John McHale

John McHale in his office in ISU's Fell Hall.

College students across the country sometimes struggle to keep good grades throughout their college careers, and Illinois State University students are no different. For those looking for guidance, Professor John McHale of the School of Communication gave his tips to keeping high grades this semester.

“Number one: don’t procrastinate,” McHale said. “It is far better to find that you have done sufficient work early on than to realize you don’t have time to do the necessary work.”

Many students in the School of Communication have taken one of McHale’s classes — Convergent Media Writing. These tips McHale had to offer echoed what he tried to tell his students in class. Most of his former students would say he emphasizes the importance of revising, rewriting then repeating.

McHale also offered more obvious, yet often overlooked advice. “Decide to be an enthusiastic learner,” McHale said. “As soon as I realized I was in school to learn, I became more excited about studying and writing, because it is what I wanted to do.”

And writing is exactly what McHale has been doing. After graduating with six different degrees, including a Ph. D. in Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia, McHale has been writing, producing and directing films.

McHale has had a lasting effect on his students. ISU senior Audrey Anfield said, “The thing I remember most about McHale was his enthusiasm and energy. Everyone needs an energetic teacher.”

McHale’s energy and love for teaching can be seen in any of his classes. He engages the students in his classroom, be it asking questions or making the students laugh.

He also emphasized how important the end of the semester is. “In most classes, the last three weeks of the semester can determine a whole letter grade,” McHale said. “It is critical to convert those last few weeks of the semester.”

After giving plenty of great advice, McHale said the most important thing about academic success is not about the grades, but about challenging oneself to do better. “The grades come naturally after we make that commitment,” McHale said. “If a student commits to becoming better at whatever they do by learning from their mistakes and successes, they will be more successful in school and in life.”

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