Skip to main content

How to raise your GPA in one semester

Published February 27, 2024| minute read

    You’re almost halfway through the semester, and realize your grade point average (GPA) is slipping. Your responsibilities are increasing, and things are getting hard to manage. You're in danger of losing your scholarships and financial aid, or you might be concerned about gaining admission to graduate school. The stress is building up, but don’t worry: you can increase your GPA in a single semester, it will just take some effort on your part. Here are some helpful tips to accomplish this.

    How to calculate your GPA

    To understand how to increase your GPA, you first need to understand how your GPA is calculated.

    The basic formula for GPA is:

    (Grade Points × Credits) ÷ Credits = GPA

    What are grade points:

    To put it simply, grade points are the grades you earn in class. This is complicated by the fact that many colleges use a letter grade system for individual courses.

    To get the “grade points,” you need to convert your letter grades to their 4.0 scale equivalents. Each college has its own system for converting letter grades to a 4.0 scale. This is the most common method:

    • A = 4.0
    • A− = 3.7
    • B+ = 3.3
    • B = 3.0
    • B− = 2.7
    • C+ = 2.3
    • C = 2.0
    • C− = 1.7
    • D = 1.0
    • F = 0.0

    Check with your college, however, for their exact grading scale.

    What are credit hours?

    Credit hours are the number of hours you spend in a classroom every week. You can find the credit hours for a class on your syllabus or in the online portal your college uses to track academic progress.

    How much can you raise your GPA in one semester or one year?

    How much you can raise your GPA in a single semester or a year depends on how many credit hours you've completed and the number of classes you take in a semester. Use the GPA calculator provided by your school to calculate exactly how much you’d be able to increase your GPA in a semester and in a year. Be realistic when you make calculations to be able to assess your situation properly. While you might want to be able to get straight As to increase your GPA as much as possible and as quickly as possible, it just might not be possible.

    Tips for raising your GPA

    Seek out help

    If you’re concerned about your GPA, you should talk to the following people:

    • Your academic advisor
    • Professors for the courses that you’re doing poorly in
    • Your college’s learning center/academic support/tutoring center
    • Any other relevant support staff

    It’s better to seek help as soon as possible rather than wait until your GPA becomes an emergency.

    Improve attendance and participation

    Attendance can play a significant role in your grades. Some classes give you 10 to 15 percent just for showing up and participating in discussions. If you found yourself skipping classes in previous semesters, start showing up. It'll make a difference.

    Turn in all your homework on time

    Always turn in your homework, even if you're unsure about the material. Many professors grade homework for completion, so it’s a quick way to boost your GPA without doing a ton of extra studying. Plus, it'll help you recognize gaps in your knowledge that could cause issues on exams and final projects.

    Cut back on extracurricular activities

    Clubs, sports, and other extracurriculars are an important part of college life. However, if your GPA is in danger, consider cutting back on your extracurriculars to focus on studying. You don’t have to stop doing everything, but remember that you won’t be able to enjoy clubs at all if you get kicked out of college due to a low GPA.

    Attend office hours

    Your professor or teaching assistant (TA) offers office hours to give you personalized help with assignments and class material. If you’re struggling in a particular course, then personalized help is likely what you need.

    Get a tutor

    Sometimes, your professor or TA might not best explain a difficult concept. Or, you may need more help than they have time to provide. In these cases, look into getting a tutor. Your college or university may even provide free tutors. You can then arrange to meet with your tutor regularly for help with homework or exam prep.

    Change a course to pass/fail

    By default, all of your college courses are for credit, but it doesn’t have to be this way. In many cases, your college will allow you to take a certain number of courses for pass/fail.

    Talk to your professor and the registrar to change a course to pass/fail if you're concerned that a specific course is going to negatively impact your GPA. Note that there’s often a deadline for switching courses to pass/fail, so do this as soon as possible if you’re considering it.

    Consider dropping a course

    In some instances, the best thing for your GPA may be to drop a course altogether. Making this choice doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re making a tactical decision. This is a drastic measure, so only do it if you’ve tried other steps to improve your grades.

    Find courses with the right ratio of credit hours to difficulty

    When trying to raise your GPA, it’s easy to focus on the “total number of grade points earned.” Boosting your grades is a good step, but don’t forget about the other variable: attempted credit hours.

    If you can find an easy course that offers many credit hours, it can be a good way to boost your overall GPA.

    Getting sleep is important

    Be careful you don’t burn yourself out. Studies show that students who try to cram the night before and run on caffeine with little sleep often struggle with their grades. Stay organized, manage your time, and get plenty of rest during the week. This will help you retain information and not get overwhelmed.

    Final thoughts

    It's absolutely possible to raise your GPA, it'll just require a plan, hard work, and determination to stay the course. But it can be done.