How to Make the Dean’s List Every Quarter

For students and their families, making the Dean’s List is a proud moment.  It celebrates academic success and it’s not for nothing.  At DePaul, making the Dean’s List means having a term GPA in the top 25% percent of your class (classes are grouped by colleges) so it is a very attractive resume builder.  While getting on the Dean’s List is an academic accomplishment, there are plenty of practical ways to increase your chances of getting on the Dean’s List that don’t include long nights of caffeine fueled, panic induced cramming.

Arrange Your Classes Better

The classes you take each term is one of the biggest game changers when it comes to earning a high GPA.  If you take all your difficult classes at once, your grades are bound to slip.  Instead, try panning out your term to include a mix of more difficult and easier courses so that you can manage your study time easier.

How your schedule is arranged is also important to earning good grades.  I have found that keeping about an hour between classes and not scheduling blocks of more than two back to back classes at once forces better study habits.  Having time to spare between classes is not only a great time to knock out homework, but also a nice mental buffer to rest your mind from the last class so that you can be mentally present at your next one.  Its okay to use that time to do something you enjoy, for me, I like to go on short walks between class so I can stretch my legs and come to class energized.

How you setup your classes is dependent on the individual.  Know how you learn best and how long you can focus in a lecture so that you can avoid class scheduling situations that conflict with your ideal learning environment.  If you don’t think you can concentrate during a three-hour night class, don’t take one.  If a professor doesn’t communicate ideas to you in a way you understand, don’t take that professor again.  This is your education, do what you can to get the most from it.

Manage Your Time

Give yourself time to finish every assignment to the best of your ability.  That means estimating how much time every assignment will take right as it is assigned and giving yourself more time than that to work on it.  Set aside a few hours every day (yes, even on weekends) to work on assignments, even if they aren’t due that day.  Everyone procrastinates, but you will thank yourself later when you don’t have to spend every Sunday night trying to beat the 11:59 submission deadline for 3 different papers.

 Want to Learn

 If you are stuck, go to the library, talk to a peer mentor, email your professor,   do whatever you need to do other than give up.  Education is not a solo   pursuit and the benefit of learning in a University setting is that you do have   people to guide you.  Ask for help when you need it, information in classes   tend to build on each other so neglecting to learn a concept could knock your grade later down the line.  The students who make the deans list are not always the smartest students in a traditional sense, they are the most persistent.  They are the students who don’t let a hard assignment or monotone professor keep them from the pursuit of education.  They are the students who show up to SI sessions.  They are the students who get back from class and watch YouTube videos about the parts of a lecture they didn’t understand.

Try to Be a “Good Student”

Believe it or not, not all questions from professors are rhetorical!  Answer some of those questions, put yourself out there so your professor can know your name and that you do care about the class.  A little bit goes a long way and professors are much more willing to help you out if they can see you put forth effort.  Professor’s like the students who try their best, even if their best isn’t the best.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Having a bad quarter isn’t the end your college career.  Things happen and grades can slip, but you can always make the Dean’s list next quarter.  Make it a personal goal to outdo yourself every time by determining the grade you want or think you can achieve in a class before it even begins.  

– Jacob Siepkar