Tips for New College Students – Building a Great GPA

Graduating from high school and entering college can undoubtedly bring about many changes in a student’s life.

Beginning college represents an allegorical first step toward independence for high school graduates, and gives many their first glimpse of the responsibilities that inevitably accompany such freedom.  With the major lifestyle change and numerous constant distractions associated with the transition from high school to college, it can become almost too easy for new college students to neglect their academic responsibilities.

However, even one or two poor grades can have a lasting negative impact on a student’s grade point average (GPA). Earning and maintaining a good GPA involves constant diligence in every class, every semester.

Below are some tips designed to help new college students start out and continue on the right track academically.

Go To Class. Granted, you have probably heard this straightforward advice a thousand times before. Still, many students struggle to make this simple effort that can mean the difference between passing and failing a class. Being at each class meeting gives you the advantage of hearing the lecture on the subject matter first hand, which will make studying for tests less grueling and more productive later.

Not to mention, professors are typically privy to the fact that the most dedicated students attend each class meeting, and many reveal insight into the format and material of future exams during class. Missing out on key information may lead a student to take an ineffective approach to studying or to focus on the wrong information, which can lead to a catastrophe of a test grade.

Prioritize Wisely. College students are undoubtedly faced with a barrage of distractions. Whether the culprit be sports, participation in student organizations or enjoying an over bountiful social life, the numerous hours required to excel academically can be infringed upon by more appealing activities. Achieving a consistently high GPA requires prioritizing your time favorably toward attending class, studying, and doing projects, even when it requires you to sacrifice a party once in a while.

Be a Great Test Taker. There is an art to taking tests. Throughout college, you will notice that tests are not all created equal. In one class, the professor may create his or her own tests, while in another class the tests are standardized for an entire department. Know which are which. Pay attention to what concepts professors are emphasizing, and take detailed, legible notes.

Study them exhaustively before exams, and not just the hour before. Another seemingly obvious piece of advice bears addressing–complete all class assignments, and understand their concepts. Tests often cover the same concepts, and sometimes even the exact questions, as do previous exercises assigned to the class.

The advantages of graduating from college with a good GPA are immeasurable. Particularly when you have little to no professional work experience, a potential employer may look to your academic achievements in gaining insight into your level of knowledge, determination and abilities. Maintaining a good GPA also reduces the risk of losing a valuable student loan, scholarship or other financial assistance that may require a minimal standard of academic performance for continuance.

A high undergraduate GPA will also be on your side should you apply for continued education such as graduate school or law school in the future. And that can only happen if you follow at least the simplest of advice-go to class. Someday you will be grateful you did.

About the Author

Edmund Rogers, a graduate student in English, is the editor for, a student loan and student loan consolidation provider which also supplies a free online resource for learning about and applying for a student loan. For more information, please visit

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