How to Get Good Grades and Why it Matters

I know you’ve heard it before – “Get good grades.” But does anyone ever tell you HOW to get good grades? Or why it even matters? Let’s break it down. Way too many students undervalue the importance of doing well academically. I guess I can see why. Besides your parents and teachers nagging you, maybe you don’t feel a personal motivation for getting good grades. Let’s turn this around before it is too late. (scary, right?)

There are two secrets to getting good grades:

#1 Make academics your priority. It is easy to let so many other things take priority over your studies. Friends, activities, and Facebook often seem more fun than homework. But let’s face it, your friends won’t get you into college. And once you graduate high school, college is the best thing ever to happen to your social life! I promise you it is worth sacrificing a few parties, a band practice, or some time on Farmville to get the grades you need for college. And I know you can do it. It may not be easy but only takes some time, effort and commitment.

#2 Find your balance. The term “good” grades means something different for all of us. You need to take a look at your strengths and abilities to figure out what this means for you. Overall, you should aim for a mix of A’s and B’s in a challenging course load. This could range from college prep classes to all AP or IB courses. Figure out your level of challenge and get the right balance to prove both challenge and success.

Why do good grades matter?

FAR too often I meet students who made some poor choices throughout high school and this ends up limiting their college options. Academics are the #1 criteria colleges consider for admissions. The grades you get throughout high school (even starting freshman year) will follow you to college. There is no hiding that D from Algebra I. It is pretty simple – if you want more college choices, get better grades.

The College Essay Can Make or Break Your Acceptance

I know this title sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s the truth – the college essay can truly make or break your acceptance into your dream school. With college application season upon us, seniors are scrambling to improve or enhance their applications however possible. But if there is one thing you should pay more attention to, it is the college essay.

Consider the fact that many applicants appear identical on the surface: similar GPA, similar courses, similar SAT scores, similar activities lists….. The crazy reality is that many other students out there have done the same things as you! So how do you stand out in a crowd of hundreds of other applicants? The college essay.

The college essay will make or break your application. It is the only opportunity (outside of the interview) to actually tell admissions about who you are and let them get to know you. The essay that catches a reader’s attention will be remembered. The reader will feel a connection to you as a person, not just an application. And when it comes time to make the decision between 20 similar applicants, they will always choose the person they liked and remembered through the college essay.

So take advantage of this opportunity to create fantastic, personal essays. Use the essay to teach the college about who you are on a personal level, what matters to you, and why. Leave them with a lasting impression so they feel a personal connection. It is much easier to accept a person over an application.

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