Now that we are in the second semester of the school year, it is a good time to look at your GPA (grade point average), and determine if it is a good reflection of you as a student. Your grade point average is an important factor for college admissions, in addition to the difficulty of courses you take. A GPA can be calculated in several different ways, and can vary from state to state or school to school on the method used to calculate it. Simply, your cumulative GPA is the sum of all your course grades throughout your high school career divided by the total number of credits. Calculations can differ depending on whether your school uses “+” and “-“ with letter grades, whether they use a weighted method in which classes worth more credits factor heavier into the calculation, or if you take Advanced Placement or Honors classes.
At one time or another, you will receive a grade on your report card that you are not happy with. A poor grade will affect your GPA, but it is not the worst problem, and can be corrected with time. Improving your GPA means you will need to get higher grades in the next semester. Let’s look at several ways to improve your grades during the semester:
1) Talk to your Teacher. The best first step you can take to improve your grade is to talk with your teacher, letting him/her know you want to do better and ask for their advice. Teachers appreciate students having a conversation with them, and can offer feedback on areas for you to focus on.
2) Ask for Extra Credit. While talking to your teacher, ask if there are additional assignments you can do for extra credit in the class to help boost your grade.
3) Participate in Class. Do not be shy about speaking up and asking or answering questions in class. Many teachers give points for class participation. By engaging in discussions and being active during class time, your teacher will see that you want to do better.
4) Find a Study Group. Working together with your peers is one of the best ways to understand the class material. Make friends with your classmates so you can communicate with them when you need help completing homework. Remember that working together is not the same as copying or cheating. Collaborating with your classmates can help each of you to understand the work more clearly.
5) Get a Tutor. If you are continuing to struggle with understanding the class, it may be necessary to hire a tutor to help. It is always beneficial to have someone besides your teacher to help explain class topics and homework. Your AHLI Coordinator can help you find a tutor for any of the school classes you are struggling with the most.
With patience and effort, you will see your hard work pay off with higher grades at the end of the semester, resulting in an upward climb of your GPA. A higher GPA will improve your chances to be accepted to the college of your choice, as well as receiving scholarships.
Tiffanee M. Wright, MA, MPH | Executive Director
AHLI – International Education and Homestay