What Is a Pass Fail Option – Mastering Pass Fail Classes

Pass/fail classes can help your grades and broaden your college experience. Learn when to use the pass/fail option and how to leverage its advantages.


Using the pass/fail grading option can provide students with key advantages. Primarily, it’s a way to earn college credits without affecting your GPA.

However, pass/fail classes aren’t always a good idea. Learn the implications of taking pass/fail classes and the best way to use them.

What Does Pass/Fail Mean?

When taking a course the regular way, your end-of-term grade would be the usual A, B, C, D, or F. However, when you take a course as a pass/fail, your final grade is one of two options: P for pass or F for fail.

Under pass/fail grading, earning a letter grade between an A and a D would be a pass. However, at some schools, a grade between an A and C is necessary to pass.
At your school, a pass/fail class may also be a credit/no credit class. That’s because passing will earn you college credits, but you’ll get zero credits if you fail.

Keep in mind that taking a class as pass/fail isn’t the same as auditing a course. If you audit a class, you won’t get a letter grade, nor will you receive credits for taking the class.

How Can A Pass/Fail Class Affect Your GPA?

Typically, taking pass/fail courses won’t affect your grade point average. The class is simply excluded from the GPA calculation.

However, at some schools, an F in a pass/fail class will count toward your GPA. In these cases, it’s better for your GPA to withdraw from the class than fail.

When Should You Use the Pass/Fail Option?

The pass/fail option is useful under the right circumstances. Students can benefit from P/F grading in these situations:

1. Low grade in a class: Earning a poor grade can bring down your overall average. In these situations, it may be better to take the class as a P/F than to receive a grade that lowers your GPA.

2. Get outside your comfort zone: For far-flung interests, students may choose to use the P/F option as a way to enrich their college experience without risking their GPA. Even Steve Jobs expanded his education with a calligraphy course.

3. General education requirement: That Senior Seminar class may be a requirement, but it’s not necessary to stress about getting top scores. Using the P/F option for general education courses can help you meet your graduation requirements without extra workload.

When Should You Avoid the Pass/Fail Option?

Using the pass/fail option isn’t always the best choice. In particular, you should avoid taking P/F classes in these three situations:

1. Within your major or minor: It can be perceived negatively to take P/F classes within your field of study. Take classes that are major requirements using the regular grading system.

2. Too many pass/fail classes: A good rule of thumb for undergraduate students is one P/F course per semester and no more than four P/F courses during four years of study.

3. Against university regulations: Colleges will have their own P/F rules, so read the specifics of your grading system to understand how it may affect your situation.

Does Taking a Pass/Fail Class Look Bad?

Several elite private schools only offer pass/fail grading. For example, Harvard Law School, Columbia Business School, and Yale Law School have a minimal grading structure by default.

This puts you in good company when taking P/F classes. While there’s no definitive answer about how P/F classes will look, consider the perspective of a mentor, grad school admissions officer, or prospective employer.

It’s likely that your overall GPA will be the most important consideration, and a deep look at P/F classes would be a rarity. This makes using the P/F option an excellent way to hack your GPA.

How Do I Sign Up for a Pass/Fail Class?

It’s possible to select the pass/fail option when signing up for a class, or you can switch to P/F mid-semester. Each university is slightly different, so consult your academic calendar to see when the cutoff is for switching to P/F.

Students can request the pass/fail online, but some schools may require that you visit the Office of the Registrar for a pass/fail form. You school may also require approval from your academic advisor or professor before you’re able to take a class on a pass/fail basis.

Find out how OneClass can help you get better grades.

image attribution: Rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.com


Jobs for Students at the University of St. Andrews

With no doubt, education is the best thing that anyone can ever possess. However, studying alone do not only solve everything but the opportunity to work in hand while studying can be a great help to answer so many problems that seems internal. Therefore, we will be unveiling the jobs you can do while you study at St. Andrews University as a student. Here are some jobs students can do while they study:

1. Wellbeing Advisor (Casual/Bank Staff)

Showing a designed logo of Wellbeing Advisor

This is a job that any competent student can take on and earn some money depending on the hours spent working. The role of well-being advisors is to give creative support and advise to the disabled on money, international academic and much more. You can earn about £14 -17 per hour depending on how much hours you can spend. The student can also work at the mental health and well-being team, to make the world a better place. Your job as a student is also to make referrals and to make people understand the university policy.

2. House Service Supervisor

This job is available on the school premises and can be booked by visiting the David Russell apartment. As a student, it is an opportunity to make a whole lot of money doing this fantastic job. By visiting the studio, there is tendency that you obtain the position and have the chance to join the house Service supervisor team. The description is to cater to students and also inspect their apartments. The cleaning of their room is also your duty. Payment ranges from £16,965 – £18,688 per annum.

3. First Class Support

showing keyboard with support button

This is a fantastic job that is available for students. The role of this job is to administer solutions to students having difficulties in their academics. The post is established based on the concept to allow students with a disability to relate to the environment. Earn as much as you work at about £30 per hour. There is high tendency that you make so much in this scope of the job.

4. Mental Health Development Worker

"Health in mind" inscription in a circle

This is open to students on campus to participate so that they can have opportunity to earn. The role of the workers is to ensure that the school is free from suicides. What they need to do is to monitor people from committing suicides. Giving people mental counseling is also your job when you work in this post. You can earn £33,199 – £39,609 a year.

5. Intern, Food & Beverage – St Andrews

Showing food and beverage store

This is for students that are open for food and beverages outlets. It requires little to no experience and can earn from £10 per hour.

