College Plan Timeline:

High school grades affect your GPA and class rank, two crucial elements that college admissions boards always look at first.

Discover unique tips on how to manage the hundreds of things on your mind for college.

You’re only midway through your sophomore year and you can already tell that things are going to get complicated regarding this whole college planning process. Sure you have your college calendar to keep you organized, and your counselor and parents to help you stay on top of things, but a lot of the responsibility preparing for and choosing a college ultimately comes down to you.

On top of all that, you have sports, and extracurricular activities, and volunteering hours to worry about. Your social life is ever present, and you might even have a job in the mix.

You’re getting pulled in a lot of directions, and there’s a lot competing for your attention. But throughout all this, you must remember that the first thing colleges always look at is your high school transcripts.

That is, your grades.

It’s easy to tell yourself, “Self, I’m going to keep my grades up.” But in practice it can be more difficult. Everyone already knows that keeping organized and avoiding procrastination will help you do well in your high school courses, but let’s take a look at some specific tips you may have not thought of that might help you refocus on your academic performance.

Keeping Your Grades Up: Tips

  • Develop strong relationships with your teachers.

All teachers will tell you that they are much more likely help (or give a break to) a student who engages the teacher. Spend some time after class, schedule a student-teacher conference, or just say hi to your teachers in the hallway. This tiny effort can pay off big in the long-run. Added bonus: The teacher(s) you are close to may end up writing your letter of recommendation.

  • Complete all your assignments.

While this might seem like a “Well duh,” scenario, you’d be surprised at how many students give up on an assignment after the due date. Teachers don’t want to see you fail, so even if Mr. Jones has a no late assignments policy in his chemistry class, talk to him one-on-one and see if there is any way he would accept the assignment for a fraction of the credit. These fractions add up big time when it comes to your final grade.

  • Go to class.

Another obvious tip? Not quite. If you’re active in extracurricular activities (like you should be), you don’t have the luxury of skipping class on a whim. When you miss class, deadlines get mixed up, teachers get confused, and papers get misplaced. If you want to avoid complicating your life even further, avoid missing classes.

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