raise gpa

College recruiters and admissions boards frequently use a student’s GPA to guide their decision. While it’s not a perfect indicator of future success, it does provide insight into a student’s current engagement with school.

Not every student enters high school with the right tools to boost a sagging GPA. Many factors can contribute to poor performance, but it’s not too late to take control. With the right combination of tactics, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll see improved results.

Through a combination of smart planning, hard work, diligence, and the right support, any student can find success.

Now, let’s get started on a new path!

Reach Out for Help

When a student doesn’t understand course material, the best resource is usually the instructor. They’re able to connect with the student regularly and have direct knowledge of the assignments. Most teachers have tutoring times set aside either before or after school to provide individual instruction.

Depending on the district, students may also have opportunities for extra credit. They can improve their GPA by completing additional assignments or making corrections.

Working with a tutor is an excellent way for students who need extra support to boost their grade point average. Tutors can tailor lessons to a learner’s needs and develop test-taking strategies for upcoming exams. At C2 Education, our tutors customize their approach and curriculum to your student so they can make the most of each session.

Set Realistic Goals

One of the first tactics students should employ to achieve better grades is to set realistic goals. Depending on a student’s grade, they may be unable to change their GPA significantly.

If it’s early in the semester, teachers will provide many opportunities to offset a lackluster test grade or project with other graded assignments. However, the end of the grading period is often too late to make drastic improvements. Students should take advantage of every opportunity as it arises.

Working with their teacher and academic counselors, many students can find a path toward improvement. To set achievable goals, students should take a realistic look at what they can achieve in a given time frame.

If your student feels like they’re in over their head or falling behind, checking in with counselors and teachers a few times in each grading period can make a difference. When problems arise, they can step in more quickly to address student concerns.

What are SMART Goals?

When a problem seems like an insurmountable obstacle, a SMART goal could be precisely what’s needed. Using this framework, students and their support team can create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound next steps.

For example, let’s say a student is struggling with their calculus class. They want to improve their test score and plan to implement a SMART goal to determine their next steps.

The first step is to set a specific goal. Specific goals are easily identifiable steps that are memorable and actionable. Simply saying, “I want to do better in my calculus class,” isn’t clear enough to measure. A better choice might be, “I want to improve my next test score by 10 percent from the last by studying harder and working with a tutor.” Here, the student has a specific goal to achieve.

Next, they would set a measurable goal. Measurable goals have data to back up the results. Instead of keeping a goal vague, students should specify the result they want. In the above example, the student wants to improve their score by 10%. This is goal can be measured by comparing their previous score to the next score.

Once they have a measurable goal, students should determine whether it is achievable. Having an achievable goal helps identify what’s possible from the beginning of the goal to the end. An attainable goal should be challenging but not impossible in the time frame available. For instance, let’s say the student in our example only has two weeks to prepare. While it might not be possible to improve their grade by 40 percent in that time frame, 10 percent is possible.

Each SMART goal a student sets should be relevant to their desired outcome. Since the student in our example wants to improve their GPA, aiming for higher test scores builds up to that goal.

Making each goal time-bound provides a reasonable length of time for measuring success. There may be larger goals that take longer to achieve, but for our student, one test to the next might be a two- or four-week time frame. At the end of that period, our student can choose make a new goal or assess what went wrong.

Weighted Courses Can Boost Your GPA

In addition to personal performance, students should make note of which classes have weighted scores. Students wanting to raise their GPA can look at personal performance, but there’s another place where improvement is possible.

Many school systems have “weighted GPA” scales, which give more points for advanced classes. A weighted course may work on a 5.0 rather than a 4.0 scale. Good grades in these courses can boost the overall GPA faster than on-level courses.

Frequently, students in AP or honors classes have points added to their scores during GPA calculations to reflect the difficulty of the course. Students who know they can achieve at least a B in these types of classes should take them. They’ll see a marked improvement in their overall GPA.

However, not every student can take a full schedule of these courses and perform at their best. Students should take an honest look at academic strengths and weaknesses. While more rigorous courses look nice on a college application, they only help an application if a student passes them. College recruiters prefer higher grades in on-level classes than lower grades in advanced classes.

Develop a Study Routine

The best time to start helping your student improve their GPA is before it’s a concern. Students who know how to study effectively are much more likely to succeed in boosting their GPA. Honing study skills makes the time spent on homework more efficient and helps students maximize their effort.

Studying doesn’t have to involve hours alone at a desk taking notes. Students can seek out opportunities for group study and mnemonic devices over rote memorization. The best study method is the one that produces positive results for the student.

