How do I improve my GPA in college?

Your grade-point-average (GPA) in college is still a very important statistic. Many employers will look at your GPA before deciding whether or not to hire you, and graduate schools will definitely look at your GPA before deciding whether or not to admit you. It’s important to have as high of a GPA as you can get by the time you graduate college. Even if you got your high school diploma through on of these online GED programs but you got a good GPA you will be just fine.

If you calculated your GPA and you don’t think you have a good GPA, you should definitely consider trying to raise it, no matter what year you are in your studies. If you’re a freshman, keep in mind that it feels a lot easier to maintain a decent GPA than it does to bring a low one up. If you’re near graduating, every bit can help out, and raising your GPA a tenth of a point could still make a pretty big difference.

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Raising your overall GPA

Because your GPA is based only on the grades that you earn in college, there’s only one way to raise it: get better grades. If your GPA is around a 2.2, then any grade that counts for more than 2.2 points (a C+ or higher), will help increase your GPA. Vice versa, any grade that counts for less than your GPA will lower your GPA (if you have a 2.2, a C or lower will hurt you).

Any grades that are way above (or below) your GPA will make a much bigger change — an A will raise your GPA much more than a B. And any grades that are pretty much the same as your GPA will keep your GPA where it is. To improve your GPA, you need as many of the best grades that you can get.

This is pretty straight-forward and obvious, but how you go about getting better grades can definitely vary. The key to raising your grades isn’t just “get better grades”, but to identify why your grades are low in the first place. Take a minute to think and ask yourself, “what is the major reason my grades are low?”

“I’m taking really hard classes”

If you’re in a tough major, you have been (and will be) taking challenging classes all throughout college. Even when you do your best, these classes might still be so hard that you can’t earn the grades you want. Over time, your GPA will show this, and you might find yourself struggling to improve it.

The solution is simple — take easier classes. This can be tough, depending on how you have your classes planned out over the years, but if you can at all make room or time to take some easier classes, you should do it. Simple general education classes in subjects you’re strong in (or interested in) can make a big difference. It’s easy to get at least a B (if not an A) in many of these classes, since you’re already used to working hard in your current classes. The more classes like this you can find room for, the more your GPA will show it.

“I don’t have enough time to do well in every class!”

Some of us are just busy. If you have a full course load and are struggling to have enough time to keep up with it for whatever reason, you have a couple options.

For one, you could try just taking some less-demanding classes — ones that don’t require you to put so much time into them. That way, you can prioritize your schedule and give more time to the harder ones.

If that doesn’t work, considering taking fewer classes — drop a class that you don’t need and don’t replace it. This will free up time for you because you’ll have one less class to worry about. The catch here, though, is that since you’re taking fewer classes, your GPA won’t change as much as if you were taking a full load. However, 4 A’s are a lot better than 5 C’s, so it’s definitely still an option. Keep in mind that you may need a certain number of units to be a full-time student.

“I’m just not trying hard enough to do well.”

If you’re not applying yourself, then don’t be surprised that your grades aren’t what you want them to be. You need to buckle down and start trying, otherwise your grades will never improve. That’s going to take will power, and you’re going to need to muster it up.

In the meantime, a lot of the same advice works here as well — try to take easier classes and try to gradually learn to apply yourself.

Recovering from a low GPA can take a lot of time, but if you keep at it and find the best way to improve it, it can be done.