Tips to Stay Healthy This Semester

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Getting back into the groove of school can be challenging after winter break. You just spent a few weeks kicking back, enjoying the holidays, hanging out with friends without a care in the world. You’ve conquered finals! Nothing to worry about until new classes start! You earned a bit of relaxation.

Except now that break is over, you’re back in the real world: back to hectic schedules, walking across campus, and constantly braving the cold. The average undergrad student spends about 3 hours getting ready and walking to and from class. There’s hardly any time to focus on school work, let alone think about staying healthy — and I’m not talking about hitting the rec center.

We all get sick this time of year, but there’s a reason that college campuses get hit particularly hard. Freshmen, in particular, are vulnerable. It wouldn’t have been that bad to get sick over break — but now, just when you’re starting to get back into the swing of things? A bad cold can make it difficult to study, and bad flu can set you back a few weeks. How can you stay healthy this semester?

What Everyone Knows But Doesn’t Do

Stop it before it even starts … Diseases spread more during winter months because everyone holes up indoors. That means that all those communal surfaces have more germs than you’d think. The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. In order to prevent getting sick, follow some common sense advice!

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, regularly. If you live somewhere with cold, dry air, make sure to moisturize afterward.
  • Carry hand sanitizer for sticky situations. Many schools will give small containers out for free, so be on the lookout at career fairs and the like!
  • Don’t share straws, silverware, or pencils that have clearly been chewed on.
  • Don’t touch your mouth or face after spending time in class, the library, or any high-traffic area.
  • Get a flu shot. Most colleges offer these for free! Since this year’s flu season is going to be particularly bad, make sure you get yours.

Yeah, you might know all this already. This is just a friendly reminder to actually follow the advice this year.

Advanced Advice

Alright, those are the basics, but what else can you do to prevent from getting sick? Well, there are a couple of habits that make college students particularly vulnerable.

Are you getting enough sleep? And, no, in class doesn’t count. You probably need around 8 hours a night. That might sound like a dream, but without proper sleep your immune system is vulnerable. If you just can’t make it to 8 hours during the night, though, don’t be ashamed to take a nap. Better you lose a few hours of studying than a few days of class.

Naps can also lower your stress level, which is hugely helpful towards maintaining a healthy immune system. Make sure you are taking time to relax. Too many college students are too busy multitasking and resume-building that they work themselves to bed.

Be aware of your surroundings. This is one of the hardest things to monitor but by far the most helpful. Many college dorms are cramped spaces filled with as many people as possible. This is the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to spread. If your roommate says they are not feeling well, stock up on antibacterial wipes and vitamin C!

Know When to Get Help

Too many college kids are so worried about saving money that they spread disease and get worse when they should’ve gone to the doctor. Your college probably has a clinic on campus, and they will work with you to cut down on the cost! There’s no reason you should continue to languish in misery when there are medications and treatments to help you get back on your feet.

If you’ve been sick for more than a couple days, consider that you might have something more serious. That sore throat might be strep — the differences between the flu and pneumonia aren’t as obvious as you’d think — and having a fever for multiple days is a definitely a cause for concern. If you’re worried that this could be something more, go to the doctor and encourage friends to do the same.

Staying healthy in college is more challenging than most people think. Between classes, work, and juggling a social life, you’re stressed enough as it is. This is just one more thing to think about. However, if you’re health lags behind, you can’t really juggle anything else. Staying in tip-top shape needs to be a priority this winter. So bundle up and use your head!

How to Properly Fuel Yourself for Finals

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Finals week getting the best of a student while studying

Finals time is nearly here, and we can feel it all around campus. Everyone’s got that same desperate look in their eyes. But not us! You know why? Because we’ve learned how to properly eat for all-nighters, tests, final papers, and more! Want to learn how to make your own finals fuel out of the food you can find just about anywhere? Read on to see what you should and shouldn’t eat for the best results!

