How to Get Good Grades in College
College is a tricky balance of life. Many students will be tasting freedom for the first time. No parents, no teacher hanging over their head, just themselves. The many students take that freedom too far and neglect their studies. At the end of the day, attending college is still attending school. And a lot of students aren’t prepared for that next step. So I’m here to show you how to get good grades in college and kick some ass.
Scheduling Classes and Keeping a Schedule
The classes you take your first year will most likely be general education classes. Classes that for the most part, won’t be related to your major. Instead, you can think of these as classes about getting into the college groove. You’ll be able to figure out what you do and don’t like in your classes. The kind of professors you have, the time of your classes, the subject matter as well. You’ll likely take plenty of different gen eds all the way up to your senior year and that’s a good thing.
If you’re smart about it, you will be able to buffer your harder classes with some easy gen eds. I had International Trade and Finance, so I added a playwriting and a general writing course. Classes that I knew I would enjoy and succeed in. But another key to this puzzle, is knowing your professors.
Your professors are going to be very different than most of your teachers before. They will be much more hands off in their approach. They won’t be as invested in whether or not you pass (mostly), because they’ve got a lot going on. Research, conferences, papers, and so on. So it’s good to know who you’ve got. A great resource to use is the website Rate My Professors. It’s broken down by college and subject, so you’ll able to see them before you pick them for next semester.
Another piece of advice that I would give is about building a relationship with your professors. Talk to your professors after class. Ask them about the assignments (if it’s not already answered in the syllabus). Ask if they look at your papers before the final version is due. The love seeing somebody who is motivated to succeed. Most of the time. Sometimes you’ll just have a shitty professor, and have to deal with it.
You’ll probably have to deal with that wonderful horrible temptation that is procrastination. And it will strike hardest on the big projects, and the big papers. I talked before about making sure not to procrastinate because they can lead to an all-nighter. And that’s true you really shouldn’t wait until the last minute. But there’s more than that when it comes to writing a successful paper. The first thing you need to do is read your rubric. And then you need to reread it. Because that is your baseline for every paper and every assignment. That will tell you exactly what you need and probably how to do it as well.
The next thing you need to do, is set up an outline. Never start a project and never start a paper without an outline. Because an outline is going to be your map to success in college. It will give you a plan, it will give you a way to find weaknesses, and it will make working on it that much easier.
So that’s about before, but what after? Well, once you’ve got your paper or project done you don’t really have it done. Because what you need to do next, is find somebody to look at your drafts. The best person to show it to before it’s due is your professor. They will tell you exactly what is wrong with it and exactly what you need to do to fix it. (Unless they’re a shitty professor, or they just don’t feel like it) the second best option you have is going to the library and the academic services office at your university. There you can find tutors, academic advisers, and other studious people to help you. If you’re writing a paper, the Writing Center at your university will be a huge help because they can show you what’s going wrong with your paper in terms of format, style, and grammar.
Dealing with Stress
The worst thing you can do for yourself in college is psych yourself out. Everybody gets stressed in college. Everyone hears a voices that thinks they’re not made for it, like they’re useless, like they can’t do it. That voice is dead wrong. You can succeed in college. You just need to know how to handle stress. Some of the biggest sources for stress will definitely come from classes. But sometimes it can come from somewhere else. Maybe work has you stressed. Maybe one of your clubs has a big event that you’re trying to practice for. Or maybe you got dumped. These can all happen. So how can you fight the stress? Here’s some quick tips.
Have a little fun: Listen, sometimes the best thing to do is just step away from everything for a little bit. That doesn’t mean go on a bender ends up waking up in Vegas with a wife named Sugar Shae. It means to go play some video games. Read a book. Give yourself time to just enjoy.
Catch some Z’s: Go the fuck to sleep. Seriously. Don’t stay up until 4 a.m. every night and try to get 8-9 hours of sleep. Lack of sleep stresses you out bad and only leads to more trouble.
Talk to Someone: It’s alright to talk about how stressed you are. Seriously. If someone rags on you for being “emotional” they can fuck right off because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
We’ll talk more about stress in the future as well, so stay tuned for more ways to de-stress yourself while in college.