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Helpful Advice If You’ve Had a Bad Semester at College

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Having a bad semester? Are you wondering if college is right for you or if you’ve chosen the wrong major?

Our first piece of advice is DO NOT PANIC! One bad semester does not mean a whole four years of a bad college experience. Rather, it’s a learning experience. You can go on to do better, and dealing with not-so-great grades will prove your resilience to future employers.

Analyze what went wrong

  • Was it time? Were you juggling a job? Did you take too many courses? Are you too involved in campus activities or partying too much? If so, cut back to make more time for studying, at least until you get back on track academically.
  • Were your courses too hard or uninteresting? If so, perhaps they are required courses which will be over soon and out of the way. Or, were the courses too hard because they didn’t meet your interests or knowledge base? If so, consider buckling down till the requisites are met or changing your major. Perhaps you should take a course leading to an alternative major next semester.
  • How did you study? Did you put in enough hours? Were your poor grades because of homework, testing, or writing? Did you study with other people? If it was all because you spent too few hours, reschedule time and find a quiet space to go to for a set time every day. If you are having trouble writing, getting homework done, or testing, use the writing center on campus, or go to your professor and ask for help to do better. Also use tutoring services on campus to help with your work and understanding the material. If you need to study with others, think about joining a study group or finding someone in your class as a study partner.

How to start improving

• Think of your future. Your grades in college will help determine that. They pave the way to recommendations, internships, and interviews. If you think of your future, it may help you prioritize.
• Sit up front in class and pay attention to your instructor/professor. Use what is said or emphasized to anticipate what will be expected and what will be tested.
• Make a commitment: be determined, set a schedule for study, get help, and keep healthy. You are spending lots of money for your college education. Make it work for you by doing what you have to do.

You can control what type of college experience you have. Evaluate what causes you to get off track with your grades and then choose to make it right. Here’s to a better semester next time, on the road to your future!