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How much better will your grades be as a junior or a senior than they were as a freshman?

Scholastic improvement should be a year-round endeavor, not just something you tackle in your first year. Hopefully, you’re contemplating how you can take your academic game from an “8″ to a “10″ well before graduation.

While standing at the forefront of a new semester, you  have the opportunity to take your scholastic endeavors to the  next level!  As you look at the possibilities for improving your college experience, consider climbing the following hills:

Develop strong study habits. People are not born with great study skills. These skills must be cultivated. You may be earning a passing grade, but if you’re cramming… you’re failing in the “good study skills department.” Great study habits are the foundation of academic success. Why leave this area underdeveloped? If you want to see your college experience improve quickly, invest your time and resources into developing strong study skills.

Align your major with your dream job.  Consciously tailor your class schedule to your future career goals. So, you want to be a medical doctor with your own private practice? Great! Naturally you are enrolled in pre-med classes, but why not take a health management class as well? Why not intern with an accounting firm so that you understand how to man the books when your business is in operation. Basket weaving may be a therapeutic elective after that organic chemistry class, but if you have to make a choice between taking it and a business management elective, choose wisely.

Learn your calling. If you’re not inquisitive, you’re not the student you should be.  Notice that I didn’t say, “If you’re not a naturally curious…” Believe it or not, most students don’t have a personality geared toward continuous learning. But, if God has called you to college, He’s called you to get better at being a student. So, if you’re hoping to “up your game” as a student leader, athlete, scientist or fashionista it might have to start with… improving your game as a student. There are resources and people to help facilitate this learning process. If you make it a priority, you can be a better student long before graduation.

Build barns. If your semesters aren’t building on each other, why expect a better over all experience in the end? This “barn-building” attitude comes from Tim Elmore’s Habitudes which teaches us that given two choices, we should choose to build our barn before we build our house… because the barn helps pay for the house!

On your college campus, you should be investing in a better future. Though “barn-building” may exist behind-the-scenes, it’s paving the way for greater impact. This may mean tutoring underclassmen (they are in fact the future leaders); choosing to take on foundation-building classes (don’t embarrass yourself in calculus if you haven’t mastered college algebra); or exploring financial support-raising avenues by searching and applying for scholarships months before the upcoming school year (imagine having your tuition paid off a year in advance). Barn-building isn’t as flashy or fun as the obvious points, but it makes all the difference for future semesters.

You only get one first time undergraduate experience. Make the most of it. Be the best student you can be!

Give H.O.P.E. Live H.O.P.E

LaToya Archibald
Director of Partnerships
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship