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The birds are chirping, the wind tunnels aren’t quite as cold as they usually are, and people are breaking out their sunglasses for the first time in months. This can only mean one thing for a town like Amherst…The semester is coming to a close—and so are your grades. Somehow April is already upon us. While do-gooders and people who stay on top of their schoolwork stroll around without a worry in the world (by the way, teach me your ways people!), the rest of us are feeling the stress of our slacking off and choosing the new season of House of Cards over studying. I mean, what even are self-control and properly aligned priorities, anyway?

If you can officially say that the fate of your impending grade is freaking you out as much as a “We need to talk” text or one of those gross videos on Instagram of someone popping a pimple, something needs to be done. Quick. ASAP. And we’re here to help, Collegiettes, with these tricks to boost that grade in time to relax this summer.

1. Talk to Your Professor

Surprise! Your professors actually want you to succeed. And they’re there to help. Professors often spring into action upon hearing the words, “I want to do better,” during office hours. That’s probably the best thing you could tell an educator who truly cares if his/her students do well. So find your professors office hours or email them asking how you’re doing in the class and the ways in which you can improve. Even if there isn’t much they can tell you outside of the syllabus, the professor will at least know your name and face, which can be especially useful in borderline grade situations.

2. Actually Do the Readings

If you still have in-class discussions and assignments left in the class, work on going fully prepared. Your friends—you know, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, and Joey—can wait until after homework to hang out. Teachers will be more willing to consider your grade a flex-arrangement if you’re showing that you are learning and trying as hard as you can in the class. Even just showing up to your usual skipped class helps. Put in the effort, and you will get to your reward.

3. Focus on the Final Exam/Paper…It Counts for More

So maybe there aren’t too many quizzes and mini-essays left to do in your course. Finals often make up a substantial portion of your ending grade, which puts even more pressure on the already-overwhelming “Finals Week.” That’s why you should start studying soon—even right now. There’s nothing better to boost a C- than an A on a final paper that counts for 40 percent or more of the semester’s grade.

4. Look for Extra Credit

If you have an understanding professor, you could even ask for extra credit assignments. Teachers are often willing to allow students to submit additional papers and attend extracurricular events for credit. Those added few points won’t push you from a D to an A—but they make the difference between a C+ and a B-.

5. Consider Pass/Failing the Class

In the scenario that you have tried everything—i.e. begging, bringing cupcakes for the T.A., trying to juggle to impress your Sociology professor—yet you can’t push your grade into the C-or-better range, consider pass/failing the class. This does come with a catch: in order to opt for a pass/fail option, you must fill out an appeal for a late pass/fail with your dean. If this passes, the course will appear on your transcript as a P (pass) for anything above the grade of an F. P’s are not factored into your GPA, so even a 4.0 can stay that way with a Pass/Fail class. If your grade can actually raise your GPA, you can also choose to have your grade appear on an official transcript.

One issue with this option to note is that Pass/Fail classes cannot count toward Gen. Ed. Requirements, as well as not being able to fulfill some majors’ requirements. Double check with your dean to see if a pass/fail option is the right choice for you.

Don’t worry, Collegiettes. Summer is almost here, and soon you can have a life again—after you finish pulling way too many all-nighters in the library cramming. Good luck!


Media: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins
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