Early classes don’t necessarily promise higher college grades

Despite recent studies, waking up early for class may not actually be the ticket to good grades.

A study performed by a pair of St. Lawrence University professors suggests that earlier classes may lead to higher GPAs among students.

The study shows a slight drop in GPA for every hour later that a class starts.

It suggests that early classes encourage students to go to sleep earlier, perform more efficiently and stay sober.

“When I have taught the same course in different sections, I generally found the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. classes performing better than afternoon classes,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bibbee, a history professor at UNA. “It’s not an enormous difference in GPA-by one thousandth of a point.”

He said, however, that more organized students make higher grades in general. Students who schedule their classes earlier in the morning have a more structured lifestyle.

“It’s about finding what works best for the individual student,” he said.

This may come as harsh news for students who argue that later classes are preferred.

“I tend to do better in afternoon classes,” said David McCreary, a junior public relations major at UNA. “I am more awake and aware of what the teacher is saying, and I can take in all the information better. My later classes are the classes I do better in.”

Some UNA professors suggest that a student’s performance depends solely on the type of personality each student possesses.

“We know from studies there are two types of people: owls and sparrows,” said Dr. Bill Huddleston, a communications professor at UNA. “The owls are the people who function better at night, and the sparrows function better in the day. There is even a physiological scale to test that in people.”

Huddleston suggests that when students match their schedules with their personalities, they will do better in that class. He also suggests a teacher’s performance may depend on whether the teacher is a day or night person.

More classes at UNA are available during the morning hours, dwindling toward the afternoon. Night courses are also available for certain classes. Students who do better in afternoon classes may be forced to sign up for morning classes because of limited availability.

Students who work might also be forced into taking earlier classes.

While the study may have found some evidence linking higher GPA to earlier classes, it seems the best fit for students depends on what the students themselves prefer.