Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ten Ways to Get "A"s in College, Part 2

My Dear Reader,

Here is the second half of my list of A-making tricks. (Here's the first half, if you missed it.) I figure that I might as well write it all down before it all seeps out of my head.

6. Turn in everything, even if it's late, and do it right the first time.

This is another one of those basics that I talked about in my previous post. If you're not turning in all of your assignments, chances are that you're not getting your A. In fact, you might not pass the class. A successful student consults his or her syllabus often enough to know when things are due and what exactly the professor wants for each assignment. When you aren't sure what the professor wants, ask him or her. (Believe it or not, professors are generally not out to get you.) And when you forget, as humans tend to do from time to time, don't let yourself feel too anxious about it, just finish it as soon as you can. Most professors will let you get partial credit (which is better than nothing), and on rare occasions, they even give you full credit. You never know unless you try.

7. Act the part

Let's face it: part of getting an A is making your professor believe that you are an A student. If the professor believes that you are used to being on the top, he or she will generally assume that you have what it takes to get there. This assumption can only work in your favor. Part of this is being on top of things and turning things in. Part of it is participating in class (that's right--raise that hand!). Part of it is presenting yourself as a hard worker, as in not wearing t-shirts that say things like "Slacker" on them. You don't have to wear a tie, just don't brand yourself as an idiot. It's easier to look like an A student than you might think.

8. Befriend your professor

In my experience, I've found that there are lots of professors out there who are professors because they just enjoy teaching. In fact, I dare say that lots of them are willing to be buddy-buddy with you on some level if you make the effort. Having this kind of relationship with your professors has more benefits than you can imagine, an most of these benefits lead to getting that A. When I was at college, I knew that if my professors and I communicated regularly, it was easier to get out of scrapes such as missing a test or spending a week in the Caribbean. Professors are also pretty cool people, and will help you with your academic endeavors outside of the classroom. Never underestimate the value of a repor with your professor.

9. Visit your professor's office

If you really want that A, talking to the professor during class isn't always enough. Most of the time, it will be just enough to put you over the top. We English majors were strongly encouraged to visit our professors often, in fact, lots of our teachers required us to meet them in their offices on several occasions. And the more I understood how college works, the more I went to my professors to run my paper topic by them or ask them to edit my papers when I finished them.After all, who knows better how to get an A than the person who's giving the grades? At the same time, physically standing in the space that a professor works in will tell you more about that professor than anything else will, and that kind of knowledge is power.

10. Know your limits

Sometimes too much is too much. Sometimes it is more important to go to sleep than to stay up all night studying. Sometimes it's better for your brain if you take a break with your friends than if you work on a project for hours upon hours solid. And sometimes, your professor is asking too much of you. Remember that you don't have to get 100% in order to get that A--there's some room for you to wiggle in. It's perfectly okay to put a class on the back burner for a week or two while another takes precedence, in fact, it's healthy in some cases. Above all, never forget that college is supposed to be a pleasant experience.

Now, Gentle Reader, go out into the world armed with the knowledge I have lent you! Or at least, I guess you could just pass this on to someone who could use it.

Regards, best wishes, and that tasty little 4.0,

-Cecily Jane


Stephen and Cindy Jensen said...


I think your ideas are right on. And I am definetly gonna make sure my girls read this. Thanks again for your insight.

~Stappsters~ said...

I shoulda dun it cuz now I'm jus supid