The "freedom thing" in college tends to go a little too far for some students who have a less than ideal grades.
Just ask Kent McAnally, a doctoral student who maintains a 3.99 grade-point average after two years of graduate school at Kansas University.
"To go to college and not to participate in the social aspects, not to go to a party, is kind of ridiculous," he says. "But when a lot of students come to college they discover all the freedom they have and they tend to take that freedom thing a little too far."
McAnally, a 34-year-old native of Arkadelphia, Ark., who is working on a doctorate in music education at KU, recently finished two years of graduate work in the area. His straight A record had but one tiny flaw he got one A-minus.
He says keys to maintaining high grades are somewhat obvious, but not all students do what seems obvious.
"Go to class," he said. "That sounds like a given . . . but when you don't have the teacher taking attendance every day students feel like they don't have to show up."
He also said developing good study habits is important.
"Learn to budget time and organize time," he said. "That may sound easy but it's not just something you can say to yourself that you're going to do, you have to sit down and think about it."
He also suggested that students might even try an out-of-classroom technique to help improve their grades.
"Read the newspaper," he said. "Students who know what's going on tend to be more well-rounded. You never know when something in the world might come up and be applicable in class."
McAnally worked as a high school band director in Arkansas before coming to KU.
He said he choose KU because it offered a good program, but was still within a day's drive of home.
McAnally, who has earned 4.0 grade-point averages throughout high school and college, says that selecting the right field of study is an important factor in academic success.
"I enjoy teaching and I enjoy conducting," he said. "I think it's great therapy, not only for the person who's in front of the group, but for those people in the group . . . and the audience."