Boost your GPA, without studying!

You don’t have to be Einstein to get great grades!

First impressions count, even in the classroom. It is the beginning of a new school year, so now is the time to let your teachers know that you are a driven “A student. You must let the teachers know, in September, that you are a “Go Getter”. Some school districts pressure teachers into limiting the number of “A”s awarded. This is known as grade deflation. Therefore, often subconsciously, teachers loosely separate their students into 3 sections; the “A”s,  “B”s, and the “C”s and below.

In the next few weeks, you want to impress your teacher with “A” student qualitiesDo this by arriving on time, sitting in the front, asking questions, and turning in assignments. Be the straggler out of class and ask a few more questions. If you are having trouble with a homework assignment, go to “teacher hours” or send the teacher an email requesting an appointment. Finally, do really well, especially on your first assignments or tests. Okay, so that probably requires studying  – the title lied. 😉

Once you have established a good rapport with your teachers, it is difficult to dumb down your grade. Afterall, you are a conscientious and engaged student! This type of bias may appear when grading an test essay or homework assignment or it may even appear when you go for extra help and the teacher tells you exactly what to study for the upcoming exam. That often happens when you go to extra help!

Review all graded homework and tests to see that it was graded accurately and fairly. You may want to challenge your teacher’s grade or request a “do over” for an assignment to bump up your grade. Most teachers respect the student who comes forward and will often offer them a second chance. That is what learning is all about. Additionally, now the teacher is aware that your grades are important to you.

It’s difficult for a teacher to penalize a student who appears to be putting in extra effort. Thus without even doing a lot more work or studying more, your teacher may unknowingly give your grades a boost. In Elizabeth Wissner-Gross’s book,  What Colleges Don’t Tell You (and Other Parents Don’t Want You to Know) 272 Secrets for Getting your Kid into Top Schools, she dedicates a section to what she calls “Registering for an A”,  or letting the teacher know that you plan to be one of the A students in their class. Many of her themes are clearly explained to help the student perform to the best of their ability and be rewarded accordingly.

Your GPA, is the primary consideration of your college application. Forget about joining a million clubs, you need great grades to help your application. Get the highest grades you can, while taking the most challenging courses such as AP and Honors classes. Next in order of importance are your SAT/ACT scores, then essays. Of less importance are; the teacher recommendations, your demonstrated interest, high school extracurricular activities, work, awards  and special circumstances including your family income. The order of relevance of the last few factors differs from college to college, some schools will give preference to legacy as well.

Great grades are not handed out easily. You are competing with your fellow classmates to be recognized as one of the top students in the class. You may not be the smartest brainiac in the class, nor do you have to be the teacher’s pet. You must earn your grades by demonstrating that you are an engaged student. The bottom line is that you need to let your teachers know, by actively reaching out to them, that you are working for good grades.

Don’t forget to ask GOOD questions!

Editors Note: Originally published  9/2013. We thought it was time to reprint to help your student have a great 2015-16 school  year! 


Laying the Groundwork for Achieving Better Grades

Report-Card-Freebies-300x284If your student is capable of achieving “A”s but is happy with “B”s, how do you ignite the desire to do better? They have to want it. You can nag, plead and punish, but all that nudging may only amount to a lot of unpleasantness.

Note: This is not about getting into Harvard or Yale, it is about motivating the underachiever.

The #1 recommendation amongst college counselors is to go on some super college campus tours with your sluggish student. Make it fun, choose an attractive campus, go on a beautiful day, buy a t-shirt, be open-minded and attend the information session. Visit a school that has a lot of school spirit or attend a big football/basketball game. If you have not done this be forewarn, lots of families are doing this. Whether it is consciously or unconsciously parents groom their children to do well by visiting their alma mater’s games and reunion events.Hustle Lincoln

When attend a college information sessions, which is strongly recommended, a highly selective college
will tell your student that they expect to see  “A”s, and a few “B”s are okay. Your kids are hearing it from the source. And they will also say hat the student should take challenging  classes in high school. No more nagging folks, the Admissions Rep delivers the message for you!

You don’t have to spend big bucks to visit a great college, choose one that you can make as a day trip.

Most Influential Information Sources in Application Decisions

These recommendations are not about getting into a prestigious schools, it is about creating options and possibly earning merit awards. The higher your student’s GPA and SAT/ACTs are, the greater the possibility for scholarships, grants and merit awards. Choose a school where your child has grades that are in the top 25% of their enrollment and merit scholarships may come their way.

It is not too early to visit a college with a freshman, especially since achieving “A”s is always easier during 9th and 10th grade than 11th and 12th.  Dial down the pressure and let them know that this is just information gathering. One rising high school junior visited some competitive colleges during a summer vacation. When he realized that good grades might get him into a really cool school, he went back to school in September ready to work. Consequently, he made the honors list the next four semesters. Clearly, he could have earned a few “A”s in the early high school years.  Since your GPA is cumulative those 9th and 10th grade grades can be helpful or hurtful to the big picture.

Success breeds success. Once a student gets on a roll of good grades, teachers unconsciously may favor the student. (See How to Boost your GPA – Without Studying). Furthermore, since most schools’ better teachers are teaching the honors level classes, wouldn’t you want your child to be in that classroom verses the goof off, zoo-like classrooms?

If teachers have said that your child “does not apply” themselves, a few fun college visits could be the tool which motivate them! If all else fails, offer them $20 bucks for every “A” they bring home or book they read. Just kidding… in the meantime go on a college visit.