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Seven easy ways to dig your grades out of the grave

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

By Gabby Eubanks

Associate Editor

Many students struggle to keep up with their coursework for college, especially with the complications of doing school in a pandemic with many courses being administered through unconventional platforms. This year with more classes offered online, assignments seem to pile up and it’s easy to get behind.

1. Don’t panic

It may seem impossible to get back up to a passing grade when looking at the numbers on the screen, but don’t give up! According to the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment, stress is the number one life issue that students say affects their studies. Panicking does nothing to help the situation. Staying calm and rational helps keep you from going into a panic and making irrational decisions.

2. Talk to your teacher

Most teachers are willing to help if you just reach out, but they won’t know how to help if you don’t communicate with them. One of the main pieces of advice incoming freshmen and even returners are made aware of is that email is crucial to doing well in college and most professors use it as their main platform of communication.

3. Set up tutoring appointments

At Rochester, we have many opportunities for tutoring with the on-campus ACE Lab and Smart Thinking, a 24/7 online tutoring service available through your student portal. You can also set up private meetings with your teacher to have one-on-one time with them to better understand the course material.

4. Turn in all your work

It might sound self-explanatory, but turn in your assignments! It’s hard to get back on top but many professors are willing to accept late work if they know you’re really trying to do better and some may give partial credit. That being said, it is easy to let the pit of late work keep growing and continue the cycle of turning in late assignments, but to really get back on track, students need to make an effort to start turning assignments in on time.

5. Schedule study time

Being intentional about when you do your work and incorporating it into your schedule ensures that you will never forget to do it. Setting up a specific time to do each class’ homework makes late work a thing of the past. Humans are creatures of habit afterall. A study by Washington University in St. Louis found that “Students engaged in group work, or cooperative learning, show increased individual achievement compared to students working alone. So reach out to classmates and develop a study group. This can also be beneficial to get you where you need to be.

6. Understand your requirements

Every class has a syllabus and it never hurts to go over it multiple times throughout the semester to make sure nothing goes unnoticed. Assignments can sneak up on the best of us so refreshing your memory with the syllabus can be helpful. Knowing exactly how many points you need in order to pass the class can also help determine whether or not it’s even possible to catch up.

7. Don’t be afraid to withdraw

Though some students don’t like the idea of withdrawing from a class and take it as a mark of failure or giving up, withdrawing is still not as bad as receiving an F on a transcript. Some students don’t realize that if there is no way to catch up in a class, withdrawing is still better than an F because it will not affect your GPA.



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