“I had previously resisted the temptation and pressure to write on the subject matter for many reasons. The most obvious is that there are no universally agreed standard guidelines. For instance, what simply worked for Mr. A might be what we fondly call college academic suicide for Mr. B.
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Hence, the essence of this article is to inspire and encourage university newcomers or prospective students, or anyone else who may find it helpful, to utilize their talents to the fullest.
I hope to instill confidence in them and prove that if yours can make it despite lacking the widely-agreed credentials, they too can.
Therefore, since there is no universal procedure that leads to graduating with a first-class honors degree, what I will be doing later in this article is highlighting some of the integral factors that I believe worked for me. I hope the reader finds it handy in their journey to first class. In essence, this article is more or less my memoir.
Before then, it’s paramount that you dismiss the false presumption among many university newcomers that first class is reserved to only “natural gurus”; whose source of knowledge is divine.
Although I unreservedly acknowledge individual differences—since all fingers are not equal—if I had believed in the above wholesale fallacy, I wouldn’t have graduated with first class.
Ways to Graduate with a First Class in Nigerian Universities
What follows are some of the vital ingredients of the first class presented in no specified order.
1) Get a Mentor
Getting a suitable mentor (usually a predecessor) who successfully trod the path you want to traverse cannot be overemphasized. This will cut your work short for you. Most of us learned these clues the hard way. That’s why I take it upon myself to mentor younger ones to learn them in the simplest way possible.
Therefore, I strongly advise you to start by finding a suitable mentor within your reach. Without reservation, I can give you this blanket assurance: All responsible mentors enjoy helping their mentees. Nonetheless, make sure you do your homework diligently before approaching one.
2) Participate in Tutorials
If I have to recommend one factor above the others, that factor is tutorial. You can benefit from tutorials by learning from tutors as a listener or teaching others.
The concepts explained in tutorial classes are often easier to understand than those taught in standard lectures. Similarly, your understanding of some concepts becomes solid when you teach others.
Please never attempt to hoard knowledge on the pretext of maintaining your position in the class. There’s no first, second, or third position in higher institutions. Unlike commodities, the more you give out knowledge, the more it becomes part of you. Teaching comes with prestige and commands respect.
3) Be Punctual in Classes
Attend ALL your lectures regardless of whether you find them attractive or not. Even if you don’t understand, attend and jot down all the essential information from the lecturers.
Unknown to many, sometimes you understand lessons easily when you read the memos you couldn’t follow during class hours. If possible, get separate notebooks for all the courses you are undertaking.
Apart from meeting the requisite 75% attendance, being punctual to classes will help you learn things beyond the content of your course. Many digressions by lecturers result in expensive knowledge that may not be acquired so cheaply elsewhere.
4) Have a Good Company
To use Biology terms in the context of friendship, never engage yourself in parasitism (+/-). It should be, at best, mutualism (+/+) or, at worst, commensalism (+/0). It should preferably be a win-win friendship. Your close associates define you as a person. Therefore, always surround yourself with the best brains around.
Admittedly, you may be unable to figure out all the good guys in your class ab initio. Therefore, maintain a distant appearance until after your first exam. Because after the first result is released, all the who-is-who in the class will be unveiled. Once you discover them, don’t hesitate to befriend them.
5) Love What You Study
Passion is the most influential driving force in any journey to first class. Unfortunately, not everyone gets placement in their preferred course of study. Hence, this may not be to their advantage. Nonetheless, the good news is that you can still love what you are studying. This will help you endure all the rigors involved along the way.
6) Dream Big
Be always determined to get the best for yourself. Your target GPA every semester should be 5.00. The likely outcomes are two: Either you attain your target at the end of the semester or get something closer; either way, you are a winner. Lowering the bar is usually dangerous; it works exactly the opposite.
At the beginning of every semester, you can forecast your CGPA by using any credible MS Excel CGPA analyzer (I have designed a user-friendly template) and assuming all your grades to be “A’s” as the best-case scenario.
You can then vary the grades, observe their impact on your CGPA accordingly, and obtain an objective worst-case scenario.
7) Be Socio-Economically Stable
This aspect is very central to your success. This factor means having decent accommodation, a steady flow of pocket money, etc. This will give you the social and mental stability necessary to attain your goal.
Many scholarships can help you in this regard. Many state governments pay annual bursaries; others include oil companies, the federal government, foundations, private individuals, etc.
By always staying alert, information on these scholarships usually go viral on campuses and social media.
8) Manage Your Time Efficiently
There is this famous engineering slogan: No time to check the time. Manage your time effectively. Especially if you are in a department with a huge workload, there is usually insufficient time. Therefore, you should apportion time to your schedules according to priority.
Most often, when exam time approaches, students seldom find enough time to digest their books. To avoid a “crash program,” prepare early enough; before the semester gets hot.
9) Socialize Responsibly
As the saying goes: No man is an island. You can’t live in a vacuum. Socialize and mingle with your friends, however, do that responsibly. Engage yourself in various extracurricular activities that you believe are healthy for your personality because many social activities on campus are counterproductive.
Declare some reading-free days; as the saying goes: You can’t come and kill yourself. Socialize with your friends and acquaintances but apportion time to it appropriately.
10) Get Frequent Rest
The brain works just the same way as a mechanical engineer. It needs rest. Don’t ever overstress yourself. You mustn’t kill yourself before you can graduate with first class. Don’t joke with enough sleep. Sleep for at least 6 hours daily.
Many students collapse on campus due to excessive reading and zero rest. Some even become mentally affected due to excessive stress. Please get enough rest and sleeping. These two work magic.
Opportunities for First-Class Students in Nigeria
Here is the list of opportunities and benefits for first-class students in Nigeria;
- International & Local Scholarship
- Lecturing Job Opportunity
- NYSC Posting
- Job Hunting
- Research Opportunities
International & Local Scholarship
A first-class degree will qualify you for a full scholarship abroad or in Nigeria.
There are numerous scholarship opportunities available for first-year students. These scholarships have innumerable advantages.
Lecturing Job Opportunity
Graduate assistant positions are offered in Nigerian universities for first-year students.
Many Nigerian schools retain first-year graduates as graduate assistants.
The advantage is that you can combine your teaching position with your postgraduate studies.
At the NYSC, first-class graduates are given the best placement for primary assignments.
This group of graduates is assigned to higher institutions for one year. It is also easier for them to get work during the NYSC program.
First-class grads have an advantage when applying for jobs.
Several recruiters seek to hire top-tier graduates.
How can I get a first-class degree at Nigerian University?
1. Set The Goal to Make First Class.
2. Read and Study every day.
3. Be Passionate About Your Course.
4. Attend Lectures.
5. Take Notes in Class.
6. Do Your Assignment.
7. Understand Your Lecture Materials.
8. Attend Tutorials.
What GPA is first class in Nigeria?
A. 70.00 – 100.00
First Class Honours (5)
AB. 70.00 – 100.00
B. 60.00 – 69.99
Second Class Honours, Upper (4)
BC. 60.00 – 69.99
In this post, we have explained how you, as an undergraduate, can graduate with a first class in Nigerian Universities. Make sure to follow the instructions; you will do excellently well.
Let’s know your thoughts below in the comment section.