Once you have decided what college you are going to and you are moved in, you’re going to have to get used to the rigor. Everyone will tell you how much harder college is than high school. To be honest it is hard to understand until you’re doing the work. You need to know how to get good grades in college.
The first time ever, you are going to be completely on your own with a tremendous amount of schoolwork to do. In college, there is no one forcing you to go to your classes. It is finally time for you to have to be responsible for yourself and everything else in your life.
One of the main problems that people have when they first get to college is figuring out how to study and get good grades. The smartest students from high school may struggle with grades and studying habits needed in college.
No matter how good of a student you are or how smart you think you are, you are completely capable of getting her grades in college. The key is time management and putting in the study time.
You can use this formula to help determine study time per credit hour.
1 credit hour = 2 to 3 hours studying
Example: 12 credit hours = 24 to 36 hours a week studying
The formula above shows you that going to college full-time is a full-time job.
It is completely normal for it to take one to two semesters for you to get used to college life and how to prepare well enough for your exams. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t do that well after your first semester of college.
Adjusting to college takes some time but if you work hard enough you can figure out a system that works. You can then move forward to getting great grades for the rest of your college career.
Here are some simple tips on what you can do in your first semester of college to get yourself into the groove.
Make Friends in Your Classes
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have someone that you can talk to you in your harder classes. Even if it is not someone who’s your best friend, it is so useful to have someone that you can compare answers with, study with, and run ideas through.
I have noticed that the classes that I knew people in, I could pass ideas by them or ask questions. If you don’t know anyone in your classes, start sitting by a friendly face and talking to them. Odds are you guys will end up exchanging numbers and be able to talk about the class if help is needed.
This sounds like a little thing that might not be that big of a deal, but it makes a world of difference. If you do not know a single other person taking that class, you’re going to feel all alone. You will not have anyone to run ideas past. Doing this will get you a student perspective that may help you in the class.
It is not always good to just rely on the professor or teacher assistants.
Join a Learning Community, Scholars or Honors Program
Making friends in your classes is important. There is a simple thing that you can do to put yourself with the right people at the start of school. They are going to be called different things at different universities, and smaller universities may not have as many different opportunities.
However, at my university, there are three different kinds of programs that can put you with people who are going to be in the same classes as you.
The first is a learning community.
A learning community is not about academics or involvement, it is simply about putting you in housing with those people with the same majors like you. It is on a first come first serve basis and has nothing to do with academics.
The entire point is to help you make friends who are in the same classes and programs as you. It is a wonderful idea, and I have used it to connect with some of my best friends in college.
The second is the scholar’s program.
The scholar’s program is similar to an honors program except that you have more activities outside of the classroom. You have to be accepted based on your academics and involvement in high school. You are put into housing with people with the same general major.
Examples include business scholars, art scholars, STEM scholars, etc.
Scholars programs you will more than likely have 1 to 2 seminar classes and then the rest of the involvement will be outside of the classroom. This is an amazing way to meet people that are taking the same classes as you, even if they are in the same major.
Also, since you were chosen based on academics, involvement, and your major, there is a big chance you have a lot in common. I have found some of my best friends in college to this day through my scholars’ program.
The third is the honors program.
The honors program is where you would be taking harder classes than normal students at the university. Almost every class you take is going to be an honors class and you’re going to live with other honor students. You may not necessarily be in the same class exam, but they are going to be working at the same level as you.
Another great way to keep your grades up as to join clubs. Having successful people around you will help keep you motivated. Joining clubs is a great way to find other determined students and students that you have things in common with. Having friends in your classes and in your personal life is a great way to succeed in college.
Make Study Plans
It has been said that you are way more likely to do something if you write it down. I used to think nothing of this saying, but now I know how true it is. I am so much more likely to remember and stick to something that I write down than if I just think it in my head.
One of the best things that I’ve started to do for myself is to make study plans.
If you know that you have a bunch of large exams and projects coming up, write down every single day up until these projects are due, and then write what exactly you want to get done each day.
For example, let’s say that you have an exam in one week. The best that you could do is write down every single day up until the day of the exam, and then write which chapters you’re going to study, which review questions you’re going to do, etc. for each individual day. Even if you get behind, you’re going to remember this in your head and it’s going to encourage you to get as much done as you possibly can.
This is also just a great way for you to show yourself how much work you need to do in the upcoming days and weeks. Sometimes you do not realize how much you need to do until you’re stuck in the middle of it and you haven’t done as much as you should have.
Keep a Calendar
Keeping a calendar is vital when you are in college. It is not like high school where you can turn things in late. Normally if you miss something, you are simply just going to get a zero. Especially if you happen to have missed a test exam. This is going to get you a zero in the grade book and that grade maybe a big part of your grade.
Therefore, it is so important to keep a calendar or some sort of planner. If you have everything written down at the beginning of the semester, then you are way more likely to not miss any sort of project, exam, or assignment. Missing a lot of small assignments can really add up to make a bad grade.
Another thing that is important to understand, is that you want to know when you’re going to have a lot due at the same time for different classes. You don’t want to get overwhelmed and realize you should’ve started studying and preparing sooner.
You can also get help with studying by going to Course Hero. They can better help you study in college to improve your grades.
Overall, there are many different little things that you can do to help yourself get better grades when you first go to college. It is also really important to know yourself and what you’re capable of doing. Don’t overbook yourself or schedule yourself into many classes. Do the best that you can to balance everything and work hard at every single thing that you are doing.