As much as you can plan and hope for a successful school year, sometimes things can, well, head off track.

NCSA and MTP

Whether life as a student-athlete became a little overwhelming, or you did not prepare as well as you should have, the point is without the right grades, your days as a student-athlete will be numbered.

And your days as a collegiate student-athlete may be nonexistent.

A more important point? There’s time to get back on track and turn that transcript around.

If you find that you could be doing better in class, you need to start thinking about how to be a better student now, so your grades will meaningfully change before the end of the year. Without a qualifying GPA, or the right signs of growth and effort, it’s going to be much more challenging to get into the school of your choice or find an athletic scholarship opportunity.

The better your grades — and ACT/SAT scores — the more schools that will consider you. Plain and simple.

So let’s start today, by planning and reversing the damage of a struggling few months in the classroom.

Get better grades as a student-athlete by owning your situation.

Have you ever heard the phrase: “The first step is admitting you have a problem?” Owning what’s going on with your grades is often one of the hardest parts of getting back on the right track. It can be scary to face reality, and even scarier to face reality with your parents or coach.

However, assessing the situation and facing it head on is going to be a vital starting step. What class is the problem and how bad is it? This is going to be like ripping off a Band-Aid: it’s going to be hard, but once you commit to making a change it will get easier.

Ask for help with your grades today.

And by today, we mean today.

Approach your teacher and explain how serious you are about improving your grade and the work you are willing to put in to get it done.

Whether you have a strong relationship with your teachers or not, showing the initiative to meet with them and explain yourself will be a sign of maturity and goodwill that will go a long way in setting you up for support to start showing improvement and success.

It is also wise to inquire about tutoring opportunities or extra help outside of the classroom, either with your teachers or someone they recommend. The bottom line is to let them know you’ve recognized your poor start and are serious about finishing stronger than you are currently standing.

A great strategy to get better grades is to change your seat.

This is a positive step you can take literally immediately towards forming better habits for a particular class or classes. Student-athletes often hear the importance of sitting front and center, (many college coaches actually require this of their players and check on them to make sure that’s where they are sitting). 

Eliminating distractions –- and doing so without being told — is empowering, and will send a message to your teacher. Move away from your friends. Move out of the back. And if your teacher has assigned seating, ask politely to switch places and explain that you believe it will help you to succeed in class.  

Get up front. Get your hood or hat off. Get your pen and notebook out, and get grinding.

Get better grades by leaning on your teammates.

The beautiful part of being on a team? You have people with whom you have a lot in common, and many have either been in your situation before, or are there right now.  Open up to your teammates for advice and support. They need you on the team, and you need good grades to stay on the team, so helping you is going to be a win-win.

Chances are you also have a few friends who perform well in school. Ask them for help, for pointers, or see if they’d consider working with you on the bus to a game or after practice.

Being a student-athlete has many advantages; one major one is a built-in support system. Use it, and then do the same for someone else someday once you’ve pulled that GPA up.