help you raise your GPA after a lousy semester and help you keep it right where you need it to be.

We have all been there.  It’s your first year in college.  As a freshman, you are new to the whole “college life experience.”  You are meeting new people, making new friends, and getting used to your new school environment.

Next thing you know its November, finals start in 3 weeks, and you have no idea where your semester went.

Don’t Panic! That bad semester will not dictate how the rest of your college career will go.

And we are here to give you the tips to help you recover your GPA.

Get Organized

It is crucial when you fix your GPA that you get organized as soon as possible.

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You will need to organize your class schedule, notes, reading assignments, handouts, daily activities, homework, and time to study.

Being organized can increase your productivity level, reduce stress, and help you be on time.

Here are some tips to help you get organized
  1. Declutter – if you have not paid attention to it in a while, you probably don’t need it.  Clutter around you can affect your ability to think clearly.
  2. Technology – It’s 2019. There is pretty much an app for everything now.  Use one of those apps to organize and keep track of everything you need to do.
  3. Prioritize – set goals for yourself an understand what you need to do to achieve them.  Learn how to identify the things that are important to do first and work on them.

For more tips on how to stay organized, check out this article.

Look at Your Major

If you feel that your major is not what you expected, don’t be shy about changing it to something you think will be more suitable.

There is no reason to stay in major that you know you struggle with especially if it is a major you don’t care about.

Almost a third of first-year college students change their majors at least once in their first three years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That is 1 in every ten first-year students that will have changed their major by their 3rd year. 

So, don’t think you are the only one out here deciding to try something new.

Tip: When you are choosing your non-major classes, chose the ones that you know will be easy.  Especially when you’re trying to fix your GPA.  There’s no need to make things harder for yourself by choosing difficult classes you don’t need.

Go to Class Often

This might seem obvious, but it needs to be said. While at school it is tempting to wake up and decide to skip your classes for the day so that you can sleep in.

If you want to fix your GPA you will have to break the habit of skipping classes without good reason and start attending those courses often because it does three things for you:

  1. You get detailed explanations on things your professor teaches that you will not get from borrowed notes.  Also, it is a chance to ask questions about parts of the lecture you don’t understand.
  2. You build a reputation with your professor as a student that cares.  Might come in handy when they are rounding up your final grades.
  3. And you will be there if there an opportunity for extra credit arises; Which will always help out your GPA.

It will also be in your best interest to take every class seriously.  Yes, even the boring ones.

That will discourage any temptations you have to slack off.

Make Friends With People With a High GPA

Ever heard the saying “Birds of the same feathers flock together” or “Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are”?

As you make friends, look for someone you know cares about how they do in school.

Become study buddies with that person.

Not only can they motivate you when you are on the verge of slacking, but they can also help you out when you struggle with assignments.

Also, one of the best ways to fully understand an idea/concept is to talk about it with people. 

Keep Track of Your GPA

When you are working to fix your GPA, you might want to know what to expect from each semester.

This GPA calculator can help you with that.

Enter your grades for each semester up until the current date, and their algorithm will calculate your GPA for you.

You can also enter the grades you expect to get this current or the next semester and see what your GPA will be at the end of the year.

Use Office Hours

Every professor has office hours.  If you aren’t sure if yours does, look at your class’ syllabus or ask your professor.

Office hours give you the ability to be able to speak to your professor privately about things you didn’t understand in class, or you can go over test questions that you got wrong.

Your professors will typically be more than willing to help you out.

If for some reason you can’t meet with your professors during their office hours, reach out to them and explain your situation.  They might be willing to work with your schedule to find a good time to meet with you.

In a Harvard Gazette Article where Harvard professors got interviewed on how they viewed office hours, one of the professors explained: “I see office hours as an important method to get to know my students, and that helps me teach better.” – Katherine Merseth.  

Check out that article here.

Take advantage of those office hours and do it often. It will make an impression with your professor.

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Take Notes

One of the best ways to retain information is by taking notes.

Research done by the Center for Research on learning and Teaching finds that “taking notes in class and reviewing those notes (either in class or afterward) have a positive impact on student learning.”

Why Is It Important?

Note taking is important because it helps you learn better by keeping you engaged in the material, it keeps you awake, and you will have a record of the things covered in class that you can always go back to when studying.

When you take notes, you are not looking to write down everything your professor says or everything on your professor’s presentation.

Write down the things first that seem the most important.

To become a faster note taker, use abbreviations that you understand when appropriate and develop your version of short-hand writing.

These are YOUR notes.  There’s no need to try to write them like somebody else is going to be reading them. Write in a language and style you know you understand.

When to Take Notes
  1. In class – Take notes as your professor is teaching.  Focus on writing down the main points first.
  2. When you read your textbook – Textbooks are a great source that can address some of the holes your professors might not have covered.
  3. At office hours – when you go in to speak with your professor about something you didn’t understand from class, go in with a pen and a notepad.  That way you can always revisit the main points you got from that visit.
  4. When you study – taking notes while you study will help you remember better what you are reading. Take notes, quiz yourself, or make some flashcards to improve your retention.

Check out this article from The Princeton Review for more great tips on how to take better notes.

Study Smarter, Not Harder

You can take a lot of pressure off yourself by being smart about your study habits.

Don’t wait till you have a test/quiz before you start to review your notes.

Take a gradual approach. Start your review from day 1. 

At the end of every day take about 20 minutes to review the notes that you took throughout the day and at the end of the week review all the notes you made that week.  And every week review your notes starting from the beginning of our courses.

That will help your memorization and long-term retention of the material. 

And the best part is you won’t have to scramble to cram all the information the night before the test because you would have already known it from all your regular review sessions.

Be Proactive

Take advantage of extra credit opportunities.  They will leave a good impression with your professor.

Also, if your school offers online credits for your easier classes and you prefer to get work done outside of the classroom setting (at a library, a coffee shop or your dorm room) sign up for those classes.

It will save you the unnecessary commute to classes.

Tip: Try not to take your important classes online, being in a classroom setting offers opportunities that will help you succeed that you won’t get from an online course.


Also, start studying for your exams early. Preferably as soon as possible; Fight the urge to procrastinate.

Three-quarters of college students consider themselves procrastinators…” according to a Mark Murphy Article on Forbes.  Which is a fancy talk for 75% of college students consider themselves procrastinators.

Don’t be just another statistic; start studying earlier.

It’ll give you more time to go through each lesson completely and better understand concepts — something you can’t do if you start studying the night before an exam.

And last but not least, Reward yourself.

You have worked hard to get your work done. Don’t forget to take some time out for yourself.

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