Bad Habits That Destroy Your GPA
David Replogle - The Real College Guide
Bad Habits That Destroy Your GPA
Can’t sleep? Catch up on much-needed z’s with these expert tips for remedying what may seem as an incurable case of insomnia.
Dean Wormer lines up five of Faber College’s finest in his office for a little chat about their GPAs near the close of Animal House, and you know it’s going to be good. After making his way through four horrendous report cards, he finally stops on seven-year student Bluto Blutarsky, played by the late John Belushi.
“Mr. Blutarsky … 0.0,” Wormer says with a sneer.
Too bad for Bluto, GPA is one of those dreaded acronyms that sticks long after college ends. It’s a number that matters to hiring managers and grad school recruiters. So it’d better be in good shape.
Here are five simple ways to keep your grades higher than the boys’ from Delta Tau Chi.
THE PROB: You’re a Pro at Procrastination
Whether you were the type who made flashcards for every high school test or the one who somehow managed to score good grades without ever cracking a book, the playing field is leveled in college. With midterms, finals and a couple of big papers due, the stars will eventually align, and you’ll end up having every big assignment crammed into a span of 48 hours.
THE SOLUTION: Pace Yourself
Avoid getting slammed with work overload, by making the most of your limited study time. First of all, get off on the right foot by actually reading your syllabi! Cover to cover. The only thing worse than trudging through an academic week from hell is being surprised by one, so record every class’s major deadlines on one shared calendar. Ole Miss University junior Angela Leis offers up another piece of advice when figuring out how to keep everything from piling up at once: “Study a little bit every night. That way, you’ll have time to actually go out and enjoy yourself.” Toga party at Delta House anyone?
THE PROB: You Don’t Stand out
You’re afraid to approach a professor after class? Get over that. Office hours aren’t only for questions about a grade or the syllabus. If you need help, you should ask. It’s important that you’re in good standing with your professors so they think positively of you … especially when they’re doling out precious class participation grades.
THE SOLUTION: Kiss Some Butt
Stopping by a professor’s study with a sincere comment about how much you liked the last class is a good start. Building a rapport opens up the possibility for a potential advisor, and in the future, reference letters for grad school and jobs. But a lot of times, especially in big lecture-style classes, your fate rests in the hands of teachers’ assistants. If that’s the case, go out of your way to approach them. They’re usually young and willing to help, and can offer insight about what would be a good topic for a paper or response on a test. (They would know since they often grade them!) Make a goal of introducing yourself to at least one professor and one T.A. each semester.
THE PROB: The Social Life Rules!
Between classes, meetings, sports, more classes and more meetings, it’s easy to want to really cut loose when it comes to your nightlife -- which often spills into the a.m. Sure, college is a time to experiment and throw yourself into stuff you’ll never experience again, but no wonder you’re exhausted. Partying too hard can suck the energy right out of you … and your GPA.
THE SOLUTION: Don’t Be a Superhero
Hannah Richardson, a junior at Bates College, says, “Finding a balance between doing work and having fun is important, but you also need to find some time to relax. Do something selfish every once in a while.” Try to spend at least half an hour away from the grind each day. Take a quick nap, write in a journal or wail into that Rock Band mike. Maybe hit some golf balls on the quad. Fore!
THE PROB: You Neglect Your Bod
A healthy body equals a healthy mind. But unfortunately, both can take a beating in the college environment. Reading until the wee hours may seem intellectually stimulating, but it saps you of much-needed sleep. That’s not good brain food. Oh, and speaking of food, the cafeteria usually offers some pretty tantalizing but not-so-healthful menu options. And that week or two away from the gym? Um, not so smart either.
THE SOLUTION: Do a Balancing Act
Be a triple threat! A lot of powerful research has proven that sleep, diet and exercise affect the way our brains function. So treat your body well by snoozing eight hours every night, eating healthfully and being physically active. That way, you’ll get to class, be motivated to study and get good grades.
THE PROB: You Think School Is a Drag
You think college is a bore, so you find yourself skipping classes or skimping on reading … or both? Not a good idea. Even if an instructor doesn’t count attendance toward your grade, you’re likely to miss some valuable lesson time if you cut out. And flaking on required reading is really only cheating yourself. You’re there to get an education, remember? But that definitely doesn’t mean it has to be a total snore.
THE SOLUTION: Take What You Want
Look through your directory for courses that sound intriguing, because being into a subject matter is huge when trying to bump up that GPA. “Take classes you like and that you’re interested in,” says University of Virginia junior Sloane Beaver. “Then you will actually be motivated to study.” And if not? You may just end up with that 0.0 after all.
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