How to Get A’s Your 1st Semester of College


As a freshman college student this year, I had no idea coming into the school year how hard it would be to get the straight A’s I so easily received in high school. What I thought was hard work there, was considered absolutely nothing in college. In high school, I took Honors and A.P. classes throughout all four years, and I had a job on the side as well. I have always considered that I worked pretty hard to maintain my A’s all four years in order to get into college with a scholarship. However, the study habits ( or lack thereof) and ideas that I had been using in the past to get those grades just did not cut it in college. Thus, if you are currently a senior about to graduate and still care ( you totally should) about your GPA for college, this is how I personally achieved a 4.0 last semester.


I know most people in high school assume that if they are told to go to tutoring, or know someone who goes, they assume that the person believes that they are not intelligent enough. Moreover, one might even think , “Well, do I reeeeeally need to go, or should I just wing it? I have better things to do rather than stay after school doing this crap.” Well newsflash, that mindset will not help you in college at all. I had never been to tutoring , other than to be a tutor for others, before my freshman year of college. I assumed that I could wing it in my math and accounting classes ( even liberal classes), that I took enough notes to know the material, and bla bla bla. Guess who didn’t get the grade they expected to get? Me. After I started going to tutoring, not only did my test scores improve by 40%, but I noticed that every student who did well in the class would visit the Tutoring/ Supplemental Instruction center for whatever class they needed. The point is, if you want an A (or want to pass the class for that matter), you should go at least once a week.

2. Go to class.

If you hadn’t already heard, most professors in college could not care less if you show up to their class. They get paid regardless of your presence. However, you (or your parents) pay thousands of dollars for those classes, and if you have no intention of going and learning the material in order to pass it, then why are you even in college? Most of the material in class will be presented/lectured to you in class. You can’t ditch it and expect to know the tricky questions on the test…even with hours of studying. Trust me. Just go to class and listen, and you shall be fine.

3. Take notes. And highlight and study them later too.

So I lied in the paragraph above. You can’t just go to class and listen and be fine. Most professors will have some sort of PowerPoint in class while they lecture, but they will not post it online for you to see later. Hence, you should always, always, always take notes on things that you think are important or sound like test material while you are in class. Your notebook ( and Google) will become your best friend. After you get home, I highly suggest highlighting the important parts (or the things you forgot) while you study them. Even 5 minutes of doing this will help and make you retain the information that much better.

4. Go to office hours.

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t understand the material ( or are failing the exams), I recommend going to your professor’s office hours. They are more than happy to help usually, and most people don’t even visit them. That means you get them all to yourself for as long as they are there. Ask them questions. Show them your work. Explain why you don’t understand. Not only will you build a connection with your professor (which could come in handy when you’re at an 89.5% in their class at the end of the semester) and show that you are responsible about your GPA, but you will significantly improve your grade in the class when you understand the material after speaking to them.

5. Do NOT procrastinate.

When I say this, I truly mean it. In high school you may have been able to get away with it, but trust me when I say that in college you will not be able to get by with procrastinating. Even when I worked ahead for my classes it seemed that I was behind. Most people assume that Monday’s homework can be done Tuesday, because the next time you’ll have those classes again is on Wednesday. What they fail to understand though, is that on Tuesday you will get destroyed with even more homework. If you don’t work ahead /on time, you will end up having mental breakdowns, rushing through everything and doing a poor job which will result in crappy grades. Moreover, you will add an incredible amount of unneeded stress to your life since you’ll be trying so hard to catch up and get everything in on time. Just don’t do it. An essay here and there….maybe…but you really should give yourself time for it. Don’t leave anything until the night before…just do it when it gets assigned to you. Buy a planner, use sticky notes, do anything, but just don’t procrastinate.

Those are the 5 things that helped me achieve my straight A’s my first semester of college, and I truly hope that my advice will help you get them too. If it doesn’t work out…it’s alright. Just try to do those five things as much as you can and you’ll end up okay no matter what.

-Giulia 🙂


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