6. Food and Beverage Server

Server with beverages

The post is available at Fairmont hotels and resorts. It requires little to no experience with a payment of £8.43 per hour. The job is to serve customers with maximum respect wearing a warm smile always.

7. Breakfast Supervisor

Table with breakfast

It is an opportunity to earn about £8.43 per hour. You can get hired in the hotel due to Vin, St. Andrews working as a breakfast server with all happiness, and many benefits to follow. The post also supervises those at work to make sure they get their job done and ensure customers get the best service.

8. OneClass Note Takers

Oneclasssblog logo

Take notes with OneClass and get paid while you go to class. When you take Notes with OneClass, you not only earn but also get better at studying and focusing during your lectures. Become a Notetaker today.

Why You Should Be Worried About JUULs on Campus

Because they’re everywhere.

29.8% of college students surveyed say they want their schools to do something about it.

For them, the biggest problem is they’re being used in places where they’re not supposed to smoke.

Of those surveyed, 55% said they’ve seen classmates vape during a lecture and 50.1% saw peers vaping in the school library.

When a looming cloud of vapor trails a passerby and assaults your face, it’s likely coming from a USB smoking device known as a JUUL.

That’s because JUUL owns nearly 75% of the e-cigarette market share.

30.4% of college students surveyed also say they own an e-cigarette in one form or another.

So addictive are their fruity flavors they’re no longer sold in brick-and-mortar stores to curb ‘epidemic’ levels of teen vaping.

What Makes JUULs So Special?

image of a JUUL kit, a JUUL, 4 JUUL pods and the JUUL charger on a wooden table

They’re marketed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes.

They’re also inconspicuously small, perfectly pocket-sized so you can bring them anywhere.

They also taste good.

Ever wanted to smoke in your room but was worried about your housemates and the thought of leaving your house was too much of a hassle?

You can do that now, and no one would be the wiser.

The convenience in size and liberal use is why JUULs have taken off, especially among young adults.

How prevalent is it on college campuses?

behind the back photo of a man on campus leaving a trail of smoke

The alarming rise in the use of e-cigarettes prompted Penn State University to enforce a policy that prevents the purchase of tobacco products and smoking accessories with their student payment card.

As of September 2018, 65 college campuses in Canada have enacted
policies towards a 100% smoke-free campus.

JUUL use is prevalent wherever establishments have conventionally forbidden smoking.

Vaping circumvents dorm policies that haven’t been quick to stretch the definition of smoking to include vaping. Even still, smoking these JUULs inside dorm rooms won’t produce the noxious smell that cigarettes do and it won’t trigger fire alarms.

The local college bars and clubs stand no chance. JUUL users just go the washroom and have a few hits, or smoke it among the crowd.

Plus no one will have qualms about vaping inside a house party. It’ll likely be encouraged if you let the host have a hit.

There’s simply no trailing evidence of smoking use after it’s used, which is what previously irritated people.

Less harm, less foul, as it’s believed.

What are the health risks associated with JUULs?


E-cigarettes merely transmuted the form of smoke to vapor, while retaining the addictive property of a cigarette: nicotine.

Ten hits are equivalent to a single cigarette in nicotine content. Overall, the amount of nicotine in a single JUUL pod is equal to a pack of cigarettes; that is, 20 cigarettes.

Early JUUL users often say that one hit is enough to make you feel an immediate high given how quickly it enters your bloodstream.

JUUL acknowledges that nicotine is highly addictive, but where they appear to differ from cigarettes are in its cancer-causing agents.

According to their site, they assert: ‘these alternatives contain nicotine, which has not been shown to cause cancer but can create dependency.’

We know, however, that combustible cigarettes are without a doubt cancer-causing. They contain 7,000 chemicals, where at least 70 of which cause cancer. In this form, it’s infinitely less healthy.

For the collegian, the studied health hazards of nicotine escape them in moderate doses as there is more evidence of it causing damage to people in earlier stages of life.

But addiction is real.

Listed as the third most addictive chemical behind heroin and cocaine, nicotine can produce dependence that’s extremely difficult to kick.

So yes, habitual use of JUULs is bad for you.

Why It Matters to Non-JUUL Users on Campus

Because of second-hand exposure to nicotine.

No one enjoys a plume of smoke in their face that they’re not the cause of. No one also solicits nicotine highs they didn’t ask for.

Whether you’re studying in the library, sitting in a lecture, enjoying a drink at the bar, or walking to class, the possibility of inhaling second-hand nicotine from JUUL users is higher than in previous years given the explosive number of users.

With the cult-like following that JUUL has, the number of smokers will among young adults will only increase.

Previously non-smokers could escape from smokers by being where they are not: indoors. Regrettably, there hasn’t been much in the effect of policing indoor smoking of e-cigarettes simply because it’s too hard to.

And no fire alarms to blow the whistle.

*Based on survey data collected from 2,160 college students aged 18-24 years located in US & Canada

OneClass vs. StuDocu: Which Is the Best Academic Platform for You?

Are you curious about how OneClass and StuDocu stack up? Find out how the note-sharing platforms compare so you can decide which platform is right for you.

Online study resources are plentiful, which means there’s much to consider when deciding which platform to use. For example, note purchasers may be looking to access a large volume of high-quality materials, and notetakers may prioritize a platform that provides the most income potential. Yet, for most students, the best online note-sharing platform comes down to considering the total impact the tool can have on grades.

Both OneClass and StuDocu are leading academic platforms that provide access to shared academic resources. Students based in the Netherlands may also know StuDocu as StudeerSnel.

