Ten Secrets Behind Every 4.0 Student

Surviving midterm season and beyond.

by ALEXANDRA KING ★ FEB. 25, 2019

New year, new you … right? It’s time to set goals and studious resolutions to make this the best semester yet. Feeling overwhelmed about maintaining a social life and participating in extracurriculars while keeping your grades up? Here are ten tips to raise your GPA.

1. Get a planner and actually use it!


Write down everything! During syllabus week, take the time to write out everything you have due for the next month or even the semester. Not only will this simple act help you plan your time, but you will also never miss a due date. Plus, making a list of everything you have to complete will keep you organized.

2. Talk to your professors and make sure they know your name.

It is never too late to make a good impression on your professors. Muster up the strength to introduce yourself after class or during office hours. Yes, it is so much easier to binge watch one more episode on Netflix than it is to walk to your professor’s office hours, but the extra effort is worth it. When professors or TAs successfully put a face to your name, they will be more understanding later on if you need to talk to them about anything (especially if you get attendance and participation grades for the class.) Also, some professors have snacks and dogs in their offices, so you can get more than just advice for class.

3. It’s perfectly fine to stay in and get things done, even if your friends are going out.

Do not feel pressured to party every night of the week to have fun and be included in plans. Sometimes you need to prioritize your work by staying in and doing homework. Or swerve the current Syracuse blizzard situation by having a wine night watching The Bachelor with your closest friends.

4. Write out your notes on paper.

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Yes, it is so much fun online shopping and scrolling through Facebook memes during class. But, writing out all of your notes is proven to help with memorization and understanding. Psychological Science conducted a study and found that writing notes on paper helps you process and retain the information better. Using your laptop is a huge distraction, especially if your group chat is blowing up.

5. Make friends in your classes so that you can study together.

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Whether you are a freshman or a senior, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to random people in your class to form a study group. Talk to the people around you, even if it’s just to ask for a pencil or to complain about your last current events quiz grade.

6. Take advantage of the writing centers and your TAs.

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Getting an extra set of eyes to look over your paper can help you catch any mistakes or typos you may have missed. The writing center services are completely free and the appointments are typically only 30 to 60 minutes long. If you are not a fan of the writing center, hit up your TA! Most of the time, TAs will look over a draft before you hand it in for a grade.

7. You don’t have to overload yourself with clubs from the start.

Syracuse CHAARG Facebook Group

Syracuse CHAARG Facebook Group

Avoid spreading yourself too thin by signing up for a couple of clubs to figure out which are a good fit. At the end of the day, it is smarter to perform well in a couple of clubs than barely contribute to many. If you are interested in applying for a position, commitment and prioritization is a must. Members reviewing position applications are more likely to accept someone who is involved in a small number of clubs.

8. Don’t procrastinate!

If you have a break between your classes, try to get a head-start on your work for the day. You’ll thank yourself later when it’s past 1 a.m. and all you want to do is go to bed.

9. Actually go to class!

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Many professors take attendance and count it as a part of your grade, so it’s important that you actually go to that class. Even if you aren’t paying attention, you will probably retain some of the information you hear.

10. Most importantly… sleep!

Your mental and physical health will make or break your school performance. If you are not getting enough sleep, you will burn out. Learn to close your book and shut down your devices at a reasonable time to guarantee a good night's sleep.

The biggest hack for doing well in college is finding what works best for you and maintaining the habit. Challenge yourself and work hard! You got this.

Tayler Bradford