Choosing how to organize study time is another way for students to keep up with challenging classes. With hours of homework and exams to prepare for, a daily calendar is an effective tool. Some students benefit from a physical planner, while others prefer a digital tool or app.

Successful study routines involve setting aside time daily for classwork and projects. Students should avoid scheduling other conflicts during this time to focus on completing academic work and tasks that are due isoon. Using this time wisely prevents cramming or rushing to finish projects as neither of these behaviors contributes to academic success.

In some cases, working with a tutor can provide the necessary boost for students who need more support. Including time for this sort of intervention could make a significant difference.

Plan A Schedule That Plays to A Student’s Strengths

Another factor that impacts a student’s GPA has to do with which classes they choose to take during high school. We mentioned already that not every student thrives in AP and honors classes, and it’s true. When selecting a schedule, it’s necessary to take a candid look at where academic strengths and weaknesses lie.

While students likely must take required core courses to graduate, there are usually on-level and honors or AP options.

Many states have graduation plans that students select during their eighth-grade year.

Choosing a four-year plan that allows growth throughout their high school years is a good idea. This allows students to start building a solid academic base during ninth and tenth grade and course correct as necessary. Then, focus on AP classes that play to their strengths in the final years of high school.

Poor performance in weighted classes doesn’t help boost a GPA, but high performance in regular classes will. Consider that when choosing which courses to take.

Participate in Class

In a study done at NYU, results show that students who participate in class are much more likely to succeed. Several factors contribute to students’ willingness to engage with their learning environment. Regular attendance and active participation can help students improve their GPA.

Taking notes in class and participating in group discussions to build confidence and increase understanding and performance. Students can prepare for discussions by reviewing material ahead of time and making notes of things they don’t understand. Students can ask these questions during class if they aren’t covered in the lesson.

Instructors recognize students who engage with them during lessons. When they need help, these students already have a rapport with their teacher and feel more comfortable asking for help.

We also recommend building a study group or finding a buddy in challenging classes. If students miss a class or two, they’ve got another backup in place to explain the material.

Develop Test-Taking Strategies

Tests are a necessary part of the educational process. They’re metrics that show where students have internalized the material and where they’re missing out. However, without the right test-taking strategies in place, students who experience anxiety may not have an accurate representation of their accomplishments. Worse, their GPA can suffer from low grades on tests.

Harvard Summer School suggests some tips that can help test takers be more successful. For students who’ve used their study time wisely, doing a first pass to answer questions they know is recommended. Then, go back through and spend more time on questions that pose a greater challenge.

Use all of the time allotted for the exam, and don’t rush through.

For students who need extra help developing good testing strategies, working with a tutor is a good plan. They’re often able to replicate testing environments and provide questions that mimic those on the test.


Here are some of the most asked questions about raising your student’s GPA:

How can you raise your GPA fast?

A student’s GPA is a cumulative record of academic achievement. Raising it quickly isn’t usually possible. The best strategy is to start early and keep working to achieve desired grades in courses.

Other considerations include taking less rigorous courses and taking more courses to reduce the impact of a few low grades.

How much will your GPA go up if you get all As?

It all depends on your starting GPA and grade level. GPAs are calculated by the sum of all grades for each course throughout your high school experience divided by the total number of credits taken. A sophomore will see a greater impact than a senior because they have fewer classes in the equation.

Students in weighted classes also have the ability to boost their GPA even more. A perfect score in an unweighted class is 4.0, but in a weighted course, it’s sometimes as high as 5.3.

Taking all of this into consideration, the best answer is unique to each student. Use a GPA calculator to determine what’s necessary to achieve the goal.

Can you retake classes to improve your GPA in high school?

Each high school has its own policy on grade replacement, so check with an academic counselor before attempting this strategy. Some will allow one attempted retake to replace a grade. Others will average the two grades, which may not be worth the time and effort required.

A better approach is to spend that time working with a tutor to improve performance in a particular subject. Also, students should consider what negatively impacted their score and make changes accordingly.

Raising Your GPA Provides New Learning Opportunities

When students take an interest in their academic achievement, they’re more likely to find lasting success. The strategies we’ve discussed will help your student develop life-long learning skills that carry through into college. While the goal of raising a low GPA is a good starting point, forming an engaged mindset is usually the result.

If your student needs more support to overcome academic weaknesses, consider C2 Education’s tutoring programs. We offer comprehensive, in-person tutoring across all subjects and all levels. Helping your student boost their GPA is an investment, and we’re ready to partner with you.

Reach out to your local C2 Education center to begin the journey today!