Freshman Year Survival Tips

By Huntington Learning Center

Goodbye, middle school; hello, high school! The adventure that is secondary education certainly comes with much excitement and trepidation. Eileen Huntington of Huntington Learning Center says that while starting high school is a big change, there are many things parents can do to help their teens make a successful transition. “This is a time when children become young adults and the school experience reflects that,” she says. “Freshman year sets the stage, so it’s important that parents help their children get off on the right foot.”

Here are several tips to help your teen ease into freshman year successfully and lay the foundation for a great high school experience:

Commit to good organization. If your teen has previously struggled to stay organized, now is the time to get more serious about this essential skill. Set up routines at home like five-minute sessions at the beginning and ending of homework time to neaten the workspace, organize the backpack and get mentally prepared for the next day. Encourage your child to embrace tools like a planner or homework app, and consider color-coded folders or notebooks for each subject to minimize time spent finding notes and important papers.

Talk about grades. Grades always matter, but in high school they are especially important. This is because students immediately start building their cumulative GPA, which is one of the top factors college admissions officers consider when evaluating applicants. Talk with your teen about why poor decisions lead to poor grades, which are harder to recover from when college is on the horizon in just a few years.

Practice self-advocacy. On that note, because grades have a lasting impact in high school, it’s critical that your teen gets help as soon as he or she encounters trouble in a class. Set the expectation this year that it’s time for your teen to take ownership of the academic experience, which starts with making school the top priority, keeping up with homework and studying, and asking the teacher for help when he or she is confused or struggling to keep up.

Take control of time management. High school is a whole new ballgame with multiple classes, different teacher expectations, extracurricular activities and more. Encourage your teen to strive for balance by scheduling absolutely everything, keeping on top of the daily to-do list and knowing his or her limits. The planner should become your teen’s best friend—encourage him or her to put all test, homework and other important dates on the calendar and plan out time for the most essential tasks every day.

Last but not least, Huntington reminds parents that keeping open lines of communication with their teens is essential. “It’s so important to share with new high school students that there’s nothing to be ashamed of if challenges arise this year or anytime throughout high school,” she says. “Let your teen know that you’re always there for support, no matter what.” Having a solid family support system plus a positive outlook will help your teen survive and thrive as a freshman and for the rest of high school.

To learn more about how to help your teen succeed in high school, call Huntington at 1-800-CAN-LEARN.   

About Huntington

Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Learn how Huntington can help at For franchise opportunities please visit  

©2017 Huntington Mark, LLC. Huntington Learning Center®, the three-leaf logo, and 1 800 CAN LEARN® are registered trademarks of Huntington Mark, LLC. Each franchised Huntington Learning Center is operated under a franchise agreement with Huntington Learning Centers, Inc.


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