Not every semester is your best semester. We’re all entitled to fall off the wagon. I’ve done it myself. Looking around mid semester and finding your average to be subpar is not uncommon for any college student. If you find yourself staring down the barrel of a D, don’t take that L especially when you can do something about. Spare me your Kanye shrugs of defeat, there are steps that you can take to remedy your class average and attempt to turn you D/C- into a B or better.
1. Tell the Truff! - Professors respond to honesty and simplicity. Don’t make excuses for your subpar performance just keep it 100. Let him/her know that you’ve struggled to remain focus this semester, were challenged by the course content, haven’t done will with managing your time, or whatever the case may be. I always advise against elaborate lies of “family emergencies” or unexplainable “illness” cause life is real and we just shouldn’t play like that. Instead of making excuses have a real conversation with your professor. Accept responsibility for your performance and sincerely ask for their help in making things right. Now’s not the time to get proud, have a slice of humble pie and get your brown nose on. Go after class or during office hours. No one will ever have to know.
2. Ask for Extra Credit- See if your professor would be willing to assign you some extra credit work to give your average an extra boost. You could even take the time to consider the course content and come up with your own extra credit assignments. Check campus/community event calendars and announcements, find out if there is a guest lecture, seminar, film series that is related to the course subject matter. Attend and right a one-page reaction. Ask if you can assist a professor in his/her lab research group. Professors are usually impressed with this type of initiative.
3. Use Your Network- Find a friend/associate that has taken the class before and ask them if you could review their old exams and papers. The key here is to find someone who’s done well in the class and using them as a resource. This is not encouragement to plagiarize because that’s will definitely get you expelled. But while exams are ever evolving their basic structure remains generally consistent. Pay attention to how questions are worded and sequenced and let those things guide you in your own studying.
4. Clean Up Your Credit- GPA’s are like credit scores. You may not be able to totally delete your former indiscretions but you are always encouraged to go back and make things as right as you can. When it comes to papers that you didn’t do so well on the first time around, approach your professor during office hours and see if you can negotiate submitting a rewrite. Make yourself available to sit with your professor or visit the writing center and learn where you went wrong. The rule also applies for those exams that we’ve failed. Ask for a make up. Usually a professor will acknowledge your sincere attempt to do better and meet you half way.
5. Follow Through- this is the most important tip. You must follow through and make good on all of your efforts to make up for lost time. If your professors agree to help you help yourself through make up tests/papers and extra credit work, have the decency to hold up your end of the bargain and do the work. I’ve seen many student make all of these empty promise to get things together then fall right back off the wagon. Professors do not take kindly to those who waste their time. In playing them you play yourself, as your D will no doubt become an F before it’s all over.
Bonus: Finish up strong- Don’t get so consumed in the extra credit/make up stuff that you fall behind with the rest of the semester. It’s extra credit for a reason. You may find yourself doing double duty to keep everything going but that’s what happens when we succumb to the demons of half assery. We must suffer these consequences. But no worries, knowing that you did what you had to do to save your GPA from the brink of destruction breeds a sense of accomplishment that makes all the library over time worth it.