The platforms offer a similar set of crowdsourced learning materials, including study guides, lecture notes, exam solutions, homework help, and more. Each platform also offers Q&A tools for students to ask each other academic questions. OneClass named it Q&A app Solvit, and in addition to connecting you with a community of students, the app’s user base includes Certified Experts who provide quick responses and expert answers.

Despite the similar type of resources offered by OneClass and StuDocu, there are striking differences between the two platforms. In the comparison below, we’ll look closely at these differences so you can understand where each platform excels and choose the best academic resource for your needs.

Find out how OneClass and StuDocu compare.

OneClass vs. StuDocu: What Resources Are Available?

The vitality of an academic platform is a crucial factor when choosing which tool to use. The number of users, the number of documents, and relevance of the shared materials all factor into the strength of the platform’s knowledgebase.

Both OneClass and StuDocu have a similar sized user base. OneClass has 2.2 million users while StuDocu has 2.5 million users.

As for shared academic resources, OneClass offers more than 1.7 million documents have been shared by classmates. When looking at the total page count, that’s more than 10 million individual pages of academic material. StuDocu also says that it offers access to “millions of documents.”

Yet, the true value in crowdsourced academic materials is their academic relevance to your classes. When documents are shared by a classmate who sits a few rows away from you in class, the localized material can help you stay in step with the exact content that’s being explored in lectures rather than providing a one-size-fits-all approach.

When considering the value of localized class materials, it’s helpful to choose a platform that has the strongest presence at your school. The number of students using OneClass and StuDocu tells us that both platforms have a wide reach. However, while StuDocu currently supports 11,280 universities, it may not have a strong presence at your school or a school near you. For example, within the 50 universities that StuDocu lists as its most popular, only about 12 percent are in the U.S.

OneClass vs. StuDocu: Which Can Help You Get Better Grades?

When considering how an academic platform can impact your grades, the quality of shared materials is an important consideration.

To encourage students to share high-quality notes, both platforms offer incentive programs for notetakers. In fact, OneClass’ Elite Note Taker program triples the compensation for students who share detailed and high-quality materials. This significant incentive is valuable to note takers who want to earn more while simultaneously benefiting note buyers who want access to high-quality content.

While we don’t know the impact that the StuDocu platform has had on its users’ grades, the high-quality materials shared on OneClass are so helpful that 90 percent of students who use OneClass improve by at least one letter grade.

That’s a significant academic impact that can have a short-term result of keeping a scholarship or qualifying for an internship. In the long term, a higher GPA could mean greater earning potential after graduation.

It’s not just the students who download notes that get an academic benefit; OneClass Notetakers have seen up to 3 grade point improvements on their transcripts. Students mention that being a notetaker helps them be study proactively for exams with improved focus during class and better comprehension as a result of summarizing lecture content.

OneClass vs. StuDocu: Which Is a Better Deal?

To help you determine whether OneClass or StuDocu is a better deal for you, let’s compare compensation for notetakers as well as subscription costs.

For notetakers, both OneClass and StuDocu let you earn cash from uploading class materials, or you can use your uploads to get access to other site materials. With StuDocu, there are no clear figures on a notetaker’s cash compensation rates, as the amount is determined by a combination of factors including the demand from other students and the readability and content of your notes.

On OneClass, students can typically earn between $75 and $470 per course for uploading materials. The higher levels of compensation are available to students in the OneClass Elite Note Taker program. That income can go a long way toward reducing college debt.

For note buyers, an annual OneClass subscription costs only $9.98 per month, billed in one payment of $119.76. That’s about the same price as an annual Amazon Prime subscription, but the impact on your education may make a OneClass subscription a far more valuable investment. After all, even one “A” can improve your GPA for the semester by as much as 0.6 points.

With StuDocu, a free membership provides access to a wide set of uploaded materials with a premium membership needed for full access to materials and the ability to download or print. The annual costs are between $41.88 and $53.88, depending on the plan you choose. This can be a good deal if the materials to help you get better grades are available on the platform. Otherwise, you could be wasting your money.

OneClass vs. StuDocu: Conclusion

When deciding between OneClass and StuDocu, the primary questions to consider are about the resources that each platform offers and their potential effect on grades.

While we don’t have data on the academic impact of StuDocu, 90 percent of OneClass users report improving by at least one letter grade.

The location of your school may also determine if OneClass or StuDocu has more relevant materials to your courses. OneClass provides a strong set of materials to support university students across the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. However, while StuDocu has a similar number of users, U.S. schools only account for 12 percent of StuDocu’s top 50 universities.

For notetakers, both OneClass and StuDocu compensates students with either cash or access to other students’ class notes. Additionally, each platform offers incentives for notetakers who upload high-quality content. In fact, students enrolled in OneClass’ Elite Note Taker program can triple the compensation they receive for sharing lecture notes and study guides.

* As of January 2019

Learn more about how OneClass can help you achieve academic success.

image attribution: Elnur – stock.adobe.com

Does a Marketing Degree Make You A Better Marketer?

Typically, no.

That’s because marketing is an applied practice, involving lots of tinkering and trial and error, yet common marketing courses are largely theoretical without real world application.

Take a look at some typical marketing courses:

  • Consumer Behavior
  • Marketing Research
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Marketing Management
  • Marketing Metrics
  • Digital Media Marketing

For a job in marketing, you will never need to have generalized knowledge on consumer behavior. Instead, you need to know niche-specific behavior particular to the cohort you’re marketing to.