Long Study Sessions

Distraction is our biggest problem when we’re stuck in the library for hours a day. There’s just too much tempting us to look away from our texts and notecards. But, luckily, there are a few foods that can help us keep our attention!

Get out the guacamole for studying! Avocados are rich in Vitamin K and folate — both of which are essential to improve memory, focus, and energy. While you’re snacking, try some walnuts, too. They are linked to getting rid of that hazy feeling you get when you’ve been cramming for long periods of time.

Exam Day

For tests and quizzes, you need instant alertness and high-power fuel from the moment you get out of bed. With the perfect breakfast, you’ll get through your pressure-filled day with extra energy to spare.

Protein is key when you’ve got a lengthy test ahead of you. Egg yolks are awesome energy-boosting options. Add it to whole grain toast to fill you up and avoid embarrassing stomach rumblings. Another great option with similar results is salmon on a wheat bagel. For vegetarians, swap out eggs and fish for greek yogurt.

Finals paper writing

Paper Writing

Final papers require a lot of problem-solving and critical thinking. And when you’re all tapped out from other projects or your day-to-day grind, you need foods that will help you process all that information.

Green, leafy veggies, like you’d find in a giant salad, are known to help fire up your brain’s processing systems. Add some virgin olive oil or coconut oil as dressing to help fight inflammation from typing for hours.

Study Groups and Projects

Whether you love group work or hate it, you have to admit that, when you find the right people to work with, it all comes together. And having a solid study group is an even better tool. Make the work easier with shareable, natural foods everyone will love.

Let’s talk dark chocolate. You can melt it on pretzels or bake it into cookies. But either way, it’s going to help keep you at peak performance. Not only does it have natural sugars when you get the organic kind, but it also lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress! Our suggestion is to melt and cover blueberries. Blueberries are also natural stress reducers. Instant chill!

Portfolios and Creative Projects

Art, music, design, and theater majors have final exams with different demands. When your finals are more about creating or designing, you need foods that can help you think out of the box.

Before you get to your art, have a sip of green tea, which has lower levels of caffeine and promotes cognition. Then, munch on some sushi that releases dopamine. Finish your meal off with a berry pie. Apparently, Steve Jobs used to go on fruit diets to help increase his creativity in the workplace!

What to Do If You Aren’t In Love With Your Major

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When you started freshman year, you were sure you wanted to study business. But now you’re in your program and you’re starting to feel restless. This path doesn’t seem right anymore, and your classes are either too challenging or too boring. Does this sound familiar? Realizing that you’re no longer in love with your choice of major can be shocking. But there are a lot of things you can do to help make up your mind on if you should switch or not. Here’s how to get started.

Give It Time

Stress gets the best of any of us. Coursework, activities, exams, family, friends — it can be a lot to deal with when you’re in college. And that feeling of dread or restlessness can be projected on other things in your life. In some cases, that may be your major.

If it’s been a tough semester or you’ve got a lot going on, you may not want to rush to make any changes to your major. Wait until your feelings pass, you take that exam, or you get that apology from your BFF. You may find that you feel more secure about your future when you have a clearer head.

Meet With Your Advisor

Discussing potentially switching majors with your friends or classmates is a start, but it shouldn’t be the only place you go. Your advisor is your best bet. He or she can discuss your academic performance, the requirements of your current program, and alternative majors you may have in mind. Really, they are a one-stop-shop for all things majors!

Be sure to schedule your academic advising appointment ahead of any registration period as their hours fill up quickly. And if you’re talking about a whole change, of course, you’ll want to have time to review the new major’s requirements and see how it fits in with your current schedule and if it will impact graduation time.

See Into the Future

If you’re more worried about your career prospects when you graduate, skip the advisor and talk to your university’s career center. They don’t only do resume reviews. They also provide counseling for those unsure of what their major can do for them. With loads of resources and research, they know what is out there in terms of job prospects.

They can also help you discover where your talents are and if you’re in the right fitting major for your interests. Ask for a career assessment or a personality exam like Meyers-Briggs. The professional staff can review your results and give you feedback on both your characteristics and what makes you tick.

