My Advice to Getting a 4.0 (or something close)

Coming into college as a freshman and trying to get good grades can be very hard, especially if your study habits weren’t that strong in high school. I know that my first semester was a struggle academically (which might be excusable for the fact that I was taking primarily pre-med classes). But I was able to get it together second semester and get a 4.0! So today I’m writing to shed some light on the methods to my academic success so that other people can achieve it too.

The absolute most important piece of advice I can give you: GO. TO. FREAKING. CLASS.

This seems like it should be easy given that if you’re like me, you only have 2 or maybe 3 classes a day. But the worst words a professor can say to you at the beginning of the semester on the first day of classes is “Attendance is not mandatory” or “I will not be talking attendance”. RED FLAGS SHOULD FLASH EVERYWHERE. You will get tired, you will fall behind in some classes, and you will feel like you CAN miss a day. And then suddenly one day turns into two, and then three, and so on and so on.

Also, some professors will say you can only miss 2 or 3 classes before you start losing points. Don’t take these as free passes to miss class. In November of last year, I ended up with Bronchitis, Pharyngitis, and an ear infection. I could not get out of bed and missed a few days of class. Luckily, I hadn’t skipped any mandatory classes during the previous parts of the semester, and my professors were understanding and didn’t want to contract my diseases.

Stay off your phone during class.

I am sitting here in class writing (probably shouldn’t be doing that either) but there is a girl who is sitting front row texting while the professor is lecturing us on contracts (again, my public law class). There is no greater passive sign of disrespect than blatantly ignoring what the professor is trying to teach you.

Also, you will focus better by putting your phone away. Free advertisement to Pocket Points, and it gives you points when your phone is locked during class and you can then use those points to get discounts and deals at local businesses and online stores. I’m loving it already, and it keeps me incentivized not to unlock my phone and not listen to what’s going on in class. If you want free points, I have a code: FuJn9. USE IT, WOOHOO!

Do your homework.

This was supposed to be #2, but then I saw that girl on her phone, which she’s on again right now, and I just needed to write about it.

Doing homework is key to success in class. I’m not sitting here saying I’ve done all of the homework for every one of my classes. But when I got to college, I learned how to sort through what was busy work and what was work that would help me gain a greater understanding for what it is that I’m learning.

It can be hard to contribute in discussion in class when you don’t know what’s going on. It’s even worse if you try to participate and suddenly everyone in the class knows that you didn’t do the homework.

Also, cramming it all in the night before a test does not work. You will spend more time regretting your decision not to do the homework or reading when you could have than you will actually learning the information.

Just do it.

Keep up with your work.

Here’s what I do so I don’t have an overwhelming amount of work to do on any given day: I do the homework the day it was assigned. That way, I get it done ahead of time and it doesn’t pile up.

Go into office hours (if you feel comfortable).

This will allow you to build relationships with your professors, who are people you would like to write letters of recommendations or serve as references in the future. Also, he or she might be more likely to round you if you need it because you are showing effort inside and outside of class.

Make study guides.

Most professors would be glad to go over any study guides you make and will point you in the right direction. Some might even flat out tell you what you need to know exactly and what will be asked. It’s always worth it to go in and see what they can do.

Spend Time Studying.

I will be the first to say that I did not really study in high school. But college is different, and you really do need to sit down and study for tests. Sometimes I’ll go to the library for three hours at a time and just crank everything out so I won’t have to worry about it later. If you have mandatory study hours for athletics or Greek Life or anything, actually study during those times!! It’s easy to turn on Netflix or just sit on your phone, but it won’t make the test any easier.

And Finally, Don’t Cram.

Spending 7 hours the night before most likely won’t work. It’s unfortunate for people who aren’t big on planning ahead, but it’s the way college works. Taking a little bit of time each day to study is the best way to study, and that’s obvious. But you should plan ahead and put it in your planner or whatever that you should start studying at least two weeks ahead. I’ve stayed at the library from 7 pm to 3 am studying for bio, and I felt awful when I got up to actually take the test. And I didn’t do well. When I started studying for a test a good five days before hand, making a study guide and going into study hours, I was able to get a 100% on that test.

Overall, college is a much better experience when you’re on top of academics. If a 4.0 is a stretch of a goal for you, these tips can apply for just trying to get a 3.5. Just put in an effort, and make sure that your professors can see you making that effort. It makes a world of a difference.

If you have any additional study tips and want to share, leave them in the comment section below!

Good luck with midterms!




4 thoughts on “My Advice to Getting a 4.0 (or something close)

  1. Andrea Garrity says:

    Where were you when I was in college…..LOL Very well written……and EXCELLENT ADVICE.
    I may share with some of the other Grams so they can pass along to their grandchildren. xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aunt Paula says:

    Pretty mature my dear. Sorry I didn’t follow any of your advice except: go to class. I had several classes in which I was one of five or fewer students. Pretty hard to miss those and not be on your toes Your great grandfather John Schlick would be proud of you. Rumor has it he went to the movies the night before finals. He figured if he didn’t know it by then it was too late !


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