For most of these courses, the second problem is in the evaluation.

What should be your learning outcome and how should your grade be assessed if you took the course, say, marketing strategy? Should the top marks be given to the student who wrote the most detailed and comprehensive marketing plan?

That could be a useful measure… if your grade was assessed on how well you can articulate a plan.

A more reliable and accurate approach, though cutthroat, would simply be if the strategy works. Because that’s all that matters.  

Unfortunately, that can’t be accurately assessed without applying your strategy in the real-world, not in a controlled, sterile simulation.

Without knowledge gleaned from iterative repeated testing, a strategy is nothing but a collection of ideas collectively worth nil.

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to know if your marketing plan will ultimately fail or succeed unless it’s applied.

Otherwise, you’re operating in a field of assumptions typically based on incomplete data.

Marketing Classes Learning Outcomes

man making a presentation on a big screen to a dimly lit audience

If you’re evaluated on how well you articulate and present your plan, then your first order learning is on how to articulate and present a marketing strategy well, not on marketing strategy per se. There’s a difference.

Marketing professors’ evaluations are independent of real world feedback. So they evaluate on what they can control and assess: your writing and presentation skills.

Rather than learning how to deliver to your niche audience effectively, you’ve learned how to deliver to those who assess your grade instead.

In fact, after your course, you still wouldn’t know how your niche consumers would respond to your marketing strategy because you’ve never applied it towards them.

If your future boss gave your immaculate marketing plan the go-ahead and after implementing it, it failed, it would be deemed a bad plan because it missed the mark, never mind how well it was articulated.

What a Marketing Role Looks Like

photo of a woman presenting a diagram on a laptop

Marketing is all about testing and iterating.

Under no circumstances do simulated practice constitute as testing since real-world variables aren’t present under these controlled conditions.

How do you test or iterate if it’s not part of the curriculum?

Marketing is more than merely writing compelling copy. Decisions are made mostly on data collected from testing. Not merely data drawn from Google, Wikipedia or the news, but from internally collected data; that is, hard numbers.

Aggregate data provides the most no-nonsense information for marketers to initiate campaigns off of. Juggling excel sheets and communicating in excel functions are marketers day-to-day.

It’s the age of ‘Big Data’ where all facets of business are informed by data, especially marketing. It’s not all flowery creatives for a marketer; it’s very much a data-driven industry.

This is what separates a practitioner from a student asked to make informed assumptions about how to proceed with a marketing strategy.

What to Look For in Marketing Classes

Man seated cross-legged peering at iPad with graphs and charts on the screen.

Make sure your marketing curriculum preps you with practical skills that marketers should have:

  • Copywriting – content creation
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing
  • Google Adwords
  • Facebook Ads
  • Data Analytics
  • Formulating winning marketing strategies that gets tested in the real world

The point here is that you don’t need to go to school for marketing to do well in marketing. They do, however, offer internships that place you right in the heat of a marketing role which would accelerate your learning far more than the courses you take in school.

Another option are MBAs in marketing as these programs tend lean towards a more robust application of knowledge.

What Do Marketing Professionals Look Like?

Most of the big tech names’ marketing directors and VPs of marketing never went to school for marketing.


Uber – Rebecca Messina (Global Chief Marketing Officer) – Bachelor of Arts, Spanish, Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs

AirBnB – George Seeley (Global Marketing Director) – Bachelor of Science (BSc), Architecture, Town Planning and Construction Management

Amazon – Neil Lindsay (VP, Prime and Marketing) – B.A. Applied Science

Facebook – Carolyn Everson (VP of Marketing) – Liberal Arts and Communications

Microsoft – Chris Capossela (VP of Marketing) – Computer Science and Economics

Apple – Philip Schiller (Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing) – Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology

This is obviously an incomplete picture. Most of these individuals landed a job in marketing to begin and through their years of experience built themselves up to the position they’re in now.

New Study: How does Screen Time Affect Grades?

What effects can phone screen time have on students? At first glance, it may seem harmless but when we decided to take a closer look, we found a strong correlation between too much phone time and lower grades.

With 95% of Americans owning a cell phone of some kind and actually 77% of them owning a smartphone (according to pewinternet), the topic of phone time and its potential effects comes into question.

So, we asked 875 undergraduate university/college students (1st year students aged 17-19) what their daily phone screen time was the last 7 days and their current grade to see if there could be any correlation between them.

Phone Screen Time

young man using phone to watch videos

First, we asked how many hours per day they spent on their phones in the last 7 days. This can easily be found by going into the settings in your phone and finding screen time which shows you a bunch of stats on your phone usage. Some cool things you can see are what categories you used your phone for (entertainment, productivity, etc.), what apps you used the most, how many times you picked up your phone, etc.

pie chart showing screen time of respondents

We found that 83% of respondents used their phone for at least 3 hours, while only 17% used it for less than 3 hours. This shows that the strong majority use their phones quite a lot throughout the week.

Furthermore, the most uncommon screen time was 0-1 hours which only 1% of respondents selected.

Impact on Grades

image of an A+ with a red circle around it

When looking at how screen time could affect students’ grades, we looked at the results in a number of different ways. Here are our findings:

Lowest Overall Grade

The lowest overall grade for those who have 0-1 hours of screen time is a B- compared to a D- for those who have 8+ hours of screen time.

Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that more phone time will give you a lower grade, it means that more phone time results in a higher likelihood to get a lower grade than a B-.


