Papers and Grades and Office Hours, Oh My!

NotebookOkay. So college is tough. People that are used to getting A’s and B’s in high school need to go to college with the mindset that it might not be so easy to get good grades in college. You need to make sure that you study, and you don’t complain about bad grades if you don’t put in any effort. So, study ahead of time and not the day before a test, because it’s not going to be good enough to get you a good grade. On the other hand, if you feel like you’ve studied and put in a lot of effort but your grades don’t reflect that, then maybe you should talk with your professor. Find out what you got wrong or what concepts you didn’t understand, and try a new study method.

Trust me; I know how stressful exams, midterms, and papers can be. The first exam for each class is especially hard, because you don’t know what to expect, so it makes it harder to prepare for. Midterms are stressful because they usually count for a decent portion of your final grade and they require you to know a lot more information than smaller exams. Papers are difficult because the grading criteria are different depending on the professor. They all have different views of what you need to include and what format to write it in. College is not like high school where you have a lot of opportunities (lots of papers and quizzes) to improve your grades. In college, each exam and paper counts as a big percentage of your overall grade.

If you feel lost in any subject, it’s best to be get help right away, instead of waiting until you do poorly on an exam. Go to a review group and talk to your professors to make sure that you understand the material and what will be covered on the test. All of your professors have office hours, so you should take advantage of them. Showing up for extra help will give your professor the impression that you are a hard working student who wants to do well in their course.

So what‘s the take-away message?

    • College classes are a lot harder than your high school classes! Don’t get disappointed if your grades are not as high as you’d want them to be. Continue to set high standards for yourself and you will make the grade.


    • STUDY for exams, midterms, and finals! Don’t cram for exams or wait until the last minute to write papers. This is likely to make you feel super stressed and anxious.
    • Office hours: Find out when each of your professors has office hours. Getting to know them will help you do better in the course. Talking to your professors will give you a better idea of what’s going to be on tests, what the expectations are for papers, etc.