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Tips to Improve Your GPA

Your chances of college admission depend in large part on your academic performance. Research shows that these study strategies will help you succeed.

Fostering good study habits now will pay off in high school—and prepare you for the challenge of college classrooms.

Get Ahead in Class

  • Take notes. This helps your brain sort out what is important and makes the information easier to retrieve. Go over your notes each day while the lecture is still fresh in your mind.
  • Sit near the front. Students that do get better grades.
  • Speak up. Ask questions and join discussions. You'll retain content much better than if you stay quiet.
  • Keep up. Don't fall behind on assignments. Ask for help if you do.
  • Improve reading and writing skills. This will not only help your high school grades, but also help you create strong applications and do better in college.

Get Organized

  • Plan your time. Whether you use a personal planner or a spiral notebook, note assignments and due dates. Create a weekly schedule that prioritizes time for study (and relaxation).
  • Dedicate a daily study time. Students who follow a daily study schedule tend to get better grades than those who study based on test dates and deadlines.
  • Make a priority list of tasks every day. This will help you avoid procrastination and do your most important tasks first.

Study Effectively

  • Quiz yourself. Research shows that self-testing, such as with flash cards, helps students retain knowledge more effectively. The results are even better with a friend or study group.
  • Vary your study locations. This keeps your brain alert and allows better retention of the material.
  • Don't cram. Short study sessions and varied study topics are more effective than intensive, last-minute studying on a single subject.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Get enough sleep. Your brain needs rest to function at its best.
  • Reward yourself. Celebrate your achievements, big and small.
  • Ask for help. If you feel you're floundering, get advice immediately from a teacher, counselor, or parent.

What's Next?

  • Go beyond your GPA. Impress colleges with the challenging courses you are taking. Show You're Ready: Challenge Yourself shows you what types of courses colleges look for.
  • Impress colleges even further by taking a college class. Why Not Take a College Class? shows you how to sign up for college classes and work with your high school to add college credit to your transcript.
For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

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Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.