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Some people have a habit of putting forth only minimal effort in all of life’s endeavors. In college, aiming to simply earn a passing grade in each course is not enough. What you may not realize is that your GPA can follow you for years after you have graduated college, attesting to your determination and ethic to potential employers. Though an employer may not rely solely on your GPA to assess whether you should be considered further for a job opportunity, a respectable GPA certainly speaks more highly for your character than having barely fulfilled the minimal requirements of your degree. Not only will a poor GPA be a glaring imperfection on your resume when you enter the workforce, a low GPA could cause you to lose a valuable scholarship or financial aid, or waste valuable student loan funds. Achieving a respectable GPA involves consistent effort and relentless dedication in every single class, and making up for a bad start is more difficult than getting on the right track from the beginning.

One important step toward earning a great GPA is being aware of how your grade is calculated in each class. Each professor should outline the system by which your grade will be calculated at the start of the class, and the grading system can vary greatly from class to class. Be sure that you are aware of each component making up your grade and work to diligently fulfill every requirement. If pop quizzes administered during class make up a percentage of your final grade, attend every single class meeting so you will not miss one. Failing to take advantage of every opportunity to earn credit will hurt your class grade and thus your GPA.

You may need to adjust your study habits to fit each class. Attending every class meeting and diligently paying attention to the professor’s comments about exams will give you an edge when it comes to testing in a particular class. Exam and quiz formats vary greatly, from multiple choice to essay to word problems, and studying in the wrong way can be detrimental. Also important is knowing what material will be covered on each exam. Does the exam strictly cover textbook material, or is all subject matter covered in lecture also fair game? Professors often incorporate a bit of both into their exams, so attending class and taking detailed notes goes a long way.

In addition to knowing grading policies and adapting study habits, earning a high GPA requires that you be consistent. Being prepared sometimes and winging it other times is not a good strategy for building your GPA. Earning a degree is not supposed to be easy, and the students who excel are those who are consistently prepared in every class.

The numerous distractions and temptations surrounding the typical college lifestyle can make it difficult for students to remain focused on their grades. Inevitably, many college freshmen do not make it past the first year. In order to rise to the top in college and beyond, you must set high goals and be relentlessly dedicated to accomplishing them from start to finish.

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