The variance for those with 0-1 hours of phone time is approx. 3 compared to 9 for those with 8+ hours of phone time. Showing that with more hours of screen time, your grade will vary more from the average grade in each screen time category.

line chart of variance increasing drastically when screen time is increased

To explain this in a bit more detail, for example, if you have 0-1 hours of screen time and the average grade for this amount of screen time is an A-, your grade can be 3 grade levels lower or higher than A- meaning your grade will range from a B- to an A+.

But if you have 8+ hours of screen time and the average grade for this amount of screen time is a B+, your grade can be 9 grade levels lower or higher than a B+ meaning your grade can range all the way from a D- to an A+.

This shows that with less phone time, your grade is more stable around the average grade but with more phone time, your grade can fluctuate, a lot.

C’s and D’s

The percentage of students with 0-1 hours of phone time that have an overall grade of a C or D was 0% (0 people) but that number skyrockets to 17% (19 people) for those with 8+ hours of phone time.

bar graph showing c's and d's % among respondents

The longer you spend on your phone, the higher the likelihood that you’ll get a lower grade (in the C’s or D’s).

In addition, according to Away for The Day, a study by Delaney Ruston on the effects of screen time, college students participated in various cognitive tests with phones present and not present and it was found that “the presence of phones negatively impacted attention and task performance.”

Things to Note

  1. 1. Of course, students can use their phones to read digital textbooks or do other things related to studying but these findings all have the underlying assumption that phone screen time is typically associated with things such as social media apps, entertainment (Netflix, YouTube, etc.), games, etc.
  2. 2. The relationship between screen time and grades is not a causal relationship but rather a correlation meaning that screen time doesn’t directly cause grades to go down, it’s just one factor that could potentially affect lower grades.

Therefore, there are many other factors to consider whenever looking at grades and how they can fluctuate. However, one could imagine that the more time spent looking at your phone, the less time you’ll have to do things like look at a textbook, complete assignments, etc. (online or physical) and this is why we wanted to see if there really was a correlation.

male student using phone during class

So, the answer to “does phone screen time affect grades?” is yes, it’s one factor that can negatively affect grades but it isn’t the only one, nor is it a direct causation, but rather a correlation.

Instead, the conclusion is that phone time significantly increases the possibility of getting a lower grade due to the increased variability that more phone time brings.

Not only can phone screen time affect your grades, but think of the things you could do if you just reduced your screen time even by a couple hours per week. Rather than spending those valuable hours on mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, spend it on trying to better yourself whether it’s academically, personally, or professionally. After all, time flies so we should all try to make each day count.

Make sure to check out these posts to help yourself stay focused during school or if you want to check out some other studies we’ve done!

How to Take Study Notes: 5 Effective Note Taking Methods and Essential Tips

Learn How to Memorize – Top 6 Memorization Techniques

New Study Shows Students’ Sleep Significantly Suffers before Exams

57.5% of College Graduates Don’t Work in Their Field of Study

How to Be a Millionaire Before Age 40

With the right financial strategy, you can go from college student to millionaire before you reach age 40. Learn the five stages to becoming a young millionaire.

Do you want to be a young millionaire? It’s possible to hit a million dollars before you’re 40; however, it’ll take dedication, smart decision making, careful financial planning, and taking calculated risks.

Find out how you can achieve millionaire status before middle age.

College Years: Start Your Path to Becoming a Millionaire

To make a million before age 40, three key things in college will lay the groundwork and set you up for financial success.

First, you should graduate debt-free, or with as little debt as possible. College debt can have a crippling effect after you graduate, which can limit your options and curb your upward momentum. As explained in the guide to hacking college debt, students can cut their debt by hacking college tuition prices, reducing living expenses, getting a summer job, and using side hustles to make money on things they’re already doing.

Second, make smart use of your time in college to get a degree that you can cash in on. Seek out fields of study that have strong entry-level salaries and a predicted increase in demand. In 2018, the highest paying majors were in computers, engineering, statistics, and nursing.

Third, use your time in college to prepare yourself for success after graduation. This includes networking, internships, and getting good grades by using resources such as online class notes. When applying for jobs at large companies, your GPA can be a major part of the initial employment screening, determining if your resume is even reviewed by HR. Additionally, when a potential employer does review your college transcript, your grades will reveal how hard you work, and your dedication to success, thus giving you a competitive edge.

After Graduation: Job Positioning and Investing

Use your first jobs after college to position yourself within the industry and learn the ropes. Even if your starting salary is relatively low, this time after college is key to gaining an understanding of your chosen field and growing your network of associates.

Additionally, now is when you should establish good savings and investment practices. It’s okay to start small. One 35-year old millionaire started in his early 20s by investing $66 per month into low-cost index funds. Having been praised by prolific investors such as Warren Buffet, index funds are known for their long-term growth strategy.

Be consistent with your investment contributions, and let the interest compound. For example, if you invested $66 per month for five years, compounded daily at a 7 percent return, you’d have $4,755 after five years. The compounding interest will have earned you 20 percent more than you invested. After an additional 10 years, your initial investment will have doubled itself.

Mid to Late 20s: Taking Calculated Risks

Now is the time to use your skills and knowledge to take calculated risks. Use the industry knowledge you’ve gained to identify business opportunities or ways to navigate your industry to grow your earnings.

Additionally, seek out ways to diversify your income sources. This will reduce your overall financial risk, helping you better weather industry trends and market fluctuations. Seek out startup businesses, real estate investments, or other high-income earning opportunities.

Remember, the key to minimizing losses when taking calculated risks is through logical analysis, discipline, and setting clear goals.

