The first semester of college can be an eye-opening experience, and sometimes a rude awakening for your GPA.

Many students don’t anticipate the new challenges of college — fewer hours in the classroom, more rigorous coursework than in high school and more outside distractions — and their grades can suffer for it.

If your first semester did not go as well as you hoped academically, not all is lost. Cut yourself some slack, learn from your missteps and seek academic help so you can rebound successfully in the second semester. Here are some grade-boosting strategies to try.

Taking note of the projects or concepts you struggled with from each course will help identify your weaknesses…

Do a Deep Dive Into What Went Wrong

Be honest with yourself — was your underperformance due to a lack of effort on your part? If not, then it’s likely that you simply didn’t anticipate how different and challenging college would be compared to high school. For example, many college courses only have one or two exams or projects on which your grade is based, so if you don’t perform well on one item, you could quickly run out of opportunities to bring your grade up.

Going forward: Identifying the source of your GPA woes or where your academic weaknesses lie will help you make adjustments to turn things around. It could be as simple as looking over each course syllabus to see how your grade is calculated (so there are no surprises), and treating every exam or paper as if it were a midterm or final so you’ll be compelled to prepare and study ahead of time. Taking note of the projects or concepts you struggled with from each course will help identify your weaknesses and determine the time you should dedicate to reviewing and studying the material. And understanding your learning style will help you develop strategies that work best for you.

Speak With Your Professors and Your Adviser

To help assess what plagued you and how you can improve going forward, ask your professors for constructive criticism and advice. You should also have a discussion with your academic adviser about trying to balance your course load. For instance, you don’t want to group too many heavy reading courses in one semester, or you shouldn’t double up on advanced math if that’s not your strength.

Going forward: Try to open up a dialogue with your professors before your grades drop by taking advantage of office hours. This is a designated time each week the professor is available to address any questions students have. Even if you’re not having any issues, it’s not a bad idea to stop by for some additional insight and to get acquainted. Maintain consistent contact with your adviser as well, and don’t be afraid to rely on them for advice in determining your level of involvement in each class.

Schedule in Studying

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from college classes, you probably realize that a lot is asked of you. College advisers recommend that you spend an additional two hours on your studies for every hour spent in class. So if you’re taking 15 credits, plan to spend at least 30 hours per week studying and doing homework.

Going forward: Put together a game plan to help you better manage your time. That means evaluating if you’re devoting more time to socializing rather than studying and amending that if necessary. Also, calendar out all of your deadlines and maintain consistent study habits to avoid panic and all-nighters for projects and exams. A good game plan is to review notes after each class so you can gradually absorb the material instead of trying to memorize them the day before an exam.

Don’t Do It Alone

If you can honestly say you gave it your all and the coursework was still a struggle, then perhaps you need some assistance from your peers.

Going forward: Make connections with other students early on to form study groups and lean on each other to review class material. You should also inquire about campus student resources such as peer tutoring and study labs that might be available. Even just having regular discussions with classmates, friends or your roommate after class can help solidify what you learned or fill in the gaps if you missed something during a lecture.

College definitely comes with a learning curve, so don’t beat yourself up if it took you a semester to get up to speed. Now that you understand the challenges that lie ahead, give the spring semester all you’ve got and don’t look back.