You’re almost halfway through the semester and find that your grade point average (GPA) is slipping. Your responsibilities increase and things become more and more difficult to manage. You are at risk of losing your scholarships and financial aid, or you could be worried about grad school admissions. The stress builds, but don’t worry, you can improve your GPA in a single semester, it just takes some effort on your part. Here are some helpful tips to achieve this.
How to calculate your grade point average
To understand how to increase your GPA, you must first understand how your GPA is calculated.
The basic formula for GPA is:
(grade points × credits) ÷ credits = GPA
What are grade points:
Put simply, grade points are the grades you earn in class. This is complicated by the fact that many colleges use a letter grading system for individual courses.
To get the “grade points” you need to convert your letter grades to their 4.0 scale equivalents. Each college has its own system for converting letter grades to a 4.0 scale. This is the most common method:
A = 4.0 A− = 3.7 B+ = 3.3 B = 3.0 B− = 2.7 C+ = 2.3 C = 2.0 C− = 1.7 D = 1.0 F = 0.0
However, ask your university about the exact grading scale.
What are credit hours?
Credit hours are the hours you spend in a classroom each week. You can find the credit hours for a class in your curriculum or on the online portal your college uses to track academic progress.
How much you can improve your GPA in a semester or a year
How much you can improve your GPA in a single semester or in a year depends on how many credit hours you’ve completed and how many courses you’re taking in a semester. Use the GPA calculator provided by your school to calculate exactly how much you could improve your GPA in a semester and a year. Be realistic when making calculations to properly assess your situation. While you might want to be able to get straight As to improve your GPA as much as possible and as quickly as possible, it might just not be possible.
Tips to Raise Your GPA Seek Help
If you’re concerned about your GPA, here are a few people to talk to:
Your advisor professors for the courses you are doing poorly in your college learning center/academic support/tutoring center. Any other relevant support staff
It’s better to seek help as soon as possible rather than waiting until your grade point average becomes an emergency.
Improve attendance and participation
Attendance can play an important role in your grades. Some classes will give you 10 to 15 percent just for showing up and participating in discussions. If you skipped classes in previous semesters, start showing up. It will make a difference.
Hand in all your homework on time
Always hand in your homework, even if you are unsure about the material. Many professors grade homework for graduation, so it’s a quick way to improve your GPA without doing a ton of extra study. It also helps you identify knowledge gaps that could cause problems on exams and final projects.
Reduce extracurricular activities
Clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities are an important part of college life. However, if your GPA is at risk, consider reducing your extracurricular activities to focus on studying. You don’t have to stop doing everything, but remember that if you get kicked out of college because of a low GPA, you won’t enjoy the clubs at all.
attend office hours
Your professor or teaching assistant (TA) has office hours to give you personal help with assignments and class materials. If you’re struggling in a specific course, personalized help is probably what you need.
Get a tutor
Sometimes your professor or TA may not be the best when it comes to explaining a difficult concept. Or you need more help than they can give you. In these cases, look for a tutor. Your university will probably provide them for free in most subjects. You can then meet regularly with your tutor for help with homework or exam preparation.
Change a course to pass/fail
By default, all your courses are creditable, but they don’t have to be. In many cases, your college will allow you to take a certain number of pass/fail courses.
Talk to your professor and registrar to change a course to pass/fail if you are concerned that a particular course will negatively impact your GPA. Note that there is often a pass/fail deadline for changing courses, so do this as soon as possible if you are considering it.
Consider dropping out of a course
In some cases, it may be best for your GPA to drop out of a course altogether. Making that decision doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re making a tactical decision. This is a drastic measure, so only do it after you’ve tried other steps to improve your grades.
Find courses with the right balance of credit hours to difficulty
When trying to improve your GPA, it’s easy to focus on “total grade points earned.” Improving your grades is a good move, but don’t forget the other variable: credit hours attempted.
Finding an easy course that offers lots of credit hours can be a great way to improve your overall average.
Sleep is important
Be careful not to burn yourself out. Studies show that students who try to cram the night before and run on caffeine with little sleep often struggle with their grades. Stay organized, manage your time and rest during the week. This will help you retain information and not become overwhelmed.
Improving your GPA is absolutely possible, it just takes a plan, hard work and determination to stay the course. But it can be done.