Become a 4.0 GPA student in 10 simple steps
13 mins read

Become a 4.0 GPA student in 10 simple steps

I shall start by saying that although some honor roll students make it look easy there is nothing easy about establishing habits to become a 4.0 student. I mean it can be done and it has been done since the Grade point average system was established. However, it is not for the faint of heart.

Being a 4.0 student is not an event, it is a lifestyle. It is something you will have to choose from every day. I mean I wish I could say that it is the easiest thing in the world, that it is something you can do in simple steps but that would be a lie.

Choosing to become a 4.0 student is a massive commitment and before you start this uphill climb you need to make sure that you have called yourself to a meeting and that you and yourself are all in.


This will sound super cliché but attitude is everything. A good attitude is the birthplace of success.

I know that different parts of the world feel differently about college but this isn’t about where you are. This is about you as an individual. If you are struggling with it then start by asking yourself why you went to college. Why did you go? Why are you choosing to stay?

Once you answer these questions then you’ll have somewhere to start.

Where I’m from, going to college got us out of poverty so it’s only natural that I feel very passionately about school. I loved my undergrad and I am very much looking forward to going to grad school. The college has saved my family but I realize that there are people who take college for granted and that’s okay.

This piece isn’t about me judging you from it, this is to remind you that college is still a privilege to most people in the world and if you are lucky enough to be able to go to college then you need to honor all the people who don’t have that luxury and treat it with the seriousness it deserves or surrender that opportunity to someone else.

Is it really that simple? Actually, it is.

We can try and complicate it with nonsense reasons but it really is that simple.

You need to be sure that you want to be there and then work on the why. The why will help you with any attitude problems you might have.

Set smart goals

Once you have optimized your attitude towards college you need to set some smart goals. These will depend on where your GPA is starting from. Is it over 2.0 or over 3.0?

Your starting point will be the one to determine the smart goals you set for yourself.

By SMART goals I mean goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Goals like score a 10 in my next assignment or scoring 27/30 points in the statistics mid-semester paper. Setting smart goals will help you track your progress and adjust your goals accordingly.


Wow, I cannot emphasize this enough. I’m aware that different schools treat attendance differently. However, for most American schools I think you get points for attendance. I mean how great is it that you get actual points that contribute to your GPA just for showing up. So what? So show up, duh!

At my alma mater attendance counted for 10 points. We’d get 5 at midterm and 5 at the end of the semester. These were basically free points and if you are going to become a 4.0 student then you need to take advantage of all the points you can right?

I have talked about attendance extensively however because it is so important I shall do so again. Why is it so important to attend class, outside of the ten free points?

You remember better. Some people would argue against this which is totally okay but I am telling you now that attendance will help with retention and retention will make studying easier and studying easier will make sure you don’t have any excuses NOT to study which will make sure that come exam day you are ready. Do you see how one thing leads to another?

Another reason why attendance will help you become a 4.0 student is that professors will not email about extra credit opportunities, these are things that are just for class sessions, and if you miss it then too bad. Attendance is also important because you will make sure you hear all the announcements firsthand.

What do I mean by announcements? I mean announcements about assignments, extra reading assignments, research, group work, and tips and tricks and leakages for the exam. These are all spoils that professors save for the students who bother to take their bodies to class.


Retake failed classes

Okay, let’s go back to the point where your GPA is at the moment. If your GPA is in the 2.0s then honey you’ll need to retake some classes. If you averaged anything lower than a C+ then I shall be your friend and advice you to retake those classes.

I mean only if you are serious about becoming a 4.0 student. If you are serious about it then you are down to do what it takes and what it takes is for you to retake any classes where you scored something lower than a C+.

See a course advisor

This is a good one. If you are serious about becoming a 4.0 student then you need to become friends with your course advisor. I have written an article about how to quickly boost your GPA and one of the things I wrote about there was that you will need to see your course advisor.

Your course advisor is like a genie. Course advisors have information that will help you select class combinations that will improve your GPA in ways that you couldn’t on your own.

They also know a lot about professors whose classes are easier to pass than others based on feedback they get from students as well as student average performance from various professor classes which they can access from the school records.

Consult your professors

Another thing that you need to do if you are serious about being a 4.0 student is to talk to your professors about it. Tell them that you were having a hard time and that you need extra credit assignments to try and see if you can catch up and if that isn’t an option then perhaps a retake of quizzes or something.

In any case, you can’t repair your GPA by yourself. You will need your professors in on it. If you have a d**k for a professor then you might consider dropping the class and then try again with another instructor who is more reasonable to work with.

After all, learning is a collaboration between you and your instructor so if the one you have is not willing to collaborate then get one who will.

Extra credit

Something else you need on your road to becoming a 4.0 student is extra credit assignments. Most of the time it will be a research paper so you might want to learn how to properly do research and site it in the style that is accepted at your school. Seems like something small but I assure you it’ll go a long way.

Extra credit can do two things, it can act as a  safety net just in case a midterm or final paper comes at you the wrong way or it can help you make up for doing poorly in the past. In any case, extra credit will paint you in good light with your professors and this rapport will go a long, long way so take advantage of it.


Okay, assignments are free points. If you are serious about becoming a 4.0 student and I am sure that you are otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post then you need to take your assignments seriously.

These are essentially free points because it’s not like you are being tested the pressure is low, and most of the time you will have a reasonable amount of time to do them. Take advantage and score maximum points on all your assignments.

Study regularly

This one should really go without saying but I shall go ahead and say it anyway there is no 4.0 GPA without studying. I shall say that again. THERE IS NO 4.0 GPA WITHOUT STUDYING!

You need to come up with a studying schedule that works for you. Something that strikes a balance with all your course needs. It can’t be too lax and it can’t be too ambitious either. The best way to find out what works the best for you is trial and error. Give yourself some room to see what works ok?

The bottom line however is that you must study. There is no way out of this one. This is where good grades are born so you must commit.

A good rule of thumb is to study weekly. I think that telling you to study daily won’t work because it didn’t work for me but if you think that you can study daily then have at it. But a good rule of thumb is to have study sessions at least twice a week that caters to all the courses you are taking.  You can adjust this as needed.

Sleep enough

Finally, you need to rest your brain. You want to be a 4.0 student right? You need a brain that’s working at full speed. Your brain needs to rest. You need to rest and sleep enough.

Yes, I know the constant temptation that is Netflix and Hulu, Amazon Prime, and all the other sites that allow you to binge-watch content. I’m a binge-watcher too but when I was working on my GPA guess what, everything took a back seat.

To recap, it isn’t easy to become a 4.0 student but with hard work and dedication, it can be done. I do care where your GPA is at, it can be done, you just need to be willing to do the work.

Speaking of doing the work, what does the work entail? It entails you fixing your attitude. Your attitude towards college, towards your courses, toward your instructors, all of it. It also involves you taking your body to class, in a word, attendance. The work will also involve setting smart goals that you will need to commit to.

If you have failed some classes then you will definitely need to retake them. I shall definitely write a post on how to know when to retake classes. Next, you’ll need to visit your course advisor, they will help you chart the course to academic success.

It will be impossible for you to fix your GPA on your own so consult your professors, they will help, and if they are useless for this endeavor, then please consider dropping the class and retaking it with an instructor who cares about your academic success. You will also need to take advantage of extra credit opportunities and ace all your assignments.

After doing all that then you owe it to yourself to study regularly right? To make all that other effort worth it, all that’s left will be to get enough sleep. I know that last part seems especially easy but I think we both know that it’s not. However, if you want to become a 4.0 GPA student then you’ll need to prioritize your sleep.