Are you a student or a parent of a student who wants better grades? Or do you work with students in high school or in college who need a little help with grade improvement? If so, the following tips excerpted from College Survival & Success Skills 101 could be helpful.
Have a great day! 

Marianne Ragins and The Scholarship Workshop LLC

The following are a few strategies students should always keep in mind for getting the most out of their classes and for making the best grades.
  • Attend class, be attentive, and ask questions (particularly for class participation credit).
  • Learn your instructor’s office hours and use them! Or, if you’re a current high school student, know when and how to ask your teacher for help.
  • Ask for help and extra credit work before you need it. Never wait until the day before the exam or the end of the semester to get assistance in a class that is difficult for you. Last minute requests for help usually result in a poor outcome.
  • Pay attention to your course syllabus. Review it often.
  • Post all exam dates or approximate dates prominently in a wall calendar or handheld organizer with an automatic reminder.
  • Monitor where you are in the course constantly. After your first exam, sit down with your instructor or teacher to review where you stand in terms of grades for each area outlined in your course syllabus. If you did not do well on the first exam, ask your instructor for additional help or study ideas.
  • For all reports and papers due for your classes, always go the extra mile. Even if not required, always include the following extra touches:
    • Cover page with appropriate graphics that include instructor’s name, course title and number, date of submission, your name, and student number unless otherwise instructed.
    • Page numbers.
    • Table of contents.
    • Table of illustrations, tables, and charts.
    • Bibliography or works cited (ask the instructor if there is a specific format to follow for a research paper in their class). Include at least five sources for a research paper. When researching use a variety of sources. Do not rely solely on the Internet.
    • If in doubt, ask for an example. Visit your instructor and ask to see an example of an A paper received from a former student. Ask what key items contributed to the grade for the paper. Strive to do as well or better on the paper you submit. Even if they don’t say it specifically, most instructors are impressed by a well-presented paper. This means delivery and content matter.
  • Never miss the class just before the exam. Many instructors will review for the mid-term or final exam during this period.
  • Always take notes in class. Some instructors will structure their exams based partially or entirely on class lectures and examples.
  • Even if it seems like the instructor is not following your course materials (books, workbooks, etc.), make sure to keep up with your reading. Some instructors will give exams based entirely on the course materials and examples shown in them.
  • The college exam process is not like high school. You may have no more than one or two exams before your final. This means your opportunities to improve your final grade with a better grade on the next exam are very limited. If you flunk or bomb out on the first exam, your next opportunity may be a midterm, leaving you only one chance to affect your grade with the final exam. Even if you are in high school, you should always strive for the highest grades on every test so your GPA will be positively affected by your best grade in the class.
  • Never take a wrong answer or failed/poor exam grade and move on. Always visit your instructor or a study lab to find out why the answer is wrong or your answer is unclear. Some instructors may give similar questions or review the same concepts on the next exam. This means that if you don’t understand why you had problems on the first exam, you’ll probably do poorly on the next exam if the same concepts are tested.
  • If you miss the deadline date for an assignment, don’t settle for an F. Ask your instructor if you can turn it in late for reduced credit or an automatic one letter grade reduction.
To read more about this topic, see College Survival & Success Skills 101.
Last Week Students in Arlington 
Wrote Scholarship & College Essays 
with Marianne
Won Almost $100 in Prize Money
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
If you can, please consider donating time or money to an organization of your choice to support breast cancer research. If breast cancer has affected your life or that of a family member also know that there may be scholarships such as the Dr. Angela Grant Memorial Scholarship or a
Cancer for College scholarship available to you.
On November 9 – Get Help Writing Essays in Landover, MD

If you don’t live in or near Landover, MD check out The Scholarship & College Essay Planning Kit or The Scholarship Success Toolkit

Attend The Scholarship Workshop in Macon, Georgia!


Learn how to find and win scholarships with Marianne Ragins on November 23 at Macedonia Church in Macon, GA!
See this page to register:
This workshop is open to the public and free for everyone to attend. 
Upcoming Online Scholarship Classes 
We accept purchase orders for the above classes and our printed resources from many educational institutions. Please send us an e-mail to for additional information. 
The Scholarship Success Toolkit
“It’s like having The Scholarship Boot Camp in a Box!”
Upcoming Scholarship Deadlines
October 31 – Coca-Cola Scholarship ($20,000 scholarship open to high school seniors) – Marianne won the Coca-Cola Scholarship as a high school senior. She writes about being in the competition in Winning Scholarships for College.
November 5Elks Most Valuable Student Scholarship Contest – $4,000 to $50,000 scholarships open to high school seniors.

November 30 – Education Matters Scholarship

$5000 scholarship open to students at least 13 years of age.

To get more upcoming deadlines, see

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Winning Scholarships for College 

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The Scholarship and College Essay Planning Kit 

Helps slow starters get their essays started AND finished.
– Get started BEFORE senior year winning scholarships and awards.
Last Minute College Financing Guide – Helps you find college money late in your high school senior year and beyond.


College Survival & Success Skills 101 – Helps students get off to a fast start in college, avoid pitfalls, and do well the 1st year and beyond.


Pay for College Using the Internet and Social Media – Helps you use the Internet and social media effectively to find scholarships and financial aid online to shrink your tuition bill.
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