How to Raise Your GPA

How to Raise Your GPA

A good grade point average (GPA) can mean a wider range of opportunities for your career. With a high GPA you would be able to be more confident in your college admissions process, you could go on to a good graduate program or professional school, and that would mean better work and life opportunities after your college career is over.


Measuring your GPA

In order to do a better job of raising your GPA, the first step is to know where you stand right now. Calculating your cumulative GPA is easy:

If you’re in high school and your school uses an unweighted GPA scale, all you need to do is to convert letter grades to grade points, sum all the grade points and divide by the number of classes.

If your high school uses a weighted GPA scale, you need to consider the extra point on the scale for honors and advanced placement classes.

If you’re in college, you need to take into account credit hours, multiplying the grade points for each class by the number of credits, and then dividing the sum of grade points by the total number of credits.

Even easier is to use our cumulative GPA calculator, so you can focus on raising your grade point average.

What can you do to improve your GPA?


If you’re a determined, hard-working student, or you want to become one, there are lots of strategies you can employ to work raising your GPA.

First Step : Make a plan and stay focused

The first step is to set realistic goals for yourself in the short, mid, and long term, and devise a plan that will help you meet those goals. Find out what your current GPA is and what grades do you need in order to achieve your objectives.

Second Step : Start working on improving your GPA as early as you can

As we mentioned before, time is a key factor in your ability to raise your GPA. The GPA is a measurement that averages all your grades. As time passes and the number of grades used to calculate your cumulative GPA increases, then it becomes more difficult to raise your GPA.

Let’s consider an example. If you have a 2.0 GPA based on the grades of 5 classes, getting 3.0 grade points in another 5 courses will improve your average grade GPA in half a point, up to 2.5. But if that same GPA of 2.0 was be the average of 10 classes, then your 5 classes with 3.0 grade points would only raise your GPA 0.33 points. Starting early gives you an advantage you can’t afford to miss.

Third Step : Every class counts

All grades count the same towards your cumulative average grade GPA calculation. Don’t slack in a course just because you don’t like it. A bad grade would hurt your GPA and your graduate school or college application. If you want to improve or maintain a high GPA, then you need to take all your classes seriously.

Fourth Step : Take harder classes

This may sound counterintuitive, but if you already have a good GPA, then one sure way to improve it is to enroll in honors or advanced placement classes. These courses not only will give you a bonus in your GPA calculations but even though you may end up with slightly lower grades, college admissions officials will evaluate positively that you challenged yourself with more academically rigorous courses.

But if your GPA is already struggling, then enrolling in higher difficulty courses may hurt you. It’d best to try other strategies first, and then consider honors and AP classes when you’re ready for the challenge they represent.

Fifth Step : Ask for extra help from your teachers

Take advantage of office hours and discuss with your teachers what steps you can take to raise your GPA average. They may allow you to re-submit an essay, work on extra credit assignments, or provide you with guidance. And your teachers will appreciate that you’re making an effort and will improve your reputation with them.

Sixth Step : Talk with your parents

It might not be the easiest conversation, but it’s a smart one to have. If you are struggling with your grades, or not, but you want to improve them anyway, then discuss this with your family. You can discuss together how they can support you to help you succeed. It may be helpful in shaping up your study habits.

Seventh Step : Go to class regularly and participate actively

No, downloading the lecture presentation is not the same as attending a live class. At a minimum, you’ll lose the chance to ask questions and listen to the questions of your classmates. You’ll also miss key verbal explanations that will help you understand the material.

Class participation will make you more likely to engage with the subject and it’ll help you understand and remember the material from class to class. Becoming a participant, instead of a passive observer will also increase your self-confidence.

Also, skipping class will hurt your reputation. Teachers have some leeway when handing out grades, so by showing up in class and participating actively then a teacher might be more likely to round a B+ into an A-.

Eighth Step : Take advantage of any extra credit opportunities

If you’re not happy with your current grade in a class, then make sure to take advantage of any extra credit opportunities that may exist. You could also ask your teacher if they’d be willing to give you any extra credit assignments. Yes, you’d need to work more, but no one said this would be easy.

Ninth Step : Be organized

There are only so many hours in a day. By organizing yourself you’d be able to save time and effort you can spend to study, have fun, or just rest and sleep.

