Guide to Getting an A Papers

A Senior's Guide to Gettin' That “A”

A new year is upon us and autumn is certainly a busy time to be a student and especially a Delta Chi. New students learn to navigate the immense University campus while juggling intense course loads, necessary social time, and most important, SLEEP. For most incoming freshmen, this simple diagram sums up their first semester:

Choose Two Sleep, Academics, Social Life

Obviously Delta Chi values academics above almost all else, requiring our new members to attend mandatory study hours every week so they remain on top of their coursework. But even so, it can be difficult to maintain your grades when you are pulled in so many directions at once. That’s why I decided to put together this little list of ways you can stay on top of your school, while still being able to have some fun on the weekends AND retain your beauty sleep.

  1. Make it a point to attend office hours, preferably with the professor if offered. If not, ask the professor to meet privately.

Even if you think you understand the course material, getting some face time with your professors is always a good idea. They aren’t teaching something in your interest area? Meet with them anyway. This does two things: (A) it can give you some insight into the subject area that might interest you, and (B) it can mean the difference between an “A” instead of an “A-” if you’re on the cusp. It’s happened to me many times throughout my college career. If your professor recognizes you, that is a VERY good thing.

  1. Ask questions. A lot of them.

If you’re ever unsure about a concept, ask a question. Too many new students are afraid to speak up for fear of sounding stupid. Most professors love when students ask questions, because it lets them go on a tangent about a topic that interests them. You’ll gain valuable insight into the concept, and the professor will recognize you as a student who cares. It’s a win-win.

  1. Treat Monday–Friday like a full-time workweek.

Too many students get done with classes and simply head back to their dorms to hang out with friends and relax. AVOID THIS TEMPTATION. Remember when you used to have school every day from 7:30AM to 3:00PM? You didn’t have the opportunity to go home and relax in between classes. While you may want to embrace this newfound freedom that college brings, I strongly suggest filling the bulk of your day with study. If you do, you’ll be more immersed in your classes, get more done, and you’ll still have all evening to hang out with your friends. And did I mention that you wouldn’t have as much to do on the weekends? Don’t be a dummy, study smart.

  1. Be organized.

I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah yeah, I’m plenty organized. I never used a planner in high school so I don’t think I’ll need one now.” And maybe you’re right. Some people are naturally gifted and don’t need to write things down to remember them. But for most people, that simply won’t cut it in college. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep track of your assignments, tests, and papers. Simply remembering that you have something due is half the battle! Too many students do poorly in their classes because they forget to do their schoolwork.

  1. Think futuristically: sometimes, you just have to say no.

It’s hard. You have a test coming up, but all of your friends are watching the football game or going out. You REALLY want to join them, and in the moment, you want to join them more than you want to do well on that test. This is a huge mistake. Many new students suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and that fear is enough to motivate them away from studying. Social time is great, but I guarantee that your grades are more important than one night of fun. Think about how you’ll feel months down the road when you could have gotten a “B” instead of a “C” if you had only studied harder for one test. Yes, one test can matter that much. Save your future self the regret!

This list is far from complete, but practicing these tips will no doubt improve your grades this semester. For all you new students out there, I strongly recommend you put your studies first. You’ll thank yourself later.

Now buckle down and get that “A”!


Photo by Nic McPhee