New Year's Resolutions to Improve Your Grades

Each year, as the new year begins, students have a chance to revitalize their sense of selves and their academic expectations for the future. Starting off the year right is made easier with strong resolutions, which can help you stay focused for the entire year.

clean desk

Improve Your Grades With These New Year's Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is often a time for reflection and resolutions, and if you are a student, this can be a great time to develop better habits and recommit yourself to your academic performance. Read on to find 10 suggestions for New Year's resolutions that can help you improve your grades.

1. Get Organized

When you walk into your dorm room or study, are you confronted by piles of papers, books and clutter? Neatening up isn't just for clean freaks - a well-organized environment makes it easier to concentrate and find that essential note for your next paper.

2. Start a Calendar

This year, don't rely on memory and your pile of syllabi to track all of your deadlines and assignments. Grab yourself a new calendar, write everything down and get in the habit of checking it often. There are plenty of free online calendar services, such as Google Calendar, and chances are your computer came with one as well (try Windows Calendar or iCal). If you prefer a paper tool, your school bookstore should have plenty of planners.

3. Set Deadlines

Sure, your assignments all come with due dates, but if you find yourself up late the night before every exam or paper, then you're probably not managing your time well enough. Break down each assignment into manageable chunks of work and study time, set yourself deadlines for getting each chunk done and enjoy a good night's rest before the big test.

4. Create a Schedule

Socializing is an important part of the college experience, but many students struggle to balance fun and homework, and their grades suffer as a result. Sit down and write out a schedule for yourself, including classes, time for homework and fun time. If you take your study time seriously, you may find that in the end you have more time for fun and your grades will start to improve.

5. Get to Know Your Professors

We're not suggesting that you try to sweet talk your way into better grades. But developing a personal relationship with your professors can help you become more engaged with the material, which will in turn improve your ability to learn. Furthermore, strong relationships with professors can be invaluable when it comes time to network in your field or get letters of recommendation for jobs or graduate school.

classroom

6. Go to All Your Classes

Students lead busy lives, and it can be tempting to skip a lecture here, or a conference there. But this harms more than just your participation grade - the interactions between students and the professors in class often impart valuable information that you won't find in the book.

7. Do All Your Reading

Many of us start a class with good intentions then become overwhelmed or distracted over the course of the term, and it's usually class reading that goes first. But assuming that if you're going to classes you don't need to do all the reading (or that if you're doing the reading you don't need to go to all of the classes) is a big mistake. The information you skip over could make the difference between a B and an A on that exam or paper, or even the whole class.

8. Take Better Notes

Finding yourself drifting off in lectures? You can improve your focus and make your homework easier by taking more thorough notes. If you're often distracted by email or web browsing on your laptop, consider switching to an old fashioned notebook.

9. Study in the Library

Many students find themselves hitting the books in their homes, dorm rooms, coffee shops or other distracting places. While those are great meeting places for group projects, they can make it difficult to focus when it's time to tackle your solo work. Find yourself a comfortable corner in the library or your school's (quiet) computer lab and you're likely to discover that you retain a lot more of the information you're studying.

10. Seek Help

We all have classes that are particularly challenging, and it can be tempting to just scrape by with a passing grade. This year, resolve to overcome those challenges by seeking out academic help. Most schools offer lots of options for struggling students, including individual tutors, learning or study centers and office hours - sometimes a simple visit to your professor for advice on the most difficult parts of the course can make all the difference.

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