October 10, 2018
Getting good grades takes effort, commitment and motivation, but that doesn't mean it has to stress you out. While there's no cheat sheet for how to get good grades in college, there are some simple steps you can take to improve your chances of meeting - or even exceeding - your academic goals.
The pressure to get good grades in college is all too real. To get straight A's in college, you need to make sure you're able to make the time commitment for your studies, but you should enjoy the learning process. Take courses that are not only relevant to your major, but also take courses that interest you. You're more likely to perform well in a course if you're excited to engage with the course content.
Seamus McGuire, an academic advisor with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), said good grades are more than a necessity to graduate - they're a testament to the hard work a student has put into their coursework. "GPA can affect a student everywhere from the ability to graduate, certain honors programs, job placement and it can even affect your financial aid," McGuire said.
What's a Good GPA in College?
Academic advisor Sierra Bridges said earning a GPA above a 2.0 will get you to graduation, and sometimes that milestone is enough for students. "However," she said, "GPAs that are in the 3.0 to 4.0 range are preferred." Bridges said to make their way onto the Dean's list, a student needs to earn a GPA of 3.5 or above. For the President's list, students need to have earned a GPA of 3.7 or higher.
A good GPA can affect your ability to join an honor society. Between a 3.5 and a 4.0 on the GPA scale is considered an A. Having a great GPA "may even open doors for students in regard to scholarships, honor societies and clubs," McGuire said. Being a member of an honor society may have benefits including scholarships, grants or networking opportunities. While a GPA isn't required on a resume, "being able to see affiliation with an honor society tells the employer all they need to know about how well a student did while earning the degree they hired them for," Bridges said.
There are also financial considerations involved with earning a high GPA. "There are a wealth of scholarship opportunities available, and some of them do have GPA requirements," McGuire said. If you're on a scholarship, you may have a minimum GPA requirement you're required to maintain, or you could lose your funding. "Scholarships may also be the bridge between a student and the completion of their degree," Bridges said. "In that case, GPA means everything."
Academic standards aside, Bridges said what's considered a good GPA depends on the student. There are students who work full-time, have children or are single parents with limited free time. "Their idea of a good GPA could very well be whatever gets them to graduation," Bridges said. "Maybe a student struggles with a learning disability and a 3.0 GPA is something they need to work extremely hard for," she said. For students with little obstacles and plenty of support, they may feel anything below a 3.8 isn't good. "A good GPA is subjective," Bridges said, "and as an advisor, a good GPA fluctuates student to student."
Knowing how to study in college is key to getting straight A's. Through organization, a time management strategy and drive to succeed, you'll be ready to hit the books with confidence.
If you want to earn straight A's in college, be organized, put in the effort and you'll see yourself succeed.
Ashley Wallis is an Army veteran and writer with a BA in English Language and Literature from SNHU. She is currently living in the Denver area. Find her on twitter @AshDWallis.
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