Thirties: Continue Your Strategy and Live Frugally

Now is the time to make a dedicated effort to consistently and strategically grow what you’ve built. If you’ve launched a startup, keep growing your profit margins. If you’re into real estate, continue using your property income to grow your holdings. If you’re a serial entrepreneur, continue to make smart business deals to grow your net worth.

The other critical component to becoming a millionaire is to keep your expenses low. Even when your income and holdings grow, living frugally will allow you to invest more and hit your financial goals sooner.

Watch out for extravagances or lifestyle choices that can erode the wealth you’re accumulating. For example, consider the frugal choices of these billionaires: the founder of IKEA still flies coach, the founder of Zara eats with his employees in the cafeteria, and Mark Zuckerberg drives a VW hatchback.

Age 40: Your First Million

If you’ve worked hard, made strategic financial decisions, and invested wisely, you could see your accounts surpass a million dollars before you hit age 40.

In the United States, the average age for hitting the millionaire milestone is the late fifties; to be specific, it’s age 58.5 for women and age 59.3 for men.

“Saving consistently and investing in the stock market was key for those who reached millionaire status while earning less than $150,000,” according to a Fidelity Investments report. “Ultimately, those who start investing in their 20s, no matter the amount, will be better off.”

Find out how OneClass can help you launch your path to becoming a young millionaire with tools for getting better grades and earning cash from a note-taking side gig.

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How Does OneClass Differ from Other Online Academic Platforms?

Are you deciding which online platform is the best way to improve your grades? Choose the best solution by reviewing this side-by-side comparison chart.

Being a student is tough. Luckily, there are online tools to help you get better grades by providing shared resources, class notes, study guides, and more.

However, deciding which platform is right for you can be challenging, and it’s certainly counterintuitive that resources designed to make your life easier would require that you begin by wading through the details.

To help, we did the work for you to compare the services provided by five popular academic platforms.

What Are the Differences in Online Academic Platforms?

As a part of our analysis, we compiled information about each platform, including features, options, costs for subscribers, benefits for contributors, and more.

In particular, we broke out sections with information for note takers and information for note buyers. After all, those two categories of users would most likely have different priorities. Whereas note buyers might be thinking about the value they’re getting from each platform, note takers may be more interested in how much they can earn. The combination of the two perspectives contributes to the overall vitality of an academic platform.

Review the chart below to see the point-by-point comparison and understand which online tool will help you succeed in college.

download printable PDF comparison chart of five popular academic platforms

Do you want to take a closer look at the chart or save it for future reference? We’ve created a version that’s formatted as a PDF.

Download the FREE, printable PDF comparison chart of five popular academic platforms

Exploring How Each Platform Can Help Your Grades

While the above chart provides a helpful side-by-side comparison, we know that there’s sometimes a more nuanced answer than a simple yes or no. Therefore, we took a closer look at each of the platforms to provide more context beyond this chart.

In these four in-depth articles, you can learn more about each platform’s tools, including class notes, study guides, online solutions, textbooks, and flashcards, Additionally, for those who aren’t seeking a specific resource but just want better grades using whatever it takes, the articles will explain the platforms’ potential academic impact.

Learn more by reading these additional comparisons:

OneClass vs. StudySoup: In the article, we explain the similarities and differences between the platforms’ available resources. Notably, subscribers to StudySoup can only download a limited number of documents each month, and note takers are responsible for promoting shared materials.

OneClass vs. Chegg: This comparison article explains Chegg’s beginnings as a textbook provider, as well as how its online study tools stack up against OneClass. In particular, we explore the difference between OneClass’ shared documents that are specific to your class at your college, and Chegg’s generic subject resources.

OneClass vs. StudyBlue: In this comparison, we look at the different tools offered by the two platforms, their potential impact on your grades, and what each costs. Notably, we share some insights into how useful StudyBlue is based on your major.

OneClass vs. Course Hero: While these two note-taking platforms have similarities, the comparison article walks through an explanation of how the platforms differ. In particular, students looking for a side gig won’t earn cash from uploading their notes with Course Hero.

Your grades are important, and choosing the right academic platform can help you study more efficiently and fast track your way to academic success.

Learn more about OneClass and learn about how it can help you get better grades.

*As of November 2018

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Students in Movies: Comparing Top Students and Slackers

Students in the movies show a wide variety of study habits, grades, and intelligence. Find out which students performed the best, and which got the worst GPAs.

Movies about students may be ubiquitous, but not all on-screen students are academically inclined. From movies about smartypants students to those where college is a giant party, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the best and worst on-screen students.

Find out who got top grades, who were the fighters, and who were classic slackers!

Best and Worst Students in Movies

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Comparing Grades and Intelligence in the Movies

You’ve probably seen it in your classes; the smartest kids don’t always get the best grades. Conversely, the students that get the best grades might not be the smartest.

The same is true in the movies. Looking at on-screen math, science, and tech students, we considered a student’s grades compared to how much intelligence the character portrayed. After ranking the movies and plotting these two coordinates visually, we found that average students don’t often become movie characters.

Here are our movie rankings that compare grades and intelligence:

Revenge of the Nerds: LLewis and Gilbert (Grades: 5, Intelligence: 2) The nerds get good grades, but they don’t break ground with advanced theorems.

21: Ben (Grades: 4, Intelligence: 4) Ben was a top MIT Math major, except for that one incomplete that he got after spending too much time playing blackjack.

The Social Network: Mark (Grades: 2, Intelligence: 3.5): In 2004, The Harvard Crimson reported that Zuckerberg’s grades suffered while running his websites.