Mix It Up

If you’re seriously considering changing majors, why not try your new choice out first? Next semester, enroll in one of the required courses to see how it feels. It might turn out that you have the same feelings as you do about your current major. On the other hand, it might be the breath of fresh air you need to feel better about your choices.

Another benefit of taking courses outside your current major is that you might find that you miss it. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and seeing your old major from a new angle may show you that the grass isn’t always greener. Falling out of love with your major can be tough, but by giving your decision time, help, and professional advice, you can make the decision that is right for your future.

Should You Pull All-Nighters to Study?

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Highlighting and studying for the next exam

If you’re the procrastinating type or prefer to study at the last second, all-nighters may be your thing. But studying at night has some major downfalls for even the most dedicated night owls. On the other hand, cramming it all in the morning-of can be just as ineffective. Here’s how you can determine if you should study at night or wait for the morning — and how to maximize your time.

When to Study Til Dawn

Studying in the evening isn’t for the fainthearted. It can be exhausting and leave you reeling when you wake up the next morning. However, if you’ve got the temperament and schedule for it, you might actually be able to pull it off.

The best night students are the ones who have already conditioned their body to push past midnight. You know you’re one if bedtime is nonexistent or you love doing last minute Sudoku puzzles on your phone while your roommate sleeps. If you’ve been consistently doing this, then you’ve probably already trained your body and your mind to process information at a higher level late at night.

However, before you pick the evening, you’ll need to look at the clock. Your body needs at least seven hours of productive sleep to retain memory and have decent recall speeds. Any less and you’ll be dragging your feet. So, in other words, pulling an all-nighter for an 8 AM exam is not going to work in your favor. A 3 PM quiz, on the other hand, may just work with that sporadic sleep schedule.

If you’re going to go until the early morning, be sure you do it right. Avoid studying in bed or on a comfy chair you could potentially fall asleep on. Take breaks to move around or find new areas to study at. Drink your coffee, tea, or caffeinated soda early in your study session. And try smell techniques like with smelling lavender-scented essential oils to keep your mind alert all night long.

Note cards are one of the best studying tools

When to Leave It Til Morning Of

The morning of a test is a pretty risky choice, but sometimes it just happens. Whether you crash trying to stay up all-night or you just prefer to go from sunrise till class starts, those essential, last-minute study sessions sneak up on you.

Champion morning-study students have a few things in common. For one, they are regimented and know how to manage their time. You may be this type of person if you’re up early for a morning walk at the same time every morning. Morning studiers are also more visual learners who can process information quickly with items like flashcards or sample exams.

When deciding between night and morning, again consider your schedule. Hopefully, you’re well-rested so excessive drowsiness isn’t an issue. That’s a big win for morning studying. If you can commit to getting to bed early the night before, the morning might be the best time to study. You’ll also want to have at least one solid hour before your test and some time for fueling with a healthy breakfast.

If you want to pick the morning, it’s more about how you cram than when. Visual aids like flashcards or even simple slide shows work best while you’re still waking up. Singing songs or making up anagrams also stick in your mind for last-minute crams. Finally, don’t forget to move frequently and to break up studying into 25-30 minute sessions with 5-10 minute breaks in between so you can reset your brain before you hit the exam. Ultimately, whether you study at night or during the day, you can ace that exam if you know how your body and mind best works.

Stop Being a Summer Zombie!

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We look forward to summer vacation all year, but about halfway through it can get stagnant. Yeah, you’re probably busy meeting all your goals, working a job, and padding that resume. Friends and family fit somewhere in there. But there are plenty of people who spend their summer vacation doing nothing, relishing the time when their biggest concern is determining what to watch on Netflix that day. Whichever camp you fall into, busy bee or couch potato, the fact remains that you’re probably not being as mentally stimulated as you are in the school year.

