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Did you just wake up from hibernation and realize the spring semester is half over? Maybe you have not been 100% focused on school these past few months? It doesn’t matter the reason you are in this position. Here are a few tips to help you turn your F into an A, tips that do not involve Wite-Out®. 😃

1.   Identify the Problem

Before you start working on fixing the current problem, you need to figure out what caused you to be in this situation in the first place. This way you can do your best to prevent it from happening again. It’s easy to get focused on the few things that have you struggling right now. The failure to see the big picture can often land you right back at the bottom of the academic ladder.

The steps you will take, and the actions that will deliver the best result, differ based on the cause of the problem. So always start by asking your self “why am I here” and “do I really want to fix this?” Often something seemed like a great idea a few months ago and now you realize that it was not the best option. Maybe you took a class that sounded interesting or you thought was something it is not. We all need to live with the consequences of our actions, so you need to stick with it. After my first semester in college I realized that the course title can be deceiving. I suggest you plan your academic calendar wisely. Research classes now by talking to professors and students who are currently enrolled. Think about when classes are offered, I got stuck in college because some classes were only offered in the fall, and I took some evening classes and I have a hard time focusing in the evening.

2.   Seek Help

Before you start working on anything you need to seek out help. I know, pride, but suck it up. If you are reading this blog you are one step closer. For me, it helps to first seek out the help of the teacher. A friend of mine who is a teacher told me “a grade is more accurately a reflection of the student’s motivation and engagement than their intelligence.” Basically what he is saying is that you are probably smart enough to have an A and the only thing that separates you from the top is a commitment to get there. Contacting your teacher will help you identify where you struggle and where you excel. They can also help you formulate a plan, see #3. In my experience, this is always the hardest step.

After you talk with your teacher, talk to a parent or mentor. Everyone needs someone on their side, and these people are probably already in your corner. Later in the process you will likely need to solicit advise from these people, so nurture that relationship now.

3.   Formulate a Plan

If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Work with your teacher to know exactly what work you are missing, what is still upcoming and what your options are to make up work. Be exact with your plan. Make sure there are dates attached to every task and stick to the schedule. I have found Asana to be a great tool to help organize my task list, maybe it will help you.

TIP: Start your plan with your syllabus and knowing what will be due the rest of the semester. It will show your teacher that you are serious about doing better in class and make sure you don’t miss upcoming deadlines.

4.   Use Some Tech

There is no reason to make this any harder, you are already behind the proverbial eight ball. If you have apps and websites in place, use them. Use social media to stay connected to others in class, especially those who are at the top of class. I love Evernote, Asana and Dropbox to organize notes, tasks and files. If you have other apps that is okay, just do what you can to make working your plan as easy as possible. You can also use a variety of websites to get tutoring if you are struggling to grasp the concepts. Check out Khan Academy as one.

5.   Reward Yourself

You are going to work hard to get that A, you deserve something for it. I like to set small rewards for my progress. My favorite is to take a break and take in a movie or sporting event if I complete all my tasks on time that week. This helps keep me motivated in the short term. Don’t forget a larger long-term goal, something related to why you want an A in the first place.

Following these tips should get you back on track and if you work hard enough at it you could get that A. Just remember to stay calm and focused.

Let me know what works for you. Did you find an app that helped you achieve your goal? Did someone share a tip with you? We would all love to benefit from your new found enlightenment. Share your thoughts in the comments below.