Achieving a High GPA

Debatably the most important aspect of your college application is your GPA. Now, achieving a superior GPA might seem elusive, but it shouldn’t be. People get them all the time. It all comes down to a few things— strategy, routine, and discipline. Here are some helpful approaches to improving and maintaining your grades.


One of the most basic components of college success is having a good attitude. Although this sounds like empty advice, a positive attitude can be a massive tool for academic excellence. Just think about it, do you perform better when you hate every second of a task, or the opposite—when you can’t wait to do more?

It is imperative to note, however, nobody can be upbeat and optimistic 100% of the time, but luckily, that’s not what I’m recommending here. The real secret is to strategize when you want to be happy, and believe it or not you can choose. 

As a veteran, you’ve experienced some challenging situations in your military career, and hopefully, you understand that going to class is a privilege. Just remember that sitting a lecture is much better than the military alternative—digging a fighting hole, standing watch, etc.

Managing Stress

Everyone gets stressed, but remember, you’re not in the military setting anymore, so take breaks when you need to. Breaks will fight off burnout and manage your stress levels so you can stay on your A-game. On the flip side, though, don’t take too many breaks; the last thing you want to do is fall into a lazy streak of procrastination and Netflix binging sessions. Also, make a conceited effort to practice healthy breaks; this means staying off social media and going outside or getting some exercise. 

Dealing with Bad News

Didn’t do well on your exam? Forgot to turn something in? Stubbed your toe in your bedroom? Doesn’t matter because the solution is the same—when you receive bad news, go make good news. Take a hiatus, and celebrate this opportunity for growth. 

Since no one is immune to failure, it is all about how you deal with your situation in the wake of your shortcomings. After taking a breath, identify and analyze your misstep(s), and create a solution for next time to prevent the repetition of the same mistake. 

Office Hours

Any successful academic will tell you that office hours are extremely important. By going to speak with your professor one on one, you are creating a relationship that otherwise would not exist. Eventually, after attending enough office hours (but not too many), you and your professor’s relationship will grow into something useful for both of you. You will see an opportunity for a solid letter of recommendation, as well as a reliable source for clarification on ideas covered in your class. Your professor will see an excited student who enjoys their mentorship and area of expertise. 

Professor Relationships

I cannot stress how critical it is to approach your professor the first day, or at the very latest, the first week of class. When you approach them mention you are excited to take their class and let them know you are a veteran. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask some questions about them or the class to gain a clearer picture of what to expect throughout the semester.