But during the summer? The brain drain is real. Zoning out every once in awhile is okay, but doing so for such an extended period of time makes you run the risk of becoming a zombie. Furthermore, engaging your mind frequently benefits your future career, as well as your grades, come fall.

So, how do you get the cogs in motion again without writing a term paper on your vacation? Well …

Keep Up on the News

Look, I know it’s complicated. Not only is it difficult to piece together everything happening around the world, but who’re you supposed to trust? That’s ultimately up to you, as everyone will have different political leanings, but try to assess every story’s validity. Read multiple different sources for every story, and you’ll eventually get a feel for which sources are reflecting a viewpoint and which ones are truly reporting the news.

Current events are a great way to keep your gears moving, and you’ll definitely impress your political science professors come fall.

Don’t Neglect Math!

Math is one of, if not the, most hated subjects out there, but it’s generally required at most universities for a good number of majors. If you’ve finished your mathematics requirements, maybe you can ignore this one, but math can be very useful for everyone, no matter your career field.

Understanding statistics helps you understand how the world actually works; knowing how to convert units helps with baking or building; realizing the true effect of percentages can help you understand how student loan interest affects your life after college. Math doesn’t come easy to everyone, but thinking about how math actually affects your life might help you care a little more. Consider any math problem, no matter how simple, like a puzzle to spur your brain on.  If it’s something very important, like your monthly budget or your savings, there’s no shame in using a calculator, but try to do it in your head first.

Have Good Discussions

Just because you don’t have to write a paper on the latest book you read doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t analyze it. Sometimes having a soundboard can reveal illogical assumptions you made — or even lead you to question your original position. Even if books aren’t your thing, you can have valuable discussions about anything: current events, a TV show, trends you notice in your own friend group, football, whatever. Just try to go a little bit below the surface, and it might spur interest in something you never thought about before.

Furthermore, keeping up-to-date on a variety of issues will help you have better conversations. If you’re well-informed on most topics, most people will probably want to talk to you. And who doesn’t want to be known as the smart one?

Organize!

Having a clean space is not just to put your mom at ease. It has actual physical and mental benefits too. It’ll improve your productivity, letting you focus easier instead of slumping back into bed. Being messy might not seem like a big deal to you, but when you consider that this will help you live an all-around healthier life, it’s really a no-brainer.

So whether you need to find space for your clothes or just keep them off the floor, clean your room! Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to fulfill all the stereotypes.

Keeping mentally sharp is a task that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Eventually, you’ll finish school, and you’ll have to do it completely on your own. Right now, you can rely on classes to expose you to new ideas, but don’t slack off during summer vacation just because you can! As your classmates shake off summer stupidity after returning to class, you’ll wow your professors and feel better than ever.

Some of the Easiest (and Fun!) Electives

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Picking your perfect class schedule needs a lot of consideration and planning. Of course, there are your required courses for your major and prereqs, but what about electives? These are the perfect opportunity to take a break and explore some subjects or skills outside your major. These elective courses are top on our list for how easy and fun they can be!

 

Group Guitar or Piano

Who doesn’t want to learn a new instrument? How about doing it with your BFF by your side? Group music classes are an awesome way to unwind and pick up a fun skill you can show off at the end of the semester.

 

World Music

Speaking of music, there is a ton of music electives you could pick from, but none are more fun than world music courses. You’ll love hearing and experiencing different sounds, instruments, and folk music from different cultures.

 

Improv or Acting

Skip Public Speaking and take an acting course instead. It’ll help you get over any fear you may have for presentations and teach you a lot about your body, mind, and emotions.

 

Psychology 101

If this course isn’t already required of you, sign up now! It’s perfect for understanding how other people think and act, and we promise you’ll use what you learn in your workplace.

 

Physical Education

Most schools require some physical education courses, so there’s a ton to choose from that falls in this category. Check out sports like yoga, meditation, horseback riding, archery, and rowing.

 

college-easy-fun-electives

 

Creative Writing

We all secretly dream of telling our story, so why not get a head start from a professional? Creative writing is the elective to take if you love blogging, journaling, or storytelling.

