Every year millions of bright college students waltz into classes assuming they’ll ace it just like they did in high school. Sadly, the majority of them are wrong, leading to countless hissy fits, sob sessions, and complaints. This isn’t good for students or teachers, so to help everyone out I’ve decided to explain exactly how to get straight A’s in college. It doesn’t require much more work than high school, but it’s a different game and you need to learn the new rules. You need to understand that you’re in a new pool.Your competition in college is significantly smarter than it was in high school. Just showing up and being smarter than everyone else is no longer enough. You need put in effort in important areas to differentiate yourself. The college environment is more self directed. Class sizes are much larger and generally meet only once or twice a week. This means you need to be more disciplined. The teachers in college are not there to hold your hand.
Get on the Teacher’s Good Side
I wish I could say that college professors are immune to petty favoritism, but it simply isn’t true. They’re human, and emotions affect their decision making. If you get on their good side, they’ll be more likely to make borderline decisions in your favor. Grading in many liberal arts courses is also very subjective, so having your name draw up feeling of hatred is a very bad thing! Here are a few simple tips for getting on your professor’s good side:
- Be on time – Showing up late every day is just plain rude. Professors spend a lot of time preparing for class and they like to feel respected. Don’t offend them because you couldn’t get off your butt 5 minutes earlier!
- Don’t be a punk – Again this is an issue of respect. Making wise cracks from the back of the class and being generally disruptive is bad form.
- Don’t embarrass them – Professors make mistakes, it’s part of the human thing. Don’t rub it in their face to try and look smart. If possible, point them out after class in a 1 on 1 situation. They will be very grateful.
- Sit in front and ask questions – Just being polite isn’t enough. To get the benefit, teachers need to know who you are. Sit in front so they get used to seeing you and ask questions when something isn’t clear. Professors like to feel useful, so let them help you out and make them feel good about themselves at the same time.
If you follow these easy steps, you’ll have no problem getting on your teacher’s good side and could potentially become one of his or her favorites. This will give you many advantages. They will be much more helpful when you ask for questions and much more lenient when you run into trouble.
Making the Grade
Now just being on the teacher’s good side isn’t enough. You’ll still have to learn the material and put together solid test scores. One important thing to learn about college is that not everything you need to know for the test will be covered in class. This is one of tricks professors use to separate students who are all very smart. The put a few questions on the test that were never explicitly covered, so only those students who go above and beyond will get them. The key to acing these questions is going to office hours.Unless your class is ridiculously easy, you should always go to office hours. At least once or twice a month. This will give you a chance to get help for the Teacher’s Assistants. TA’s grade assignments as well, so becoming friendly with them is often better than knowing the professor. At office hours they will tell you everything you need to know. They don’t want to be there any more than you do, so most will straight up give you the answers. This will give you a huge edge over the lazy people who slept through class.
The final step to acing college is making sure you study gradually and never wait until the last minute to learn everything. It’s as easy as spending 15 minutes per day reviewing your notes from the previous class. By constantly reinforcing what you have just learned, you’ll keep it fresh in your mind. You will better understand the new material the builds off it. Students that try to cram 4 months of class into a 3-4 days of studying are destined to fail. The brain doesn’t work that way, and it’s likely the excessive stress will blow your concentration. Do yourself a favor learn gradually,Â a little bit a time. Not only will you get straight A’s, but you might even get some valuable knowledge.