Back to the Future: Marty (Grades: 1.5, Intelligence: 1) Marty was busy with band practice so he finished his science homework at the last minute by borrowing something from Doc’s lab.

Proof: Catherine (Grades: -1, Intelligence: 4.5) Catherine was a math grad student, but was suspected of plagiarism as colleagues questioned if she was capable of developing an important mathematical proof.

Good Will Hunting: Will (Grades: -4, Intelligence: 5) Will sets fire to his homework in Professor Lambeau’s office, but he still receives plenty of job offers, including one opportunity from the NSA.

E.T.: Elliott (Grades: -4, Intelligence: 1) During science class, 10-year old Elliott releases all the frogs before they could be dissected, surely earning him a bad grade for the term.

Academically Challenged Movie Students

Some movies show students who’d benefit from additional resources that can help them get better grades.

The movie Animal House has some of the top college slackers. When meeting with Dean Worner, the Deltas learn about their midterm GPA scores. Hoover earns a 1.6; Kroger earns a 1.2; Dorfman earns a 0.2; Day got an Incomplete in all courses; and Blutarsky earned a 0.0 GPA.

In National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, the title character is a 7th year college senior who is seemingly earning an advanced degree in partying.

In the movie Grease, the character Frenchy is a beauty school dropout who missed midterms and flunked shampoo.

Big Screen Studying

At OneClass, we think a lot about studying, including the best way to study, the best study tools, and if late-night cramming really works. This led us to consider the study habits of students in the movies.

We analyzed the study behaviors and academic results of each student to assign him or her a study score. Here are the results:

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: (Study Score: 9) The duo time travels for the sake of their history class, which shows significant commitment to getting a good grade.

Legally Blonde: (Study Score: 8) Elle crams for the LSAT and scores a 179, which gets her accepted to Harvard Law School.

The Waterboy: (Study Score: 7) Bobby, a 31-year old, passes the GED with a 97 percent, allowing him to play college football.

The Great Debaters: (Study Score: 7) The debate team starts as underdogs and goes on to win the national championship.

Dead Poets Society: (Study Score: 6) Students start studying in free time, hosting poetry and literature sessions in a cave near campus.

Finding Forrester: (Study Score: 6) Jamal writes and rewrites, punching away on the keys of a typewriter.

Freedom Writers: (Study Score: 5) At-risk students fight to keep grades up.

Teen Wolf: (Study Score: 4) Being a wolf helps his sports game, but not his academics.

The Breakfast Club: (Study Score: 3) Not much studying happens during Saturday detention.

Mean Girls: (Study Score: 3) In the movie plot, studying doesn’t help your social life. However, for fans of the movie, there’s a class at Colorado College where you can study the film.

Half Nelson: (Study Score: 2) Things go downhill in this teacher movie with an unlikely plot.

American Pie: (Study Score: 1) There’s no studying in this high-school comedy.

Fight the (Grading) System</h3>

The movie, School of Rock, has some alternative teaching techniques and offbeat class lessons about “the man.” In a classic scene about grading, Dewey, pretending to be Professor Schneebly, says:

“If I was gonna give you a grade, I’d give you an A.
But that’s the problem.
Rock ain’t about doing things perfect.”

If that sounds like a good grading policy to you, then taking a music class might be a way to outsmart your grades to get a better GPA. After all, one “A” from an easy class can increase that semester’s GPA by between 0.2 and 0.6 points.

Supernatural Schools

Not all schools are for humans, and not all students are in favor choosing classes such as psychology and chemistry. Instead, some movie schools have a supernatural focus.

In X-Men, mutants can attend school at the X-Mansion, which is also known as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. In advance of the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, the movie studio produced a spoof ’80s style TV ad for the school that addressed the unique gifts of its students.

In Harry Potter, the arrival of students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the beginning of their magical training. Class subjects include Charms, Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and of course, mandatory flying lessons.

When Sully and Mike attend Monsters University, the scare majors get a taste of dorm life, and the movie’s study montage is a great look at what it takes to prepare for final exams.

Oldest Students in Class

There’s an increasing number of older students on campus. According to the NCES, students aged 25 and older account for 29 percent of all college students for which age was known. There are a few notable examples of older students in the movies.

The best older student was Billy Madison. He was up to 21 years older than classmates, returning to Grade 1 when he was 27 years old. He eventually graduates high school and enrolls in college to become a teacher.

On the other hand, one of the worst older students was Thornton Melon in the movie Back to School. The 47-year old CEO gets into college because of a bribe and barely passed his final exams with all D’s and one A.

Find out how using OneClass‘ online class notes and study guides can help you improve your GPA.

Hacking College Productivity: Strategies for Optimal Performance and Time Management

Do you want to get more done in less time? Find out the data-backed techniques that you can use to optimize your day and be more productive in college.

College life can be stressful at times, filled with academic and social pressures. After all, expectations are high, and perfectionism is rampant. With activities and lectures filling your daily routines, it may appear that there’s not enough time in a day. However, consider for a moment what you’d do if you had a few extra hours per week. Would you take some much-deserved downtime, have a fun night out, study a little more, or maybe earn some extra cash?

Well, you can have those extra-hours if you learn the trick of maximizing your productivity. Using your time smartly and strategically is the key to cracking the college experience, earning more time to do the things you love and still, acing your classes.

By using productivity data insights from researchers and scientists, you can learn how to manage your time better while you’re in college. Find out what behaviors and practices can help you hack college productivity.

