10 Practical Ways to Increase Your GPA

Student sitting at a brown desk with books opened, reading glasses, and a cup of coffee. He is read about how to increase his gpa.

A student’s GPA determines a lot, academic standing, graduation, acceptance into a major, and financial aid and scholarship eligibility. When a student has a low GPA, it can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Below are 10 practical ways to increase your GPA.

You can read all about GPA at, What Is A College GPA.

1. Choose Electives Wisely

There is a reason why I start with electives, they are going to be the easiest route to getting a good grade and raising your GPA. As you take your general education requirements (Gen Ed), you will have the freedom to pick from a variety of elective classes. I want you to choose these classes wisely. Avoid choosing difficult electives, I want you to choose courses that will be easy for you. Some electives can be an easy A which will quickly raise your GPA.

2. Make 4 and 5 Credit Course A Priority

Obviously, courses worth more credits will be weighted more than courses worth fewer credits. Therefore, 4 and 5-credit classes will affect your GPA more. Since they have a bigger impact, I want you to put more study time into them.

3. Withdrawal Instead of Fail

If you don’t think you are going to pass a class and it’s past the drop date, I highly recommend you withdraw from the course. If a student receives a W (withdrawal) it is not included in the total credits attempted as part of the GPA calculation. Hence, it is better to withdraw than to fail a course. Often, students will say a W represents “wisdom” because they were smart enough to get out of the class before they failed it.

I have a W on my transcripts. I withdrew from an Intermediate Ceramics class. This was at the beginning of my academic career when I was learning about courses and what I need to take to build a solid academic plan. The class wasn’t necessary and would not benefit me.

Your College Sensei's Butte College Grade report showing all classes, and grades as an example on how to increase gpa.

4. The Best Way To Increase Your GPA Is To Repeat A Failed Class Immediately

If you fail a class retake it as soon as you can, preferably the next semester. If the failed class happened in the spring, check and see if the course is offered in the summer. Summer school classes are an excellent way to make up a class. Chances are, even though you didn’t pass, you learned something in the class. It’s wise to retake the class while the information is fresh in your mind.

5. Retake Lower Grade Core Class

Repeating and retaking a class are two different things. Repeating is when a student fails, and retaking is when a student wants to improve their grade. If it’s allowed, retaking a core class can be very beneficial and can boost your GPA. Programs like nursing are ultra-competitive and they have core classes that may have a minimum GPA requirement.

My alma mater, Butte College, their Nursing Program has a requirement that states:

“Overall GPA of 2.5 for the Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, and Microbiology prerequisite courses, with no grade less than “C” for each course and no more than one repetition of one of these courses for purposes of GPA calculation.”

If a student received a C in each of these 3 classes, they would not meet the overall GPA requirement. Therefore, a student would need to retake one of them to earn a B or better. Many programs are structured like this so retaking a class may be necessary to meet GPA requirements or to stay competitive.

6. Take Only Credits You Need To Increase Your GPA

Your GPA becomes harder to change as you move through your academic career. The more credits you have completed, the less impact grade points have when GPA is calculated. An associate degree is a minimum of 60 credits and a bachelor’s is a minimum of 120 credits. It always amazes me when someone graduates with 85 credits or 140. It’s an absolute waste of time and money to have this many extra credits and it does not help your GPA any.

7. Study With Your Classmates

Studying with your classmates can be excellent support. Studies show that students have a higher success rate in classes if they work together. Forming study groups with peers leads to better grades and study habits. Having a bit of moral support is great motivation to do better in class.

8. Increase Your GPA By Meeting With Your Professor

College Professors are valuable resources who are often not fully utilized. Every professor holds office hours at least once a week, giving students a chance to drop in with questions or problems they may be having with the course material. I met with almost every one of my professors during office hours. I even had a professor who was willing to review and grade my papers before I submitted them because I visited during office hours. Our professors want us to succeed, a student just needs to reach out and ask.

9. Attend Class And Participate

It is important to attend all classes, especially if your GPA is suffering. When you show up to class consistently you will get a better understanding of the material, and you won’t miss out on important announcements. Participation also needs to be a priority. This means not only should you ask and answer questions but make observations too. Active and engaging students do better in class.

10. You Can Raise Your GPA By Taking Good Notes

Note-taking is important for many reasons. It keeps you engaged as it forces you to pay attention to what is being taught. You learn as you are writing, and you can use the notes to study later. They can help you remember important information for exams and assignments. I can’t count how many times a professor would mention, “This will be on the test” or “This information is on tonight’s homework”.

Good grades are needed to keep a healthy GPA. Learn all the Top Secret Ways To Get Good Grades.