Mary Baak" />
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Thursday, June 8, 2023


College early birds get the grades

When planning next semester’s schedule, most students have one thing in common: fervently avoiding the 8 a.m. class.

It’s no secret that the sound of the alarm clock in the morning is the bane of most students’ existence — but having to get out of bed before the sun comes up or having to turn in before the rest of the night is over is even worse.

Even USA TODAY College reports on the loathsome early morning classes and offers a list of classes that would be worth waking up for. But here’s the catch — studies have found that all 8 a.m. classes might be worth readjusting your schedule for because there’s a noticeable difference in academic performance.

In fact, according to an article in USA TODAY College, St. Lawrence University professor Pamela Thacher told the New York Times that she and a colleague found a .02 drop in grade point averages for students who start their days every hour after 8 a.m.

That likely doesn’t bode well with the students that prefer to burn the midnight oil and sleep in, instead of starting the day early.

But think of it this way: If your first class is at 1 p.m., that’s the difference between making a 4.0 and a 3.0. — that’s certainly a sign that taking earlier classes could lead to a better GPA, which is well worth the earlier bed time and the extra cup of coffee in the morning.

Due in part to the notion that having a full day allows more time to get things accomplished, University of Maryland cites that earlier classes cause students to have more regulated sleep schedules, drink less and get work done more efficiently.

But of course, when the rest of your friends are going out on a Wednesday night and you have class early the next morning, it’s tempting to stay out late and sleep in the next morning. Studies show that people who start the day later tend to drink more and study less, when those that started early led healthier lifestyles and had higher grade point averages.

And then there are those that function better in the latter half of the day.

Or maybe the 8 a.m. class you took your first semester of college scared you into staying away from morning classes for as long as you possibly can — but making better grades will be worth small social sacrifices and tired eyes in the end.

Having an earlier routine might even be better than you thought — nothing feels better than increased productivity and higher test scores.

So, get your groan out of the way before registering for classes. Taking that dreaded 8 a.m. could be just what your schedule needed — and it’s all about what you make it.

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