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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Surviving College Finals Week Madness

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Finals week is known for the anxiety it provokes: hyperventilating in a library study room, binging on junk food, getting very little sleep, and so on. However, suffering through final exams and papers doesn’t mean we have to let go of our health and sanity. Making thoughtful, health-centered decisions can actually help you perform better on your exams and lessen your test anxiety. Here are some simple steps you can take today.

 

1. Load Up Your Pantry

Healthy food and meals means not crashing on coffee and junk food or dealing with stomach pains during your exam. Load up on servings of fruits and veggies. Bring fruit bars, soups, and whole wheat snacks to your study room. And don’t forget to hydrate! Water is important for keeping up your energy.

 

2. Take Your Vitamins

If you’re stuck with cafeteria options only, a vitamin can ensure you’re getting a dose of what you need. Some good brain-boosting vitamins are D3 (which are also great if you’re indoors during darker nights), folic acid for memory, and B-complex to help reduce stress. If you’re having trouble sleeping, go for all-natural melatonin instead of sleep aids.  

 

3. Take Advantage of De-Stress Perks

Most likely, your college offers fun ways to de-stress during finals. Some popular ideas include cuddling with therapy dogs, getting a 10-minute massage, taking a yoga class, or learning basic meditations. You can even see if they provide nap rooms or dark spaces if you’re a commuter in need of a nap.

 

4. Find Time for Breaks

Breaks are important for retaining information and lowering pressure. One method you can use is called the Pomodoro Technique. Study or work for 20 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Use your phone’s timer to keep you on track. And you’re easily distracted, use extensions to your browser that ban you from sites like Facebook for a period of time.  

 

5. Keep Up Your Gym Routine

Make time to sweat! It helps clear your mind and recoup from a long day of test-taking. Plus, working out can help keep your immune system running. Another reason to get your morning run in is that routines like this can help you ease stress and give you the sense that today’s just another day, even if there’s a test at the end of it.

 

6. Reward Yourself With Self-Care

Who says your only reward for surviving finals should be your grade? Save up for finals week and enjoy your favorite restaurant with friends or get a manicure or pedicure. Space out your rewards so that you are motivated to stay on track. By picking relaxing rewards, you do double duty in following through and keeping your anxiety at a low.

 

7. Check-In With Loved Ones

If the stress is too much, don’t just carry it on your back for the entire week. Schedule a call to someone you love and trust to get your vent time in. By talking through your worries or problems, you may be able to see the solution that wasn’t there before. Reaffirming that you have someone who loves and supports you no matter what will help you survive college final week madness with your friends and family seeing you through.

 

How to Deal With Your First Bad Grade in College

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Dealing with Bad Grades College

According to Mae Mobley (in the picture below, from the movie The Help), everything seems like the world is coming to an end when you got your first bad grade. Whether it is a test, project or oral presentation that you didn’t do so well on, DON’T FREAK OUT! It really is not the end of the world! Read along for some helpful tips I learned from upperclassmen on how to deal with your first bad grade.

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DON’T GIVE UP:

  • One bad grade won’t kill you. For example, I just recently did poorly on my English paper and I learned you will do better on the next one. If you admit defeat this early, you aren’t going to improve! Keep a positive mindset and positive things will come.

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MEET WITH YOUR TEACHER:

  • If you’re not satisfied with your grade, go to your professor’s office hours and work something out. They will give you feedback and you will see what you did wrong. This helps you avoid making the same mistake twice.

STUDY WITH FRIENDS:

  • If you’re like me and you’re a bad test taker, maybe start studying with a group of friends who take the same classes as you or are in your class.

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 MEDITATE:

  • One thing I sometimes meditate and listen to calming and soothing music when it’s just one of those bad days. It will help you clear your head, especially when you’re having trouble focusing on an assignment. Carve out ten minutes to meditate – whether it’s listening to a meditation podcast, calming music, or just silently sitting on the floor.

GET A LAUGH:

  • Watch some friends, have a girls night and relax. Try not to think about it…tomorrow is another day. If you obsess over it, it will put you in a bad headspace, which you don’t want to have when going into your next assignment or project.

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Moral of the story is that it isn’t the end of the world if you get a bad grade. Make sure you do your due diligence going into the next graded assignment, whether it’s speaking with the professor or scheduling a regular study hour. And make sure to remain positive – this isn’t the end of the world, and you certainly have the opportunity to make it up on the next assignment.