 

Personal Finance

Hey, it may not be the most interesting elective, but it will be used in your future, especially if you have student loans to pay back.

 

Film Studies

Grab the popcorn! Film studies may sound like you’ll be trapped in a movie theater, but in reality, you’ll watch movies critically and learn how your favorite shows are made.

 

IT Basics

You don’t have to be a techie to get something out of an IT or computer science-based class. Classes like programming, technology in your field, or computers in sociology can apply to what you want to do with your future and give you a marketable skill to put on your resume.

 

Anthropology

Anthropology, the study of cultures and societies, is a great, eye-opening class to take when you’re a history buff in the making! You’ll get an understanding of how civilizations are built, destroyed, and rediscovered.

 

Photography

Improve your selfie game with a photography class. You’ll learn about lighting, photo editing, and tricks of the trade. No Instagram filter required.

 

Intro to Foreign Language

We said easy, right? One semester of a foreign language doesn’t have to be a challenge. Take it as a break class (such as J-Term) and pick up basics for travel like greetings, asking questions, or complimenting a new friend.

 

 

Six Steps to Surviving Summer Classes

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Your friends may be off on awesome summer vacays or interning with their dream job, but you are, unfortunately, stuck back in the classroom getting your summer classes done with. Total bummer. However, it’s not all that bad. There are some pluses of taking summer classes like saving cash on regular tuition or potentially graduating early. If you’re struggling to see the positives of sacrificing your break for a few course credits, here’s six steps for surviving summer classes.

 

Step 1: Make a Vision Board

Sometimes the best way to see the forest through the trees is to visualize the end game. Get a little arts and craftsy by creating a vision board (or even just a vision piece of paper) that spells out why you are in class during the summer. For example, snap out pictures that convey graduating debt free or early or what you would look like in that high-paying first job. Keep it in your wallet or near the door so you can see it before you head to school.

 

Step 2: Cut Out Procrastination

Here’s your summer motto: “Get your stuff done now so you can party later.” Most summer classes don’t last the entire break or at least have a week or so off for you to enjoy. You’re going to want to maximize that time by having everything, including final papers, presentations, group work, etc., done way ahead of time. This way you can lounge on the beach for a few extra days while your classmates struggle to meet the deadline.

 

Step 3: Give Yourself a Break

If you’re not in class every day, be sure to take off one or two days for summer fun. If possible, don’t touch your school work. Don’t study, and don’t even think about classes. Instead, turn it into your special summer weekend and plan your warm weather adventures around it. You’ll thank yourself for adding a little R&R between classes.

 

Step 4: Be Realistic With Your Classes

It’s still early on in the summer semester, so you may have some flexibility to drop if necessary. The truth is that there are a lot of summer distractions, and unless you’re fully committed, you could put yourself in jeopardy if you take on too much work. Pick your summer course schedule so you can pass your classes, boost your GPA, and pick up whatever skills you need. Don’t take any course that is too challenging or not absolutely needed.

 

Step 5: Make It Social

If you’re taking summer classes with a friend or are making friends in your course, create some opportunities to mix business with pleasure. Start a study session around the pool. Go to the beach to review over your notes. Quiz one another while getting late night ice cream. That way, you’ll kill two birds with one stone.

 

Step 6: Catch Some Sunshine During Class

Summer classes are usually scheduled for longer blocks of time. Some are even all day! This is good and bad news. On one hand, you’ll get your class done and over with quickly. On the other, you’ll be stuck in a classroom all day. To survive this type of summer class, be sure to take advantage of longer in-class breaks to go outside, stretch your legs, and soak in the sun.

 

Summer classes are survivable if you schedule them correctly. Be sure to add some time to relax and have fun, and always remember the benefits when times get tough. By doing these steps, you can make summer semester work for you.

