Batting averages are an important indicator of how well a baseball player knows and plays the game. The price of a stock is a reflection of how successful a company is. The amount of salary awarded for a job is an indicator of how important that job is. And like those benchmarks, a college grade point average is a good indicator to potential employers of how well a student performed in college. But getting and maintaining a good grade point average is not an easy task―it requires determination, dedication, and a constant focus on the end result.
Make a plan and stick to it
College life is remarkably different from high school. Teachers aren't around to remind you of the things you have to do, and extracurricular and social activities for can quickly become overwhelming and time-consuming. You have to take charge of your own schedule, your own responsibilities, and your own schoolwork. Put together a calendar that lists all of your classes and class times, upcoming exams, and papers that are due, and perhaps even schedule study times each week for each course. The grades you get depend solely on what you do yourself. Take control of your GPA from the get-go by making a plan for success and sticking to it.
Select the right courses, but not too many at once
When you're planning out your college curriculum, you have a wide variety of choices available to you. There are standard curriculum courses that every student must take, but there are dozens more that you will select yourself. Be sure to pick classes that you think you can excel in, and that are interesting to you. Don't simply accept a 'standard program' of courses picked out by your student advisor; take control of your education and put together a curriculum that you will do well with. You'll perform better and make better grades if you select classes that stimulate you and keep your interest. But be sure not to overload yourself. Although some students think they should take as many hours as allowed by the school, doing so can easily cause you to fail. A good rule of thumb is to take no more than five courses each semester, and focus on one major degree. Every major degree program requires at least 10 to 12 specific courses, so loading yourself with classes you're forced to attend can wreck your GPA.
Be present and pay attention
Unlike high school, college professors don't take attendance and send you to the principal's office if you cut class. Your attendance in class is entirely up to you, and you won't be penalized for cutting class. Except that for every lecture you miss out on, you risk irreparable damage to your GPA by not having the information you'll need to pass exams. In many classes, the major part of midterm and final tests are taken from lectures, not from reading material. So you need to be present in every class, and take notes religiously. Don't worry about how your notes are structured, and don't try to adhere to some specialized note-taking system; just be sure to get down everything your professor says. You can clean up your notes later. Pay special attention to anything that is written on the board, and any PowerPoint presentations that might be used.
Take your studies seriously, because your future depends on them
A high school diploma is necessary to get into college, but once you're there, the diploma no longer matters. But a college degree will set the tone for your career, and for the rest of your life. Students who place their college studies at the top of their list of priorities regularly get 'A' grades and have high GPAs. Budget your time appropriately and find a good environment for studying. Limit your social networking to actual downtime and to scheduled free time. Use appropriate scholarly material and websites for doing research.
The most important part of being able to achieve a good GPA and pave the way to a rewarding post-grad career is to believe in yourself. Don't be sidelined by your parent's expectations and criticisms; don't let previous missed opportunities undermine your confidence; and don't let peer pressure and outside influences distract you from the ultimate goal setting of attending college in the first place. The college accepted you as a student because they believed you could perform well and accomplish the goal of attaining a degree. Work hard to prove them right, and you can conquer the world.