Embrace These 10 Character Traits From Straight A's and See Your Grades Soar
The excitement and anticipation of beginning college often carry along with it a certain amount of trepidation and even fears. You might wonder if you will make new friends if you will face homesickness or perhaps if you picked the right major. Even more significant concerns for many college-bound young men and women, and maybe for you, revolve around handling the rigorous classes and achieving good grades. You want to get straight A's in college, but what steps do you need to take to make this happen?
Why Straight A's?
Top marks go beyond a fantastic grade point average. Not only do they indicate a mastery of the course content, but they also imply total focus, the ability to determine and fulfill the requirements of the professor, excellent time management and productive working relationships with other students. In short, straight A's prove to yourself and others you can do what it takes to get the job done.
You're on Your Own
You've reached the culmination of your dreams and completed the preparations provided by your parents and school. Whether you had helicopter parents or ones who tended to be more hands-off, you probably had some supervision and support from home. With your high school's grading software and communication systems, your parents or guardian could go online anytime and check your progress. Likewise, high school counselors often made appointments mandatory, and they kept track of your academic development.
Now you have the freedom and responsibility to decide what you want to accomplish and how to go about it. Like many areas in life, following good role models may help you succeed in your college endeavors. Not surprisingly, students with straight A's exhibit many common traits. Emulating as many of their characteristics and habits as possible typically leads to improved grades and achievements. Take a closer look at the attributes these exemplary students exhibit.
They maintain a positive and grateful attitude.
Outstanding students believe they can complete their classes, but it is not a blind or cocky viewpoint. They realize they need to put in the time, study and effort for every A and understand there may be setbacks along the way. They view challenges as opportunities and know that persistence is the key to victory.
They choose their classes.
Even in college, it is possible to abdicate some decisions, such as the details of your class schedule. You might decide to follow a standard plan for your program or go by your advisor's suggestions. While respecting college personnel and carefully weighing their advice, straight A's make their final choices based on their interests and needs. Every major has non-negotiable required courses, but you may fulfill some requirements with different options. An English major, for example, who needs to take a science course can often choose from a variety of classes, such as astronomy or geology. Having an interest in the class typically makes it easier to obtain a good grade. Go over your final selections with an advisor or department head to make sure they count toward graduation.
They set priorities for everything.
Straight A's know the most important things they need to accomplish for the semester, the week and each day, and they plan their schedules accordingly. College offers many social and cultural experiences beyond academics, but students who earn outstanding grades make their classes their first precedence.
Set priorities each week for every individual class and include an estimate of the time it will take to accomplish the goals. For long-term projects, such as final papers or special presentations, divide the assignment into milestones and set a deadline for each one.
Straight A's stay ahead of the game.
Focused students get their college careers off to a good start by attending orientation sessions, keeping appointments with advisors and asking questions when they don't understand something. They make a concerted effort to get along with their roommates and meet other people in their classes and dorm floor.
Once classes begin, straight A's keep up with their assignments on a daily basis and they don't fall behind. As it is hard to come from behind in a race, keeping current with your coursework helps you do your best.
They attend classes, read the textbooks, participate in discussions and complete all assignments.
Again, these actions might seem like no-brainers for any student, but you'd be surprised how many students fail to carry them out even at the college level. Sometimes it's due to taking on more credits, extracurricular activities or social involvement than the student can handle. Great students know their limits and what they need to put first.
Professors choose the textbook for each course carefully and make it a requirement for a specific purpose. Make sure to complete reading assignments thoroughly. If you fail to see the connection of the textbook with the rest of the course content, talk with the professor and ask for tips to get the most out of the assigned text.
Don't forget that attendance also includes field trips and other suggested activities, such as museum exhibits that you visit on your own time. Straight A's make course content interesting and provide opportunities to participate in class discussions.
They use a daily planner and stay on top of it.
Mastering this trait provides lifelong benefits for your eventual career. You can use an electronic or paper planner, but it should be your constant companion to help you successfully get through the day. (Some surprisingly tech-savvy people prefer using a paper planner.)
Start by entering every class session, study time and all firm appointments and commitments. When you receive an assignment, enter the due date on the planner and then put a reminder several days before. Also, note the deadlines you set for the milestones on longer projects.
Choose a planner that has room to list the items you need to accomplish for the day, a place to indicate priority and a box to check them off when you complete them. The appointments tell you where you have to be each day, and the task list shows you what you need to do.
They study the course syllabus and refer to it often.
A good syllabus is like a treasure key that unlocks the secrets to earning straight A's in the class. College professors typically take pride in the courses they develop, and you can learn a lot about their passion, preferences, and expectations from the syllabus.
Read the syllabus over carefully and study it. This is your first introduction to the instructor. Transfer date-specific information such as field trips, assignments, papers and special projects to your planner. The syllabus should contain grading rubrics for all of these. It should also break down the percentage that attendance, class discussions, general assignments, papers, and projects contribute to the overall grade. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to develop a plan to earn an A in the class.
They take good notes and use them.
Taking good notes is the lifeblood of exemplary students. The act of note-taking helps fix the lecture information in your mind. You don't need to use a complex system. Just get down the thoughts, facts, and examples provided by the instructor. Be sure to indicate any special information the instructor emphasizes. This will provide hints about material likely to be on exams.
Good notes supply a basis for making up a practice test, another technique excellent scholars often use to prepare for final exams. Your notes also make a handy reference during class discussions so you can participate more fully.
They build a good relationship with the professor and take advantage of contact opportunities.
In the business world, the customer is always right. In the academic world, this privilege belongs to the professor. It's up to you to study your instructors and all information and materials they give you to meet their expectations. In fact, your goal should be to exceed those expectations whenever possible.
The course syllabus should specify the professor's availability for consultation. This can vary from class to class, so note the times and method of contact carefully. For some instructors, it may involve setting up an appointment during office hours. For others, there may be times when you can Skype, message online or consult after class. Even if you don't have any pressing questions or issues, you should plan to meet with each of your professors at least once or twice a semester to get to know them and let them become acquainted with you.
They build good relationships with other class members.
Besides the obvious social benefits of making friends with your fellow class members, it makes good sense for everyone to support each other in the learning process. This becomes critical when the instructor assigns group projects. Working with other students for a collective grade may often cause stressful challenges, but consider it an opportunity to prepare for the work world. If you've already taken time to get acquainted with your classmates, group work becomes much easier.
Another advantage of building class relationships includes forming study groups, which can help everyone master complex or difficult material. Whenever you reach out to help someone else, you often find that you gain much in return.
Take these ten examples from countless college students before you who have gone on to achieve straight A's during their college careers. These traits take work, but the results are so worth it.