A College Valedictorian’s Guide to a High GPA

Most people believe that there are only two types of students that perform super well in school; the geniuses and the try-hards. You know the types… The one kid studies 24/7 and reads weeks ahead in the textbook, while the other never reads the textbook but gets a 100 on every test. Most of us lie somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, without a photographic memory or the desire to spend all of our time focused on school. Nevertheless, all things being equal, we would still love higher grades. Luckily, maintaining a high GPA is easier than you might think.

A lot of students’ struggles in the classroom are a result of ineffective learning techniques, rather than lack of ability to understand course content. By simply improving your learning habits, you can unlock a whole new level of academic performance, without needing to spend countless hours in the library.

Here are some tools you can use to make it happen:
  • Spaced Repetition — Use this memory hack to help your brain store information more effectively. Check out this article to see how it works.
  • Study Buddy — Working with a friend/classmate to study is a great way to hold each other accountable and talk through ideas to identify what you do and don’t know.
  • Concept Mapping — Organize course concepts into a “Concept Map” to identify underlying connections and overarching themes. This leads to better understanding and organization of information, which allows for easier recall when it comes time to take a test.
  • Organization — Staying organized is the easiest way to boost your GPA. Develop a system to keep track of assignments and exams so that you can make sure you give yourself enough time to get your work done without ever needing to cram. Whether you use a paper planner, digital calendar, or a self-created system, being organized alleviates a lot of stress by making sure you never get behind.
  • Daily Check-in’s — Another way to make sure everything is under control is by developing a habit to set aside 5 minutes every morning or night to go through each of your classes and determine whether or not you’re on track to be successful. This helps eliminate the need to cram and makes sure that you never let yourself get stuck behind the eight ball.

The Power of Peer Tutoring

While all of these tools are great ways to boost your academic performance, if you want to truly unlock your potential in the classroom, you should amplify their effects by working with a peer tutor. Being able to talk through course concepts with a student who recently aced the class helps to ensure that you can do the same. Long gone are the days of using a tutor because you’re failing a class. Now, you can and should work with a tutor throughout all your courses because it allows you to learn more efficiently, which saves you time/stress and leads to high performance in the classroom.

Why does this work? Research has shown that feedback is an extremely important part of the learning process. Basically, you need to be shown what you aren’t understanding properly in order to correctly understand it. One-on-one attention allows for this feedback to take place, which can save you from ever saying “I thought I understood everything” after getting your grade back on a test.

It sounds pretty simple, but the effects are tremendous. If you can get this one-on-one attention from your professor, then props to you. If not, start working with a peer tutor to relieve your stress and get the most out of your courses.

Learn more about what’s wrong with the college teaching method here and find peer tutor who aced your exact course at