How to Make the Perfect Fall Semester Class Schedule

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Spring is done, and fall is right around the corner. That means it’s time to start thinking about next year’s classes and schedules. With a little bit of prep work and planning, you can easily build a schedule that works for you. These are the steps you need to follow if you want to make the perfect fall class schedule and rock your fall registration.

 

Step One: Check Your Registration Status

All schools do registration differently. Some prioritize seniors, while others do a random pick. You may be required to register in person if you’re a freshman or will be totally on your own if you’re an upperclassman. Most, however, separate students into some kind of group which designates the orders in which you will register.

In many cases, you may qualify for what is frequently called “priority registration.” This designation is to give students who need a leg up on other students a chance to register in the first few rounds. If you think you may qualify, check with your advisor as soon as possible.

 

Step Two: Learn the Rules on Add/Drops

Many schools provide you with the ability to register for a larger amount of classes than you actually need. This allows you to use the time before the drop period ends to see what courses work best for you. In other words, you’ve got a few days to a week to explore what’s out there!

Still, make sure you understand the rules about how to register for classes you may want to drop later. And, be sure to put a reminder in your calendar to drop the classes you decide against before the drop deadline!

 

Step Three: Knock Out Your Requirements First, Electives Last

Most advisors will recommend that you spend your first few semesters in college knocking out your pre-reqs first, especially if you’re not 100% sure about your major. These classes often fill up quickly, so be sure you have learned the schedules of those classes and monitor them if you’re registering near the end so you can snatch up the last seats quickly.

Electives, while important, should be the last thing on your mind. They should fill up the gaps in your schedule and be your most flexible in terms of timing in case you need to swap them out for a more important class.

 

Step Four: Find a Balance

It’s crucial that you know what your classes are like before you enroll. Use sites like ratemyprofessors.com to feel out if you’re in for a ton of work or if the class is one you can float by. You can also request a syllabus from last year’s class if the professor’s been around for a while.

Try to find a good mix of challenging and fun. If the class is too easy or dry, you’ll be bored and disinterested. If it’s overly difficult, you’ll likely drop out or burn out by midterms. Understand your comfort level, and don’t push too hard unless absolutely necessary.

 

Step Five: Double and Triple Check Your Schedule Plans

One of the easiest mistakes to make when it comes to registration is not understanding your required classes! Everyone from seniors to freshman do this, so you really do need to loop in your advisor in if you have any questions or concerns. Have them look over your plan A and plan B schedule and keep an ongoing list of your required courses on hand so that you can review with them if there are questions.

While you may have their help, it is on you to get your registration right. By coming prepared, having a plan, and doing your research, you can make a fall class schedule that’s perfect for you.

Five Successful Habits from Incredible Student Leaders

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I have been lucky to work with some incredible students. These students have earned 3.8+ GPAs, been high performers in Student Leadership positions, worked part-time, and made incredible memories. They lived the dream, right? I’ve put together five trends I have seen from the incredible, and if you start applying these you will see incredible results too.

The number one thing incredible students have in common is urgency. Every successful student and successful person for that matter has urgency. They feel like they don’t have time to waste and they never stop growing or learning. It is ok you have to take a class with content you don’t care about, the incredible students understand that they will have to do things they aren’t passionate about in their future job too. Now matters. So if you are in a class where you don’t see a purpose, find a purpose. Why spend any of your time frustrated, bored, or coasting? Be fueled by the desire to achieve.

The second trend of incredible students is that they have an elevated circle of influence. Your friends, the people you spend the most time around, help you determine what is acceptable. That means how much time you study, what grades you pursue, and how hard you work. If you want to increase any of those levels, start elevating your circle of influence. The incredible students I worked with were selective with those they spent time around. Even within their Student Leadership teams, the incredible students still surrounded themselves with others that supported and pushed their levels of effort.

