The high school years should be one of the most memorable times in your teenager’s life – a time when they have fun, while at the same time succeeding in school. It is a period for growth, particularly intellectually. It’s also when they will continue to develop their interests and strengths, be it sports, drama, music or other extracurricular activities.
However, to succeed long term, your teen’s academics need to be their number one priority. Getting into college in the new millennium for your high school student is not what it was for you. Every year, schools becoming increasingly more competitive.
In order for your teenager or student to get accepted to a good college or university today, they need to go above and beyond just getting As and Bs. It will likely require taking a number of advance placement, honors or International Baccalaureate courses while earning top marks at the same time. In addition, they need to find some way to stand out through their school leadership, extracurricular activities and community service.
Let your teen know you are there to help them, and that their success is your top priority.
Setting your teen up for success.
You will need to work collaboratively with your teenager, their teachers and school counselors. Maintaining an open line of communication with all parties will help your child succeed.
- Make sure your teenager or student is selecting the best courses for them. If they are not an honors student, don’t push them into those classes. It will only leave them frustrated and feeling like a failure. Encourage them to explore their special interests through the offered electives. Don’t forget a foreign language. The majority of colleges require two or more years.
- Ensure that they are not too overscheduled, therefore not allowing adequate time to complete their homework and study for tests.
- Encourage your student to use an assignment notebook. Organization is key. Your teen will be taking as many as seven different classes. By keeping one notebook for all homework assignments, projects and activities, they can stay organized.
- Brainstorm with them on ways they can improve their work habits, as well as feel more confident. Suggest that they seek out their teachers for extra help – many teachers make themselves available to students after school. Recommend that they spend free periods or study hall time in the school library.
- Create a functional study area at home. Ideally, it should be away from other family members, the television, telephone and other distractions.
- Check in with your teen frequently. Are they struggling with a certain subject? Are they running out of time or procrastinating on a project?
- Insist that they strive to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. As hard as it might be from them to do, it’s crucial to your student’s success. Without it, your teen will not be able to focus in class, do well on tests, or adequately complete homework assignments.
- Do what you can to get your teen to eat nutritiously. Just like a lack of sleep, poor nutrition will throw off your child’s ability to do well in school.
Help your teen ace the test.
Teens need supportive surroundings when they are faced with the challenges of school. Here are some tips you can use to help your teen get better grades on their tests.
- Have supplies ready for studying, such as pens, index cards and highlighters.
- Make sure you’re available to help your teen if they need someone to quiz them or look over sample problems.
- Try not to worry about your teen’s upcoming test. Keep your tone of voice upbeat and positive. There is no need to provide any extra stress on them.
- Encourage your teen to focus on healthy habits, especially prior to a test. Eating too much junk food while studying or not getting enough sleep before a test will put them at a disadvantage.
- U.S. Department of Education’s Parental Information and Resource Centers: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/pirc/index.html
- National Education Association’s Parent Resources: http://www.nea.org/parents
- Harvard Family Research Project: http://www.hfrp.org/publications-resources/browse-our-publications/adolescence-are-parents-relevant-to-students-high-school-achievement-and-post-secondary-attainment
- Parent Academic Resources Inc.: http://academicresources.org/learning.html