Hacking College Productivity: Strategies for Optimal Performance and Time Management

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Scheduling Your Day

Popular productivity advice often focuses on adopting the schedules of famously productive people. It’s enticing to think that if you woke up at 6am as Steve Jobs did that you’d be building a company such as Apple. However, the data shows that you shouldn’t mirror your schedule to that of Steve Jobs. Nor would it help your productivity to start a pre-dawn workout as The Rock does, take a midday nap as Charles Darwin did, or sleep only four hours per night as Martha Stewart does.

Instead, following your own circadian rhythm is the key to being productive. Whether you’re an early bird, a night owl, or somewhere in between, developing a routine that’s natural to your rhythm is the best way to optimize your wake-time hours.

Majority of college students tend to be out of sync with their biological clocks, said an analysis about social jet lag from UC Berkeley and Northeastern Illinois University researchers. Early hours are often a struggle, and 50 percent of students take classes before they’re fully alert. For some students, their schedule is misaligned in the other direction, and 10 percent have already peaked before classes start. Only 40 percent of students have a class schedule that’s in alignment with their biological rhythms.

The alignment of your class schedule to your physiology has a direct impact on your grades. The worst average GPA occurs when night owls take morning classes. On average, night owls see the most impact from taking classes outside of their natural patterns, and they’re more likely to defeat themselves by taking more morning classes than the other two groups.

Master Your Schedule

Consider ways you can construct your daily schedule to optimize performance. First, your sleep schedule has an impact on all aspects of your day, including your class performance.

University of Washington student Matt Miani perfectly described the exact situation that should be avoided: “Sitting in that 8:30am lecture, valiantly attempting to pay attention to the history of some unpronounceable European country, but you simply can’t. Your eyelids feel like they weigh a hundred pounds each, and you spend more time fighting to stay awake than actually paying attention.”

Unlike the popular myth that the early bird gets the worm, productivity isn’t improved by when you start your day, but by how you use your time. Be consistent about your own sleep patterns by going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day. This regularity has a surprising effect on grade performance, and researchers found that a 10 percent increase in the stability of sleep/wake times increased GPA by 0.10.

The second major aspect of mastering your time involves taking a close look at your class schedule. On average, evening classes had a 0.27 point higher GPA than morning classes. Although the cause of this is unknown, data indicates that it’s because evening classes are in better alignment with college students’ circadian rhythms.

It’s also been found that students’ grades are higher when classes meet more often. The lowest grades were in classes that met once per week. Classes meeting two or three times per week had slightly higher grades, and classes that met four times per week had significantly higher grades.

Realistic Ways to Improve Productivity

Instead of trying to run 10 miles before 5am, consider a more realistic approach to improving productivity.

An analysis published by the Harvard Business Review identified characteristics of super-productive people (those that ranked in the top 10 percent). These time management hacks are reasonable ways to start achieving more and to make better use your time.

Here are seven ways to be more productive:

#1. Begin: Starting can be the hardest step, but procrastination can lower grades. The Hechinger Report found that students who waited until the day before an assignment was due scored 3 percentage points worse than class averages. All other groups scored higher than class averages, with students that started two days before the deadline scoring slightly above average, and those starting earlier scoring significantly above average.

#2. Set Stretch Goals: Striving to achieve ambitious and challenging goals can help you accomplish more than you otherwise would. Be deliberate about setting appropriate challenges, and avoid the stretch goal paradox by understanding the context and capacity of what you’re trying to achieve.

#3. Be Consistent: A steady and productive rhythm gets more results than the ebb and flow of goofing off and all-nighters.

#4. Collaborate: The most productive people work well with others, and do so often.

#5. Manage Information Availability: Searching online for information and tutorials kills productivity. Consider using the homework help app, Solvit, to get answers quickly without the Google timewarp.

#6. Be Results Driven: Check things off your to-do list. Push for new accomplishments. Compete for new personal bests.

#7. Problem Solving and Problem Avoiding: Productivity roadblocks are inevitable. Use innovative strategies to steer your back into the right track instead of avoiding the problem.

Productivity Hacks to Improve Learning

Whether you’re in the classroom or studying before an exam, using productivity hacks to learning can help you save time and improve grades.

Class Participation

Participating in class, whether it’s raising your hand, engaging in class discussions, or listening attentively, constitutes active learning, which improves grades by 6 percentage points. That’s the difference between a B+ and an A. Interestingly, low-GPA students see the biggest impact from active learning techniques. If too much of your class time is spent taking notes to capture what the professor is saying, you can hack your education by downloading crowd-sourced class notes from OneClass. This will free you up from note-taking so you can be better engaged during class.

Incentivize Yourself

To be more effective when working on your homework, incentivize yourself. In fact, 22 percent of those aged 18-24 would be motivated by a reward. In one possible scenario, you could reward yourself with 10 minutes of YouTube after each hour of studying. Another possibility could be one bite of candy for every paragraph you read, as seen in this classic photo of using gummy bears to help motivate a student to read a textbook.


Another learning hack is to use a technique called chunking. By breaking up big concepts or long strings of information, it’s easier to remember them. For example, the text string “7133224754” is hard to memorize, but an easier option is (713)322-4754. Chunking can be applied to individual memorization points, to concepts, or to the material for a final exam. Learning smaller segments at a time will make your studying more effective.


It may seem counterintuitive, but strategic renewal improves productivity. Take some down-time, and make time for naps, workouts, daydreaming, and vacations. It’ll be good for your grades.

Find out how OneClass can help you study smarter with online class notes and custom study guides.