Organize your class schedule, your notes, and your time, so you can start working on assignments as soon as possible. It’s also useful to schedule time to work on assignments on your calendar and set yourself reminders with the deadlines for each work. Organize your working area, so you spend less time looking for what you need, and more time studying and working.

Tenth Step : Avoid all-nighters

If you need to put an all-nighter it means you haven’t been working properly during the semester, and now you need to make that up with a last-minute effort. Studying consistently through the semester is a much smarter strategy. Also, lack of sleep is directly linked to poor academic performance, so even though you might be able to pull it off if the course is easy, all-nighters aren’t a practical or sustainable strategy.

Eleventh Step : Use the library

It could be the library or any other space where you’re less likely to be interrupted during your study time. A library would also, of course, offer you all the resources you need to expand your reading and be better prepared for your classes. Going beyond what’s been assigned as mandatory readings will help you become a better thinker and a better student.

Twelfth Step : Change your studying habits

Developing good study habits and keeping a healthy routine that includes enough time to rest and sleep have a deep impact on your GPA points. It’s not about studying long hours, but about making the most of your study time and being consistent in working throughout the whole semester.

Thirteenth Step : Join a study group

Joining a study group is one of the best ways to raise your GPA. It’ll help you stay on track, be more organized and provide accountability, and it’ll give you a chance to compare notes, ask questions, and better understand the class material. If you can, join a study group with high GPA students. If you can’t, then try to form one yourself.

What is a good GPA?

We all can agree that the highest your GPA, the better. The national average in high school is an unweighted 3.0, which is a B average. This figure includes all students in the country, including those that aren’t planning on attending college. Even though a grade point average higher than 3.0 would mean that you’re an above-average student, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to attend the college of your choice.

If you’re in college, the same logic applies. The average GPA for 4-year college students in the US is 3.15, or B average, although this average has strong variations by school and degree, and some graduate programs may require a GPA above 3.5 to be considered for admission.

A good GPA can mean something different for each person. So start by looking at your context to find out what a good GPA means for you:

Your school, your college, your degree

If you have a GPA of 3.4, but you’re one of the top students in your class, then it may be that your high school is particularly tough. When submitting college applications, admissions officers will take this into consideration, and potentially it’d look better than a higher GPA at a less rigorous school. If you’re in college, you should compare yourself with your peers in your college and your degree. Math and science degrees have a lower average GPA than social sciences degrees, for example.

Your coursework

A perfect GPA of 4.0 may not look that impressive in your college applications if those grades were obtained by attending lower difficulty classes. Admissions officers would look at the difficulty of your courses and will value a lower GPA obtained in difficult classes.

Your goals and objectives

If you want to attend an Ivy League college like Harvard, the average freshman high school GPA was 3.93, and most likely their coursework included honors and AP classes. In other colleges, the incoming freshman average GPA would be lower. You’d need also to meet a minimum GPA requirement to qualify for most financial and federal aid, like scholarships and grants. If you’re in college and are planning on attending a graduate school like law school, then you also need to look at the GPA requirements for your graduate program.

Plan your goals for the long term to put your current GPA in context. Depending on your ambitions and what you want to achieve, then you’d be in a good position to evaluate your GPA.


Is it hard to raise your GPA?

If you want to raise your GPA, the best you can do is to start as early as possible. Waiting until your senior year could mean that you only would be able to raise your GPA a few points, even though you may get an A in all your courses.

The fact is that it’s much easier to maintain a GPA than to raise one, and, as GPA is an average, the sooner you start, the easiest it is to increase it. Ideally, you should start focusing on this in your freshman year, whether you’re in high school or in college.

If you’re already in your senior year in high school, then you would do better focusing on your SAT scores, as there’s little you can do that will dramatically improve your GPA.


Can I raise my GPA from 2.0 to 3.0 in a semester?

As we said, the sooner you start the better. The only occasion in which you could raise an unweighted GPA from 2.0 to 3.0 in a single semester would be in your freshman year. If you have the same number of classes in your second semester and you get straight As in all your classes, then you’d be able to achieve this rare feat. Otherwise, it’d be impossible.

Helpful Guides

How to Raise GPA
A good grade point average (GPA) can mean a wider range of opportunities for your career.

How to Calculate Grades
It’s important to know how to calculate your grades, so you can keep track of your progress in all your classes and where you need to put on more effort to increase your GPA.