Despite the best efforts, we don’t always achieve the results we hope for. Whether it’s a test, paper or project, it can be difficult to bounce back without a plan. However, swift action can help increase your chances to improve your GPA and finish the semester strong.
The important thing to remember is “don’t panic,” states Jackie Coello, FIU Online success coach. There are several things students can do and resources they may access to help, she explains.
The following lists five ways to help improve your class performance.
1. Talk to your professor
Communication is key every semester. Be sure to communicate with your professor at the start of the term and throughout the semester, when needed, or simply to touch base. If students are communicating and seeking guidance, chances are they will succeed in their classes.
It is better to reach out beforehand and avoid only communicating at the end of the semester or only if the professor reaches out. Focus on getting to know your professor. Professors are partners in your education. If your performance is not where it should be, work to understand the reasoning. Some professors may offer extra credit opportunities.
2. Speak to a college life coach or online ‘success coach’
If you're trying to think through things like time management, study strategies or motivation barriers, reach out to the College Life Coaching program to get some expert guidance.
Also, all fully online, undergraduate students are assigned a dedicated coach who can help them make a plan for success. Whether it’s speaking to professors or setting goals, success coaches connect fully online students to the university resources they need, states Shequesta Scott, FIU Online success coach.
“Start each week with a list of tasks,” advises Scott. “We can support you in creating a plan A, B and even a C.”
3. Get tutoring
Students have access to free tutoring at various campus offices, particularly through the Center for Academic Success. The center offers tutoring in a variety of subject areas, as well as programs that develop your critical thinking and learning strategies. Students can access tutoring in person or online via one-on-one sessions, small groups, study halls or workshops.
If you need to improve your grammar or general language mechanics, consider using the FIU’s Center for Excellence in Writing. Students can easily schedule face-to-face or online tutoring sessions with multilingual tutors, who will help polish your work and provide guidance that you can apply to future assignments.
Fully online students have another layer of resources available to them, states Eddie Leon, FIU Online success coach. “We partnered with Smarthinking to offer free tutoring to all undergraduate fully online students,” he notes.
4. Manage your time and use tools to your benefit
Allow yourself the maximum amount of time to work on assignments. Be aware of deadlines, keep an agenda or digital calendar and, for those in online courses or with classes that have a Canvas component, use your “To Do” list and calendar in Canvas.
Also, take full advantage of technology, study spaces and support offered through university offices and programs, including the Disability Resource Center, the FIU Libraries and, for online students, FIU Online, among many other resources. For example, FIU's online learning content offers increased accessibility within the Canvas learning management system to help students. FIU has the following alternative formats enabled: Tagged PDF, HTML, ePUB, Electronic Braille, Audio and Beeline Reader.
Take advantage of all the resources — they are here to help you.
5. Set goals and follow through
Mid-semester is a good time to check your goals and make sure you are on track to meeting them. It also gives you time to change course, if needed.
“Halfway through the semester, stay focused on finishing strong,” states Coello.
Consider essential tasks first, she explains, and be flexible in case unforeseen circumstances arise. Break down large tasks into smaller parts, and create a task list that you can tackle little by little.
“Give yourself some grace," she says. "If you get off track, don’t beat yourself up. Take time to reflect on what happened and consider what you can do to get back on track."