Last Chance to Get An A

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In just a matter of weeks, school will be over and final grades will be nearly–if not entirely–calculated and complete. With that comes the time for finals and last minute work to be turned in for the year before you can enjoy late spring/summer, assuming bad grades aren’t going to bum you out for most of it.

Fortunately for you, that doesn’t have to be the case. What does that mean exactly? Well, if all of you wonderful overachievers aren’t completely satisfied with that B you got in your biology 215 class, there may be time for you to bump it up to an A. The rest of you don’t have to settle for lesser either—you less grade-picky students can still bring your C’s averages up to more impressive grades. The trick is finding out how to do it.

But before you can analyze ways to improve your GPA, you have to look at the “no-nos.” Here’s what you do not do:

  • Do not ask your professor for extra credit and then never turn it in. That would be an absolute waste of both your time and theirs.
  • Do not get upset when your professor tells you there is no extra credit for you to turn in. Getting mad won’t change your grade. If you actually take the time out to talk to your professor about how to improve your grade, he/she may have other alternatives or tips for you. 
  • Lastly, do not wait until the last minute. Procrastination got you a sub-par grade in the first place. It’s time to make an effort to change.

The first step many students choose is asking professors for extra credit. Although some professors may allow it, this isn’t high school, in case you haven’t already noticed. Extra credit is not handed out blindly anymore. That means, don’t be surprised if professors give you a quick no.


Towson University professor Beth Haller is not one to give out much extra credit. However, if she believes that her students are doing poorly, she is more than willing to consider it and so will other professors.

“Teachers make their syllabi ahead of time, so if almost all of the students are doing fine, they won’t add anything extra to alter the syllabus,” Haller said. “Do better next time or withdraw from one of your classes. It will give you more time to devote to the class that needs more of your attention.” 

Believe it or not, it’s all about the language you use when talking to them. If you go up to the professors and blatantly ask them for extra credit, they’re more than likely going to shut you down. But if you actually talk to them like you really care about improving your grades (and genuinely mean it) they’ll be more than willing to help you. In the words of Canadian alt-rock band Three Days Grace, it’s not too late, it’s never too late.

A great step to take before talking to your professors would be to look back at your syllabi. Glance over what assignments are left for the semester and be sure to kick their metaphorical butts. If the C you got on your last paper really destroyed your grade in an important class, put in some major time on the next assignment to bring your average—and ultimately your GPA—up.

Also, remember all of those optional assignments that you chose not to do? Well, now is the time to do them. Ask your professors if maybe those optional assignments could count for credit towards your overall semester grade. Don’t wait to last minute to try to fix all of the missteps you’ve made since the start of the semester. That’s just asking for a stress induced headache to go along with that headache you got from drinking to April Fools' Day when you should’ve be writing that paper on meiosis.


Towson University junior Amy Katz thinks that optional assignments or “make-up” work do great with improving bad test grades.

“If we fail a test, there’s a plan B,” Katz said. “Most of my teachers allow the class to write a paper to make up for the grade I messed up on. Not everyone’s a test taker.”

The time to take charge of your grade is now, not next week, so put down away the Call of Duty, turn off the television and get to work! But be sure to stop by College Magazine periodically.

Junior > Journalism and Mass Communication > Towson University

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