Feeling overwhelmed: The secrets to getting good grades in college

Feeling overwhelmed?

Feeling overwhelmed? (Photo by Psy3330 W10)

You learn pretty quickly that college is a whole different ballgame from high school. And no, that’s not a reference to having to report to mom and dad where you’re going and what time you’ll be getting back. The responsibility of being on your own, making it to class, getting the course work done, planning for a future, paying for it all, well it can be a lot. Feeling overwhelmed? If your stellar classroom scores start to slip, don’t fret, here’s the skinny on how to get good grades in college.

It’s all you

Not to scare you, but how you do in college is all on you. But, that’s the beauty of it! The more you put in, the more you get back. So take charge! Start by making some smart choices about your classes. Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S. Hyman offer some advice on how to get good grades in college in an August 19, 2009 post, “15 Secrets of Getting Good Grades in College” for usnews.com. They suggest:

  • Pick the right courses — Pay attention to the course level, if it fulfills any requirements, if it works towards your major and/or it interests you.
  • Don’t overdo it — Sure you could take more courses than you have to and brag about it, but you won’t be bragging when you have no life and your grades stink. Take on only what you have to and can handle.
  • Go to class — Miss a lecture, and you are missing a lot. Sure college is about having fun, but the main point is TO LEARN. Skip class and you can pretty much guarantee your learning curve will suffer.

The slippery slope

So, say you do enjoy a bit too much of campus life and you find your grades are slipping. Don’t think you can pull them up? Don’t panic. Unlike high school, college does offer you the opportunity to drop a class. “Grades and Your GPA” on sparknotes.com shares that “Each semester has a ‘no penalty’ drop/add date close to the beginning of the semester. Be sure to drop and add classes before that date if you want a full refund or if you want to swap classes.” While there are other drop dates, those will come with some financial penalties, which you aren’t going to like.

When should you drop?

  • You aren’t doing well and you know your GPA will suffer.
  • The class description said the subject was about one thing, and it turns out to be about something else.
  • You change majors, and no longer need the class.
  • You’ve overloaded your schedule and taken on too many classes or responsibilities.

Back on track

You picked a course load that was too hard. You skipped class. You partied too hard. Whatever the cause, you got derailed, and your grades suffered. It happens. Just start working to repair the damage.

Identify where you went wrong. Eliminate the class that was dragging you down. Cut back on your “extracurricular” activities. Or simply study more. Dave Copeland wrote a post for readwriteweb.com on August 24, 2012 “ReadWriteWeb Recommends: Apps for Students” about some of the latest apps that can actually help you hit the books. He writes, “price isn’t always equal to usefulness.” So check out what the app can do before you grab it because its cheap or write it off because it costs a bit more. Also, beware of the apps that only offer scheduling or organizing functions (unless, of course, you need help in that area).

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