Tips for Fighting the Sophomore Slump

By Huntington Learning Center

This time a year ago, your teen was starting high school and looking ahead to the next four years of school with excitement and maybe a little trepidation. Freshman year ended much differently from how everyone expected, with stay-at-home orders, cancelled sports and activities, and remote learning.

The sophomore slump hits many students hard in a normal year—and this year could be worse than usual due to the added stress of social distancing, remote learning, and general uncertainty. How can you help your teen fight boredom and stay motivated during these strange times? Here are several tips:

  • Talk about it. Chances are, there’s a lot going through your teen’s head right now. Freshman year didn’t finish at all how they expected due to school closures and the coronavirus outbreak, and your teen is probably anxious about a variety of things. Open the lines of communication and encourage your teen to share what they feel about school and the year to come.
  • Set goals. We’re big proponents of setting goals at Huntington Learning Center, because the process helps students think and plan ahead and stay focused on what’s most important to them. Goal-setting can also help your teen get those wheels turning and motivate. Have your teen spend time these final weeks of summer creating a list of things they want to achieve during high school and this year, and a more current list of what to work on day to day to reach those objectives.
  • Reflect on last year. Before school closures, how was the year going? Were there areas that were a challenge for your teen? Subjects that emerged as strengths? Part of your teen’s mental preparation for a brand new year is looking back at the year prior to assess where your teen was doing a good job and where they could be doing better.
  • Start talking about college. Now is a perfect time to start talking about life after high school. Have your teen start making a list of college majors or career pursuits that are of interest as well as any colleges or universities. Nothing needs to be finalized now, but the exercise will give your teen something exciting to focus on, which will help mitigate feelings of apathy and disinterest that sophomore year can bring.
  • Remind your teen that sophomore year is important. This is a key year in high school, and one where your teen should start to think about PSAT/SAT and ACT prep, and success in any Advanced Placement or honors courses coming up. Remind your teen that just as freshman year was a transition year, sophomore year continues to build the foundation for the rest of high school.

Every new year of high school brings different emotions, but you can help your teen fight the sophomore slump. Be understanding and listen attentively to any concerns, and remind your teen that school is what they make of it. As your teen eases back into the school routine, stay positive and encouraging. It might look different from normal, but this can be a great school year.

Need support? Contact Huntington about our one-to-one tutoring programs for students of all ages. We’ll help your teen improve any weaknesses, bolster any strengths, and feel good about school this year and beyond.