Being an incredible student is no cakewalk. These students were always the busiest that I knew. To operate at that level they had to manage their time and relationships well. Incredible students break down their classes and their time. They know what is coming, what has to be done, and who they need to involve to help them get there. Incredible students build and maintain relationships with their teachers, even the ones in classes that don’t cover their favorite subjects. If you want to be incredible, learn to communicate and organize your time. You only get today once, are you gonna waste it?

To be incredible, you have to know yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? The incredible students identify these and then focus only on maximizing their strengths. Use your strengths to boost your performance and figure out how to excel. If you aren’t very organized but communicate really well, then always communicate with your teachers, classmates, and bosses. Increase your level of communication and your relationships will help you stay on top of your responsibilities.

Incredible students live above the opinions of others. These high performing leaders aren’t bothered when people call them nerds, or boring, or a loner. You will never please everyone, so why waste any time worrying about the expectations of others. Live in your own reality, and remember, just because someone says something or you have a negative thought doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

You’ll notice that none of those trends have anything to do with natural talent. Maximizing your strengths doesn’t mean developing new ones, it is identifying what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t. Effort, focus, priorities, and work. That is what will get you there. Which of these trends do you need to work on? How will you adapt these to your situation? Figure it out, start doing, and start being incredible.

How to Get Help for Low Grades

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For a college student, grades are more important than ever. A low grade can have a negative impact on academic plans, cause a late graduation, or even force a change in major. Whether it is a poor grade on a major assignment, midterm or final, students suffer. However, one bad grade in a particular class doesn’t have to be the end of the world. By following some simple steps, you can take charge of your academics and turn your bad grade into an opportunity for success.

  • Chat with your instructor

If you’re struggling in a particularly difficult class, your professor or TA should be your first stop. The instructor of your class can provide you with insight on where you are struggling and how you can improve. Their recommendations will prove invaluable for improving your grade before important deadlines or examinations.

Your instructor will also likely have open hours to discuss your work and progress throughout the term. If you are struggling with a particular concept or unit in your class, be sure to utilize any time the professor provides. It will at the very least display your dedication to improving your grade and may give you the chance for greater insight on how to do so.

  • Consult with classmates

You are likely not the only person receiving low grades in a challenging class. While it can be hard to admit it to your peers, many others would love to talk or vent about their frustrations. And from your discussions, you may be able to get a better picture of how other classmates have succeeded or struggled.

One of the best ways to make the most out of this is to set up a regular study or homework group. A study group can be particularly beneficial for courses that require a ton of reading or note memorization.

  • Seek on-campus resources

Many colleges and universities offer students resources to improve grades. From tutoring centers to specific remedial course workshops, colleges ultimately want students to succeed. More than likely, your professor or advisor will have a good understanding of what resources will be applicable to your specific needs.

Upperclassmen, graduate students, and Ph.D. students can also be great resources. While not always free or covered by tuition, finding someone who has taken the course previously or who has a specialty in the subject area can be well worth the price. Put up fliers or ask around the school or department.

  • Check online resources

Free or paid classes are often offered through tutoring or learning classrooms and can be a great resource if you prefer to improve low grades on your own. Some colleges even provide free, downloadable classes or seminars that are open to the public. A simple Google search will most likely provide you with tons of options in your subject area.

  • Make a long-term plan

If you continue to try to improve your grades on your own but still find yourself at risk of failing or receiving a low grade, it’s time to get real about your academic plan. Begin by figuring out your options. Most colleges have very strict class add/drop/withdrawal rules and deadlines. Depending on your school’s policy, you may be able to remove the class without penalty; or you might be required to take a ‘withdrawal’ or ‘incomplete’ grade in order to keep a low grade from appearing on your transcript.

Your academic advisor is the best person to turn to if you are unsure how a low grade may affect your plan or progress. Check with them before making any decision. They are trained to know the alternatives and how best to get you back on track.

A low grade doesn’t have to be a death sentence or the end of your academic career. Making improvements is possible by focusing on your studies early and often and by reaching out to others when you’re in need. Whatever you do, do not give up and do not give in. Academic progress is only a few study groups or tutoring sessions away.

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